“my kid will NEVER have media at the dinner table”
“my kid will always be in bed right at 7, no exceptions”
“my kid will only eat organic and grass-fed meals, and will never have refined sugar”
“my kid won’t be a fit thrower. they will use their words to express themselves constructively”
“how can those parents not control their children? Jeesh.”
….said every woman ever before actually having kids.
I made so many proclamations when I was able to sleep through the night uninterrupted. Well rested me thought she knew everything there was to know about motherhood. Bedtime policies, media exposure limitations, disciplinary measures…you name it, I had a witty, albeit ignorant, solution.
It’s easy to throw stones at parents in passing. Especially when you haven’t been through it. What is it about our uninvited snap judgments that qualify us to “know better”? After having Charlie, I have never felt so bad for the mom in the grocery store with a wailing infant you would think is being beaten within an inch of its life. When in reality, we all know it’s because she wouldn’t let them open the box of tampons in the middle of the aisle.
Thinking about these things reminded me of how silly my own snap judgement were. How my partner and I swore we would do better. Ah, to be kid-less and naive. Those were the days!
In honor of the great parenting reality check; here are some ways that my kid has clapped back against all of my surefire methods of parenting:
- Oh, you made me organic, farmers market sweet potatoes? Let me share half with the dog and shove the other half into my bellybutton.
- What do you mean I can’t play with the giant pair of shears in the hardware isle? I’m going to scream at even a level 1998 Mariah Carey couldn’t reach so everyone knows how not okay this is.
- I decided that you don’t need to sleep. It’s 1am and I want to lay in bed with you while picking your nose and climbing you like a jungle gym.
- Since when did you think it was okay to sit down and eat a meal? It’s obviously mine, even though I didn’t want the plate you made me 20 minutes ago. This one is a different color and looks better.
- I just pooped. I’ll just be honest with you, it’s a mess. I felt pretty bad about it, so I thought it would be fun if we crocodile wrestled while you try to change me – oh, and let me help you by sticking my hands down there too. You’re welcome, mom.
- I’m sorry, Did I tell you that you that I was done with your boob? 2 hours attached is not nearly long enough to nourish my growth. Selfish.
- When you tell me “shhhh, use your indoor voice” all I hear is “YELL AT LOUD AS YOU CAN FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN”
- So what you’re saying is, when you tell me not touch something or stick it in my mouth, touch it again, and lick it this time? I’m just really wanting to clarify this for the both of us.
- Okay, but like, who ever really got a disease from playing in toilet water?
- Sticking objects up my nose is not a crime. Chill out, Susan.
I could go on and on. Never in my life have I been so accustomed to being covered in various bodily fluids, or hearing screaming children in public and empathizing with how embarrassing it can be. Next time some correcting Carol tries to give you the side-eye while you’re in the middle of consoling your strong-willed toddler; give her a shit-eating grin and tell her to go eat a bowl of mind you’re own damn business-o’s.
My point being; who the fuck cares what you decide is best for your family. You’re a great parent. And if you’re reading this and you’re not a parent, take note, Kewosabe. No one wants to hear what you have to say about lack of sleep or how my kid isn’t learning anything by watching Peppa Pig for the 9th time today. Sit down.
At the end of the day, were all just trying to survive until bedtime. When all else fails, just remember that you’ve managed to keep them alive and relatively unscathed for the past 24 hours.
Cheers to you, you beautiful, resilient musk ox.