Parenting is hard. It is by far the hardest job I have ever done. I get paid in hugs and kisses, which won’t pay the bills but make me know I at least did something right. But it’s hard. The newborn stage is fraught with lack of sleep and an abundance of laundry, the toddler years are full of amazing firsts and terrible meltdowns, things ease up a little as they transition from little people into independent souls starting kindergarten quickly followed by those formative years. What follows next can only be described as some sort of twilight zone episode in which the child that was sweet, caring and loving becomes something out of the body snatchers and you are missing the newborn stage and lack of sleep. I miss the newborn stage as lack of sleep is literally the least of the hardships of parenting. There are so many things that I had no idea would be normal or just part of everyday life once I had children. Here’s 10 things I wish someone had told me before I got on the parenting ride because once you are on it, there is no stop button and getting off can’t happen until they learn how to make Kraft dinner, know that clean laundry actually means using soap and that they should always leave the toilet seat down.
- You will spend most of your children’s life in a state of zombie-like existence. Not one of my babies ever slept through the night right away. My oldest was almost 4 and well my youngest is 2 and still waking me up. We also are hopeful for one more so that means the newborn zombie state will come again. Even after they are sleeping through the night there will still be lack of sleep but it changes as they get older when you worry that they aren’t home yet or haven’t heard from them in a while
- You will step on lego, it will hurt, you will scream and threaten to throw every. single. piece. out. You look at their little faces as they sob and you don’t throw them out, they promise to put it all away and repeat
- You will hear the word “mommy” about 950,000 times in one day. You will learn to ignore 949,000 of those as they don’t also include bleeding, crying or puke. Most of those will be for the “he hit me or she stole my cookie” and require nothing further than a furled brow and dirty look
- You will never figure out how something so small and innocent looking can smell or produce a smell quite like a toddler can. Laundry can and will take on a whole new meaning when you hear the word “blowout” and it has nothing to do with the tire on your car
- You will never again be able to have a telephone conversation in peace. The second you pick that phone up to talk to someone, all hell breaks loose and you must rescue a child from the ceiling fan or plunge a toilet that is overflowing with a whole roll of toilet paper (yes this did actually happen to me about 6 months ago when the toddler broke loose from the living room and decided that flushing the toilet while having the toilet paper in the water would be fun)
- It will be years before you can go into the bathroom alone. It doesn’t even matter that they never saw you leave or enter the bathroom, they will find you. Those little fingers under the door and the constant knocking will remind you that you just didn’t sneak off as well as you thought
- It will be years before you ever get to eat a hot meal again or one that didn’t already have bite marks and ketchup all over it. Even when I make a huge family sit down meal like Thanksgiving, I never get to my plate before the potatoes have gone cold, I figure that when I am old they will make me dinner and it will be hot when I eat it
- I will tell you that there is not a day that goes by that I don’t have some form of kid song stuck in my head at various different points in the day. Even worse will be the days when you start humming it and don’t realize it until either your spouse or a kind soul in the grocery store asks you what you are singing
- Spontaneous sex is almost non-existent. Well not exactly, you just find more amusing, sneaky ways to pull it off once you have kids. The bathroom becomes more than just a place for number 2
- You will find things in couches, chairs and under tables that you never thought you would see and when asked about it you will find that you have a nobody and a somebody in your home. Somebody did it and nobody knows who
No matter how chaotic your life gets and lack of both privacy in the bedroom or the bathroom, you are raising little people to become well-respected members of society and you get paid in hugs and kisses and there is nothing better than that.