Naïveté and Hypocrisy: The Building Blocks of ParenthoodPosted: February 14, 2012
Ah, innocence. I remember it well. Those glorious days of old when the air smelled sweeter (because there was no rotting food hidden under the couch cushions), the birds chirped louder and the sun shone brighter (but it was 7am and you were still asleep so you didn’t care). I’m talking about the days before you became a parent. The days when you didn’t walk around in a sleep-deprived fog and you still knew all the bands on Saturday Night Live. The days when you thought you had a clue.
If you have been parenting for any length of time, you now know that you don’t, in fact, have a clue at all. And you were a pretentious fop for ever thinking that you knew what you were getting into when you signed on to shepherd another life through this crazy world of global warming, online predators, and Ann Coulter. I’ll admit that I was one such pretentious fop. In fact, I was the worst kind. I actually tried to plan for it.
I remember when my husband and I were debating whether or not we were ready to have kids, I actually asked a guy who I worked with – who had kids – how sticky they were. I didn’t know many kids, but it seemed to me that all the ones I knew were always sticky and/or messy and/or dirty and/or had noses full of boogars. This was unpleasant to me.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was how little I would come to care about a snot-caked nose, and how it paled in comparison to your child, say, projectile vomiting. On an airplane. While simultaneously soiling themselves. And screaming bloody murder. At the exact moment when the plane has landed and everyone is waiting to be let out. After a 10 hour flight from Hawaii. This happened to me. Boogars look pretty good after something like that, let me tell you. (Believe.)
This is just one example of me thinking I had a clue. Sadly, there are many others. Below is a list of some of the things I said I would never, ever do when I became a parent.
1. I said I would never use TV as a babysitter.
Awwwww, wasn’t I cute?
2. I said I would never yell.
I had no idea that children who are watching TV, playing a video game, or eating a snack, literally CANNOT hear you unless you yell. I’ve tested this theory a thousand different times and it’s true. You can ask them 47 times to please hang up their coat, but until you raise your voice with something like, “HANG UP YOUR COAT THIS MINUTE OR ELSE!” it’s just white noise to them. Nobody sets out wanting to yell. They make us do it.
3. I said I’d never let my kid sleep in my bed on a regular basis.
My daughter wakes up at least 5 mornings a week in my bed with her feet pressed into my spine, an elbow in my gut, and 98% of the blankets covering 150% of her body.
4. I said I wouldn’t use baby talk.
I am a 38-year-old woman who in the past week alone has announced she has to “go potty,” has had a “tummy ache,” and who got a “boo-boo” on her foot. Enough said.
5. I said I would never care about how my kids wear their hair.
Let me be clear about this one: I don’t care about their hair being perfectly brushed, styled, geled, moussed, sprayed, or really even being that clean. But when the nice man at the grocery store asked me if “the little lady” would like a cookie while pointing to my ten-year old son, you better believe I drove us to the nearest SuperCuts, post-haste. I know long hair worked for The Biebs, but until Fletcher starts bringing home the million dollar paychecks – I want his eyes, ears, and shoulders hair-free. At least while I have any influence.
6. I said I’d never have a kid with snot caked inside her nose at all times.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t realize how little I would come to care about this. I’m not even sure why I don’t care about this. I should. It’s disgusting. But who has the energy for Kleenexes and the endless tutorials on how to blow one’s nose? It’s exhausting.
7. I said I’d never allow my kids to whine.
I actually thought if I had a “No Whining” policy and told my kids, “If you whine, I can’t hear you” that they would eventually learn not to whine. Hilarious.
8. I said I’d never ignore my kids while on the phone.
In my defense, I had my first kid in 2001. They didn’t even have smart phones back then.
9. I said I’d never lie to my kids.
10. I said I would never use food as a reward.
This is basically my entire parenting strategy right here. Without food bribes, I got nothing.
Now, who wants a chocolate chip cookie for reading this whole article?
Disclaimer: I feel I should say that even given all of the cynical ramblings above, I wouldn’t trade a minute of my time as a parent. Even the minutes I was covered in bodily fluids or my throat hurt from yelling so loud. But it’s just not that funny to write an article about how much you love your kids. It’s like writing an article about how much you love being carded when you’re in your thirties. It is – in the vernacular of my lovely children – “Like, Duh!”