Getting things ready for dinner tonight, Abby stood holding onto my leg as Jackson hopped around blowing his new whistle. Love and loudness at the same time.
I stood there thinking: I wish someone gave you a real list of things you needed to know. It’s been a little while since my last blog post, so I decided to sit down and just list the first 20 things that came to my mind about what I’ve learned so far in the 7 1/2 years I’ve been a mom.
This is a non-scientific, ridiculous list. Pretty much my approach to motherhood in general.
- It’s harder than it looks. It looks amazing in magazines and in movies and on your friends, but real life isn’t the movies.
- You’ll always buy them new stuff over yourself because it seems cheaper and necessary to have new tutus or that onesie with the mustache on it. Or you’re positive your 6-week-old had an emotional connection at Target with that light-up sensory toy that plays music to a timer. Mozart’s supposed to make them smart and you don’t want to be a bad parent.
- You think your baby’s cries are loud? Wait until you have a seven-year-old scream crying because he sees his mortal enemy, the Chuck-E-Cheese mascot.
- Your kids will have no filter. Be prepared. They’ll tell people if you ate the last of the ice cream, they’ll tell the doctor if they didn’t really finish the full 10 days of antibiotics and they’ll tell their preschool teacher where Mommy and Daddy have hair. Just…be prepared.
- This is for your own good so take this advice seriously: no whistles in the house.
- Also, on that same line of thinking…no bubbles in the house. And NO COLORED BUBBLES. They are the brainchild of someone without a child.
- Never feel bad about sitting your kids in front of the television so you can decompress. It’s better everyone stays alive. Put something educational on and educate them if it makes you feel better.
- You will sleep through the night again but it will never be the same. You’ll wake to them talking in their sleep or you’ll wake because you thought you heard them talking in their sleep or you’ll wake because you think they’re standing beside your bed watching you. 50% of the time you will be correct.
- Both Play Doh and Legos are the enemy. If you have to have Play Doh and Legos in the house, keep them quarantined to a table without carpet underneath. As the saying goes, ‘keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.’
- At one point in time, you kid’s favorite meal will probably be chicken nuggets. I’d like to say it’s a phase, but honestly, I still really like chicken nuggets. So…yeah. They’ll like veggies again one day.
- Speaking of chicken nuggets, it’s best to give Happy Meal toys 24 hours then toss them out when your kids aren’t looking. Immediately place that trash bag outside in the garbage can. Kids will dig through the trash. They have no shame.
- You will love additional children. The same as the first, I promise. Your heart just grows. I’m not really sure about the physics and such, but it works out.
- Siblings are life’s introduction to dealing with difficult people. They’ll be better for it. Once the screaming stops, embrace those moments when they love each other. Hold onto it when the screaming starts again.
- It never gets easier, it just gets different. If you’re worried about the job you’re doing, you’re doing a good job. Promise.
- Your kids can never go home and give you a break, because they live at your home. It’s a lesson that you’ll learn when you’re bone weary those first few weeks and you…need….sleep…now…
- Just when adulthood starts to feel ‘ho hum,’ becoming a parent makes things fun again. Theme parks. Feeding ducks. Picking flowers/weeds. Spotting butterflies. Learning to blow bubbles with gum. High fives. Holidays.
- Everything operates in extremes. Extreme joy with that first laugh. Extreme guilt over the time your nail scratches them. Extreme anger when you want them to stay in their bed after tucking them in for the 75th time. (Super Nanny my rear.) Extreme pride when they open the door for a stranger.
- You’ll claim their very best traits are from you and their very annoying traits are obviously from your spouse. And vice versa.
- Spring them out of their routine once in awhile. A day off from school or a movie when they don’t deserve it does you both good. They’ll remember when you cut them some slack and those moments are priceless.
- Give your spouse a break when they need it. You’re in this together. Forgive each other that first year of parenthood. You’re both tired and clueless and believe me, one day you’ll look at your spouse and recognize each other again. Hold on.