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I used to be a pro at parenting.
Or, I was sure I would be, if and when I had kids someday.
Then, I became a mom. I soon realized that everything people told me about parenthood was true, and all of the things I used to judge people for, I started doing too.
Really, people without kids should be disqualified from making statements and judgements about parenting. It’s easy to be a pro (or think you will be one) until you’re in the thick of it, learning as you go just like everyone else.
When I think of myself before kids, thinking some of the stuff I used to believe, I can’t decide if I want to laugh or smack myself. Both, maybe. I certainly had definite ideas about what I would be like as a mother, that’s for sure! And like many things in life, I should have learned to never say never.
5 Things I Said I’d Never Do as a Mom
1. “I’m never going to stop showering every day.”
HAHA! These days, I’m lucky if I shower three times a week! I’m not one of those people who feel energized by a daily shower; it’s more of a chore for me. So, when I’m tired and frazzled, showering is the last thing on my mind. ESPECIALLY if it’s nap time for Raleigh. I do not want to spend his nap time in the shower. I want to be sleeping! Dry shampoo and a cute baseball hat are my motherhood best friends!
2. “I’m never going to have a messy house with toys everywhere.”
Again, HAHAHA! I am still a Type-A person who loves order and cleanliness. So I spend a lot of time and energy picking up toys and trying to keep things clean. But toys and messes are an inevitable part of parenthood. The change in me came on gradually. I didn’t give birth and immediately let go of my neat-freak ways all at once. Little by little, I changed as I grew in motherhood. Now, I bite pieces of food into smaller pieces to feed them to my kid (like a good mama bird), and I frequently pick up pieces of food off the floor… and eat them. (WHO AM I?!) And yes, there are toys everywhere at least 75% of the time.
3. “I’m never going to wear clothes with stains on them.”
I remember the time this comment rang through my memory, and I laughed at myself. It was in the early weeks of having a newborn, also known at Spit Up Central. I honestly don’t think I wore clothes without breastmilk or spit up stains on them for months. I looked down one day when we were out in public, and I thought, “What is that on my leg? Oh yeah, it’s probably spit up.” I kind of rubbed the stain halfheartedly and went about my business. And I chuckled at myself, remembering how I swore I’d never wear gross, stained clothes.
Now that Raleigh is older and past the spit up stage, the stains are of a different variety. Now, it’s usually food or dirt (#boymom). But still, the stains remain. I barely notice them anymore.
4. “I will never be a control freak who lets their life revolve around their kids and their schedules.”
I don’t know why I ever thought this wouldn’t be me, because I am a control freak to the core. But I guess I thought that somehow, my kids would be more flexible and adaptable than most, and could fit into my life without it changing much. (I don’t know how I thought I’d get kids that are flexible and adaptable because I am not like that at all haha!) But now, I wholeheartedly understand why almost all parents turn into plan-changers who need to consult their kids’ sleep schedules before making any kind of plans. And for good reason! Kids without naps make for NOT FUN PARENTS. And, if you finally get sleep going well for your kids, you do NOT want to mess it up.
5. “My kids will never act up or have temper tantrums in public.”
And I saved the best for last… Seriously. I used to think this. Somehow, I thought that my kids would be darling little angels who would behave perfectly and never so much as whine or raise their voices in public. (Ok, I maybe didn’t think they’d be like that, but I still never pictured much disruption.)
We are in the early toddler stages so Raleigh has generally done well so far. He’s gotten whiny and loud in public, but nothing massive or major. However, he’s becoming more opinionated and vocal by the week, so I know that the disruptions are just beginning. He’s a very energetic and busy boy, so things are about to get interesting.
I also realize tantrums are a normal part of a child’s developmental process. That doesn’t make it any easier on the parents who feel the burn of everyone’s eyes on them during a meltdown, but tantrums are part of children learning what they want and trying to figure out how all of that works in a grown up world.
– – – – –
It’s easy to have grand and concrete ideas about parenting before you have any kids.
I remember reading the book “Babyproofing Your Marriage” in the third trimester of my pregnancy, and thinking, “Oh, that’s not going to be me” about a lot of it. The mess, the crazed mombie haze (mom-zombie), the marriage strain. And now, I look back and laugh. If I were to read that book now, I guarantee I would be saying “OH YEAH” at every turn of the page.
You don’t know what you haven’t experienced yet, and hindsight is truly 20-20. It’s also easy to judge someone when you haven’t yet walked in their shoes.
To every parent that I judged naively before becoming a mother myself, I apologize.
People without children should be careful to never say never, and know that parenthood is full of surprises. Many of those surprises will be about themselves!