I’ve been a parent now for about six years. So naturally that makes me as darn close to an expert in a field as you are going to get (cough, cough).
Here are a few nuggets of parenting wisdom that I thought I’d share from my vast years of experience:
If you make your child food especially for them, based on your careful observation of their preferences, and deliver it too them with all the hope of those brave souls who anxiously stepped aboard the Titanic, then you too, will sink in the merciless ocean of your toddler’s icy glare of disapproval.
This will also happen if you make anything else. They basically just hate your food.
Kids have a knack for finding and destroying the things you hold most dear. It doesn’t matter how high up on the shelf or how tucked back in the cupboard you place the item. The emotional attachment you have for said item will create a magnetic force that will draw your child to the beloved item and so overpower them that their natural reaction is to destroy your heirloom and your heart to tiny, tiny pieces that can never ever be repaired.
Children, bless their little souls, are disgusting. They will wipe things on other things that cause you such disgust, you contemplate just giving up and moving. But you know your little booger wipers will only follow you to your new home and wreak havoc there, too, so you pull on your industrial plastic gloves and grab your trusty Norwex rags and cry buckets of tears as you remember how you used to have a job where you dressed up each day and someone paid you just to know how to string a sentence together and were responsible for their own booger wiping.
Kids are incredibly capable. They can figure out how to unlock “childproof” locks, open food packaging more complicated than a chinese finger trap, and can get out the door in 10 seconds flat when their friends are in the back yard and want to play. But when you need to get out the door like 30 minutes ago so that you can try to make it to an appointment? Somehow the concept of socks and shoes completely escapes them. They lie on the floor, holding a sock in one hand and flopping it in the general direction of their foot and bellowing out a forlorn “I caaaaan’t” that is truly Oscar worthy. They become living and breathing examples of Newton’s first law and you start to wonder if maybe they aren’t being difficult, but genius. Then you realize the amount of control you DON’T have over the situation, and like the before mentioned booger fiasco, you find yourself crying buckets of tears.
Your kids will be hard in the precise area that you have exactly zero patience for said difficulty. You might be one cool cucumber with certain aspects of child rearing, but your child will zero in with the skill of a special ops sniper on your area of weakness and leave you so shell shocked that you start to wonder who is teaching who.
You will try to do things too soon. You will forget that they are brand new humans. You will rush, push, and hurry. You will eventually realize your folly, and take a chill pill. No worries. They forgive you.
You will demand immediate obedience and that they learn from their mistakes the minute they make them. You will try to avoid thinking about how you don’t do this yourself. You will realize you are a hypocrite. You will ask for their forgiveness in expecting them to get things on the first try. They forgive you.
You will lose your patience over things that don’t really matter, and fail to give your attention to fleeting moments because things that don’t really matter are holding your attention. You will realize that you are focusing on things that don’t matter and allowing things that don’t matter to overwhelm you to the point where everything becomes a big deal. You will apologize. They forgive you.
You will discover new habits that need to be cultivated or broken. You will be reminded of old ways that still need to be relinquished. You will be less than eager to work on yourself. You put things off to another day. Then you will demand that your child change their behavior immediately and you will be struck like a freight train by the irony and realize that it’s all a process. It takes time.
You will apologize. Time and time again. For big things and little. You will say, “I’m sorry. That was wrong. My behavior didn’t reflect my love.”
And time and time again, they will respond with a simple and sincere “It’s ok, mommy” that will break your heart a hundred times over. You will realize that it isn’t always the parenting that is so hard, it’s the adulting-with-children-in-an-unselfish-way that is so difficult.
You will remember that we are all just learning, something. We are all trying. We are all doing our best, even if it looks like our worst. You will remember that your worst is just an opportunity to begin again. You will look at mornings in a new way. You will remember that they are fresh starts. You will begin new. They will be hard. You won’t always get it right.
It’s ok. They forgive you.