I will be the first to admit that I was the biggest judge of the way people parent their kids. Who am I kidding, I am still the biggest judge of others, I can’t help it. But I will say this, being a parent now I have eaten a lot of my own words. I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “I will not let my child….” or “I will not be that parent.” Two years later and I have been that parent and I have let my child do whatever it was I said he wouldn’t.
Let me just give you a few examples of times that I personally have eaten my words and maybe you can learn from my mistakes on what not to say:
1. “My kid will never act like THAT at the store.” Having a two year old you learn real quick that they are the ones that are in control. I will try everything in my bag of tricks to not let my son see the huge cage of balls that the grocery store has. No matter what I do, what path I try to take, I have to pass them and if he doesn’t get one prepare for velociraptor type screams. And the screaming won’t stop just because I have bought him the ball. He now knows that this trick works for everything he wanted and by the end of our trip to by a gallon of milk I end up with a full cart of junk.
2. I will never have a messy house. We live in a 2 bedroom condo. Really how hard can it be to keep this place clean? Well, when you have a kid that loves to get a ball out of his basket of balls, but it has to be the one on the bottom. He takes every ball out and throws them everywhere. Really, it’s that way with everything. If he wants something out of a box or bin it’s always something from the bottom and he has to empty every single thing out. We clean up the entire house regularly, but it gets exhausting and if you don’t give me at least a 15 minute notice don’t expect vacuum lines in the carpet.
3. “I will never use the TV as a babysitter.” Have you ever tried to get ready with a adventurous toddler in your home? If I were to just get ready and let him play with his puzzles or be adventurous our house would walls would be covered in marker, computers and cameras would be broken and he might even be unconscious. Once you learn that your kid will sit still for 15-45 minutes watching a movie or TV show you do what you have to do. Otherwise I am stuck going out in public in my T-shirt and gym shorts which is the dad’s equivalent to yoga pants and a tank top. We don’t want to be out in public in these things, but we couldn’t leave our kid unsupervised while getting ready.
4. My kid will only eat healthy food. Okay I get it. Your kid will eat what they want to eat and after 17 tries to get him to eat broccoli I would rather him eat three cookies instead of nothing at all, waking up in the middle of the night screaming because he’s starving. I will say he does eat pretty good 87% of the time, but nobody is perfect.
5. I won’t gain sympathy weight. Who was I kidding on this one? I have a hard enough time trying to eat healthy and work out on my own, sit me next to someone ordering a cheese burger, fries and large Diet Coke I am going to support them. I tried eating a salad at our favorite burger place when my wife was craving a burger and I decided I will never put myself through that kind of torture ever again.
6. Throwing up will happen in a toilet and boogers go in a Kleenex. I was at a friend’s house before I was married and her daughter was sick. She threw up and I still remember looking at her and saying, “You’re disgusting!” Can I please take back that moment right now? I didn’t mean it I swear. You have no control over when and where your kids are going to get sick. One time my son was sick and I knew that he only felt better if he laid on my chest. Well, when he was on his stomach he threw up all over me. I just had to let him continue doing it until he felt better. Did I enjoy it? No, but did he feel better? Sure did. Then, being the major germaphobe that I am, I would only wipe a nose with a towel, Kleenex, etc. Sometimes you have nothing and I would rather wipe it off with my hand and wipe it on my sock than to have my kid be the snotty face kid running around. No one wants to be a snotface.
7. I will never take my child out in public in pajamas. I always thought that people were just too lazy to get their kid ready and how hard could it be to just get your kid ready for the day? Well, turns out it can be harder than you would think. I mean, putting him in a t-shirt and shorts is simple, unless it’s not the shirt he wants to wear and he takes it off. Or won’t sit still for you to let him dress him. Then when you want to put those super cute New Balnce shoes you got him, but can’t get his foot in there to save your life. I would rather jsut take him to the grocery store real quick in his pajamas and we can work on what to wear later.
8. I’m going to keep my schedule the same. If you are planning on having kids and think that you aren’t going to need to be flexible with your schedule and things you want to do you have another thing coming. I know that on Saturday I can put my son down for a nap and get the entire condo clean, but what do I do if he doesn’t nap? I freak out because my entire plan is ruined. I am pretty OCD about when I do things and how I do them. So when it gets messed up I have had the hardest time trying to work with it and just roll with the punches. And like I said before, as long as you give me a 15 minute notification that you are coming over I’ll be fine.
9. I won’t give my child some of my Diet Coke. Wrong! I will. The kid even calls it Coke Coke and loves the stuff. maybe it’s because my wife drank it when she was pregnant and he remembers that deliciousness. When you are in a car driving four hours and your child screams for your drink you give it to them. You can only do so much so you do’t all go crazy. Now, anywhere we go and we get Diet Coke he has to have it too.
10. How hard can it be to break a binky habit? I clearly don’t do well with screaming. If you scream, I give in and will give you anything you want to make you stop. We keep telling ourselves that my son is done with the binky and we don’t have to give it to him anymore. Again, the kid will scream for hours (really just a few minutes, but feels like hours) until he gets what he wants. I just don’t want him to be upset with him and have him blaming me in the future for all his problems because I was the one taking away his binky when he needed it most in his life.
I feel like all my friends that had kids before me tried to give me plenty of warning signs of what was to come. I just always thought I knew what I was going to be getting myself into and I was great with kids when I wanted to be. Parenting is hard, but I will tell you this, 98% of the time it is the best time of your life. Can’t wait for all the other words I get to eat being a parent.