11 Things Every Parent Learns the Hard Way
No matter what advice you’re given (and we all know everyone has a plethora of tidbits to share once they find out you’re pregnant), some things are just destined to be learned the hard way:
1. Do NOT dress your baby in that adorable party outfit you chose months ago until RIGHT before the event. It’s incredibly hard to resist the urge to play photographer and capture their adorableness pre-party, but you know three minutes into your photoshoot, the diaper (and consequently the outfit) will be soiled (literally). The worst is when the outfit of choice has been ruined AND you’re late to said event because you were too busy cleaning up a poop explosion.
2. Meal time is not really meal time once you have kids. It is now “shove-food-in-my-mouth-while-standing-and-rocking” time. To add to that, another little gem I learned the hard way: babies don’t even get it on your birthday. They don’t know that you’ve been hankering for a feast of crab and mac ‘n’ cheese; all they know is that you’re sitting next to them, arms deep in a pile of food that they either want, or want to pull you away from. So, enjoy every bite you can shovel into your mouth. Oh, and learn to lift ‘n’ swap your kid high enough over the table so that their socks don’t sweep up morsels.
3. No high-tech expensive toy can stand up to a gadget made from something that didn’t start its life off as a toy. You can spend hundreds on the latest and greatest electronic doo-dad, but all your kid is going to want is a spoon and an upside-down Tupperware container. Or the string of your hoody. Or the toe of their sock. Really, anything but the toy you just bought them.
4. Bed time is in their hands. Even if you create a routine, your sleep (the time & depth of it) is totally dictated by this tiny, little person. Even if you “sleep while they sleep” (which is an age old gem everyone loves to share), the slightest whimper resonating from that monitor can wake you from the deepest of slumbers. Believe us when we say, sleep becomes priceless, a hot commodity. Along those lines, long gone are the days of being sad that you’ve missed out on an event. If your attendance is replaced by sleep, those moments are not wasted.
5. You know what else is a hot commodity? Showers. Abs. Makeup. Haircuts. Spit-up free clothing. Hell, anything even remotely glamorous. And by glamour, we mean anything that allows you to do something solely for yourself and not for the little munchkin that has infiltrated your life. All of these aforementioned activities have now become for the either childless people or for your never-ending to-do list.
6. Sure, “date night” is important. But sometimes, “sit there and stare at the TV in silence night” is important too. Props to you – you’ve just spent an entire day juggling, dancing, singing, cleaning poop, and conversing with someone that doesn’t do any of those for you in return. Your voice, feet, neck, and back hurt. In this moment, nothing but a little “Orange is the New Black” and a beer sounds good. So, veg. You deserve it. If your partner wants to veg with you, awesome. If they want to watch something else, chances are you’re already saving up for another TV.
7. Even though you may resolve to cook, save more money, and buy more groceries, oftentimes you just can’t. That song and dance I mentioned earlier really takes it out of you. You’re damn tired by the end of the day and slaving over a hot stove is the last thing you feel like doing, especially during a sweaty ass January evening in Los Angeles. Soon, your planned meals become pre-packaged and microwaveable (which is even better than I can pull together). Before you know it, your recipes become so short, they’re as simple as dialing up your local Chinese restaurant for delivery. We all know there are worse things in life.
8. As much as we thought our child would not, could NOT be that snotty, dirty Linus-looking being, they are. It’s inevitable. Children are an unending source of snot, poop, mayhem, and mess. You can fight it, but as soon as you swipe that booger away, you know there’s a new one in its place. Just accept that it’s going to happen, and clean them as much as they will allow you to, until its their job to clean it. Then celebrate.
9. Asking other parents when their children met milestones is a slippery, dangerous slope. We hear that every child meets said milestones at a different pace, but it never stops us from asking, “Oh, does he/she sit up yet? Are they speaking? Do they roll over?” Half the time we’re either waiting to hear “no” so we don’t feel like our child is the only who can’t, or we’re looking for a time to brag. My husband calls this Neener-Neener-Neener, My Kid Has a Bigger Weiner Syndrome. The only thing it does is help us compare our kids. And we all know, no one compares to your little one!
10. It often annoys our childless friends to see our Facebook posts/pictures/videos about our kids or the topic of being a parent. They may mention it to us or they may post a passive aggressive status update about how their feed is filled with babies. What they don’t understand is that, yes, every smile, giggle, “goo goo,” and “gah gah” is worth sharing. In fact, even as I type, I’ve taken a few pictures of my little one who is sitting next to me, smiling and babbling to her plastic ball. See? I couldn’t even help sharing that. Watching a human being grow is freaking rad. And it’s even cooler when you take into consideration that your bodies manufactured this one. Memo to those annoyed: skip past our posts if you feel you must. Just know we’ll share in your joy if and when you post your own.
11. Parenthood is the hardest, most unnerving job in the world, but very little is more fulfilling and heartwarming. It’s a rollercoaster of love, happiness, worry, and anxiety. As the movie “Parenthood” explains, “[it’s] just so interesting to [us] that a ride could make [us] so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some [don’t] like it. They [ride] the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. [We] like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”