I read this post over at Mama by Fire at the end of last week, and I loved the idea so much that it prompted me to make my own list.
When it comes to parenting, my greatest amusement is occasionally found in eating my own words or watching my efforts undone right before my eyes. Because what is the point if you can’t laugh??
Now you can laugh at me, too.
Here are 7 things I thought I would be able to avoid as a parent
1.) A constantly messy house
Seriously…my house is messy.
I know that some parents are able to keep theirs pretty put together…and I honestly have no idea how they do it. There are always crumbs on my floor. Or splatters of dried juice SOMEWHERE. Or markers without caps laying on some surface. I just…I know I sound like a valley girl when I say this, but I can’t even. Like, at all.
It’s like the laws of physics. For every action, there is an equal and opposing reaction. Which means that for every square foot of my house I manage to clean, my children can decimate three times that in the same amount of time.
This has taken some letting go for me. Denial is how I am able to sit and eat a bowl of popcorn without letting my messy house gnaw away at what little bit of relaxation I get.
2.) Sweatpants, tennis shoes and leggings…
You know? A mom uniform?
You can spot moms in the middle of a crowd. Messy buns. Tennis shoes. Leggings. Ugg boots (or faux Ugg boots, if you’re me.) Clothes that are one or two steps away from pretty much being pajamas. Oh, and the bags under her eyes that stick out like sore thumbs.
Now I just want to be comfortable. That’s pretty much my only standard. Even if what I’m wearing needs to be run through the laundry.
Whatever. I’m wearing the same leggings I wore yesterday as I type this.
3.) Being alllll about my children
I know what it’s like to be “blown off” by a new mother. And it hurt.
I won’t say that I have done everything perfectly when it comes to staying connected with friends after having kids. But I do believe that in some ways I have tried very hard and have had a decent bit of success.
Let me tell you something important: when people say that motherhood is a 24/7 job, it’s just not true. It is BEYOND a 24/7 job. It is a job that creeps up into your soul and sets up shop. And there it remains. Forever.
It will affect every part of your life. Down to having to make decisions about whether or not you actually have to pee. Because should you go to the bathroom before leaving Target or just hold it so that you can get home that much quicker to lay the kids down for a nap?
On top of that, these kids, these PEOPLE, they’re my job, yo. My responsibility. So, yes, I am sold out and all about my wonderful children. Because that is the choice that I made when I became a mom.
I used to look at large families and wonder if the mother ever pondered how it all came to this. How did it come to three or four children simultaneously crying for juice, flipping their plates off of the table and rubbing food into their hair??
Do they wonder how it happened? Did it feel like it was gradual or like it happened in the blink of an eye? Their lives being taken over by children?
I vowed that I would space out my children. That I would have calm children. My soul would not be sucked away from me piece by piece by parenting while I was powerless to stop it.
I have learned that you cannot have children without messes and noise. Those noises are almost always welcome, in some small and satisfying way. Mostly. It doesn’t matter how you space your children, work is work and chaos is chaos, and your clean house and sanity will be close to extinction before long.
And we all survive. Somehow.
We just may drink a little more wine than we used to.
5.) I won’t back down
Like the Tom Petty song?
I’m gonna stand my ground? Yea, right. I will say that I mostly do. It’s just that, sometimes, your kids need you to have grace with them and to understandably cut them some slack.
I relent. I wash my hands of it. Because I cannot explain one more thing, one more time, to one more person.
So I’m not gonna explain it to you either.
6.) Be a, “because I’m the mom,” mom.
For obvious reasons.
Who DOESN’T remember their mother saying this to them? And who doesn’t remember being thoroughly annoyed and perplexed when she did??
I say this for mainly two reasons: Refer to number 5 and, also, for the rare occasions when my own children (who can’t tie their shoes) outsmart me.
Kid: “Why can’t I have a cracker?”
Me: “It’s almost dinnertime.”
Kid: “Yes but you said that I could have crackers two hours ago.”
See? The more explanation you give them, the more leverage they have to use against you later. Simplicity is key.
7.) My kids won’t….
With our first child, we were so cautious. About the television. About sugar and treats. About so, so many things. So much diligence and hard work.
Then baby number two came. And I learned something valuable. When dealing with two children, it’s harder to keep things that the older child has out of the grasp of the younger kids.
Because if my older child got a cookie, why not the younger? If the older child was watching television, why not the younger? Could I calmly explain to my younger child that she wasn’t old enough to enjoy cartoons and expect that she would be reasonable about it?
We didn’t think we would be parents who used pacifiers. We found out very quickly when my son was strapped into his car seat for the first time that we woud need to adapt. Just like that, our plans were nixed.
I never thought I would co-sleep. And though I never habitually practiced co-sleeping, when it came down to getting even 45 minutes of sleep verses nothing, the baby occasionally slept on my chest.
And we were all a tiny bit happier for it.
Now on my third, things don’t rattle me quite as much. I know that she won’t die from crying in her crib. That doesn’t always make it any easier, but it is comforting.
And seeing that the older two are growing up just fine and normal is a relief, even if they were corrupted with M&M’s younger than I would have liked.
There you have it. I hope you have enjoyed my list.
And I hope that you will enjoy this.
He understands us.