I'm a mother and a realist, so why not get right to it and tell you about the many ways I have failed at parenting my children? Though, to tell the truth, I now call them "learning experiences" or "character builders." Let's just keep things positive, people!
Since becoming a parent, I have learned 10 very crucial things — things people don't tell you when you find out you're pregnant. Some, such as myself, would think of these things more as hacks, while the normal human would think of them as common sense ("mum brain" is real, OK?). Just humour me and read on, and please, for the love of God, tell me I'm not alone here.
- Take your toddler's fuzzy socks off before changing a poopy nappie. If you do not, the child in question will somehow stick the fuzzy sock into a large pile of poop, making a bigger, more disgusting mess. That poop will then be transferred to their upper thigh. And having to grab the toddler's leg to remove the poop sock will always end with you getting it on your hands and possibly face.
- Always buy footed pajamas that zip, not snap. The snaps are impossible to do when you are attempting to wrestle a wiggly child into them. I compare this to putting pajamas on an octopus. You will most likely always end up with an extra snap when you get to the top – maybe even two. I prefer to sing "Started From the Bottom" by Drake when I get to the top and all snaps have been snapped correctly.
- Always carry an extra change of clothes in the diaper bag. Not surprisingly, my son, Simon, had a blowout while we were running errands one day. It was an "I had to throw the clothes away" blowout. Then I realized I did not pack an extra change of clothes. He shopped the rest of the time in his diaper and a bib – the one piece of clothing that did not get poop on it. It was very Kentucky of us. We got a lot of odd looks. I just smiled and acted like nothing out of the ordinary was happening.
- Never tell someone your kid's age in months. Supposedly, it makes people very angry and confused. So I am going to start rounding down and tell people my 3-month-old is zero.
- Set your child's expectations before you go somewhere. When we were on vacation, my husband and I took our 3-year-old son and 4-year-old niece to the petting zoo. On the way there, my niece, Ava, told me that she couldn't wait to see the giraffes. Oops.
- Get a dog. Having a dog when you have kids is like having a living vacuum cleaner. Spilled milk on the kitchen floor? Call for Newman! Cheerios spill in the playroom? Call for Newman! He'll eat anything!
- Max out your DVR with cartoons, even the shows your kid doesn't like. Because one day they will decide that Bubble Guppies is their favorite show and they have to watch it or the world will come to an end, and you won't be able to take any more crying. And the DVR will only have 35 episodes of Paw Patrol, 16 episodes of Peppa Pig, 38 episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and four episodes of Blaze. And Bubble Guppies in not on Netflix. Just an FYI.
- When you attempt to teach your toddler to share, they will only share the things you don't want them to. Like "sharing" their food by shoving a half-eaten banana in your mouth. Or sharing their pink eye. Or maybe even spitting out their chewed up food into your hand.
- Your kid will rule the house. You will say they don't, but then you will find yourself watching Paw Patrol even after they go to bed. You will schedule your day around nap time. They will ask for you to read them 23 bedtime stories, and you will. They will cry and you will come running. You will wake up in the middle of the night even when they are not there and think you hear them crying. You will have dinner standing up in the kitchen so you can eat really fast before they see what you are eating and want some. You will let them take a drink out of your water bottle even though they will leave Goldfish backwash in it.
- Parenting is really hard. I know, I say that a lot. But it's so true. You have to keep kids fed, clothed, and healthy. Plus, you have to raise them to be good, respectful, decent human beings that won't live in your basement for the rest of their life. And you have to show them you love them and teach them how to love others. That's a big deal. And not one to be taken lightly.
That's it! Do you feel enlightened? I sure wish I had known these things before I had babies. So take this knowledge and pass it on to the rest of the world!