Saturday, December 17, 2016

33 Parenting Truths Learned over a Decade+ of Parenting

My oldest recently celebrated his 11th birthday.  This means that I have completed over a decade as a mom. I mention that because, let's not kid ourselves, it's really all about me. 

Some of you reading this might be at different parts of your parenting journey. In the spirit of sharing information, let's take a quick look at some of the parenting truths I have gained about mommyhood over this past decade:
  1. Parenting is one part love, and three parts not swearing in public.
  2. Small children don't know or care about being late, and warnings about being it are fruitless.
  3. When you sign a mandatory three-page waiver before your kids can go play somewhere, someone is coming home with a broken femur. 
  4. You have absolute power over the music in the car as long as you pick something your kids like. 
  5. Whoever decided a three-week-long winter break from school was reasonable should get coal in their stocking this year.
  6. Wearing anything white around your kids and expecting not to have to change within the hour is either idealistic or idiotic.
  7. Nothing good ever comes after a sentence that starts, "You said...."
  8. Drinking beer at Chuck-e-Cheese at 2 p.m. on a Saturday is not day drinking; it’s coping.
  9. Parenting opinions are like buttholes because everyone has one. Expressed opinions about someone else's parenting are like buttholes because when you do it, you are one.
  10. The human body has fluids that come in all odors, colors, and viscosities, which, at the end of any given day, you will find on your shirt. Or theirs. 
  11. If every once in a while your kids tell you they hate you because you are the meanest mom in the world, it means you're probably doing it right.  
  12. The five stages of negotiation with a toddler include Bargaining, Pleading, Threatening, Yelling (theirs) and Tears (yours).
  13. People that think pets are like kids are deluded.
  14. If you teach your small children the actual names for their genitalia, be prepared to hear them discussed loudly in a public restroom more than once.
  15. Free time is a resource more elusive than enriched uranium.
  16. If you have a job while you have small children, going to work is like going on vacation.
  17. If you work from home, you likely need a vacation.
  18. Binge-watching Netflix does not count as a vacation.
  19. Wearing dangling earrings around your toddler is like playing Russian Roulette with your earlobes.
  20. Car seat buckles were designed to break your spirit.
  21. If your phone/tablet/coffee table is cracked in two places, it's still like new.
  22. Pinterest can scroll forever with content that makes you feel inadequate.
  23. Old people that miss when their kids were little never felt the crusty bump of boogers on their iPad screen.
  24. You will string together the most ridiculous sentences ever uttered, such as, “Hey You two! I told you no mouth kissing.”
  25. You will always sniff brown sludge of indeterminate origin even though you know there is high probability it’s poop.
  26. Moms are glorified wait staff. And nobody tips.
  27. Christmas morning is not a joyous holiday; it's a deadline.
  28. Daylight savings time and summer vacation are two archaic societal conventions and that have outlived their usefulness and must be stopped.
  29. The tooth fairy is a witless, unreliable twit.
  30. The only thing a stay-at-home mom of small children wants for Mother's Day is not to see her children that day. At all.
  31. Whoever decided we should build a trap to catch the leprechaun that comes to your house on St. Patrick's Day deserves a swift kick in the shamrocks.
  32. Losing weight from breastfeeding is a myth; wearing maternity pants to your baby's first birthday party is the truth.
  33. One glass of wine is nice. Two is better. Three means you aren't going to sleep that night.

What would you add to the list? I'd love to hear your additions in the comments below. So I can steal them for my twitter feed.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Life Lessons from My Younger But Wiser Daughter

I am the mom, so honestly I should be the one teaching the life lessons to my daughter. And I do, like how to avoid gassing people with her Tinkerbell perfume by spraying it in the air and walking through it. Or how to sneak leftover Halloween candy into a movie theater.

However, she has a fair amount of lessons to teach also, like how to convince her little brother to dress up like a fairy princess or feign sleep in the car to avoid interacting with the family. Here are just a few more things I have learned from her over the years.

#1: Never wear anything that’s uncomfortable.

My daughter has been known to put together ensembles that run the gamut from classy to clown suit on any given morning. There was a time when her sartorial statement might pair a sundress and earmuffs. While my example indicates she lacks a discerning eye, this is not the case; she has exacting standards. My daughter will not wear anything that is itchy/tight/hot/painful. I once bought her a super cute T-shirt with a sparkly purse on the front of it. It featured two of her favorite things: sequins and accessories. Since it was a sequined accessory, this one was a double whammy! She loved it. But her delight devolved to disdain when she wore it. The applique was itchy, so the shirt was a no-go. On the other hand, I have a pair of boots that peel the skin from my heels. I never wear them, but I hang on to them. In fact, I have moved them three times so far. Why? Because they are cute. Who is the grown up here anyway?

#2: Poop anywhere.

It doesn’t matter if we are in a port-o-potty at a parade route or a church bathroom in a wine country town. If my daughter has to go, she goes. Talk to her during? No problem. Hear an impatient fellow-patron knocking on the door? Sure. Wrong time of day? What’s that? It might be her superpower.

#3: You can never have too many best friends.

I grew up with a definite sense that a best friend was an item one had in the singular. You might have a lot of good friends, but there was only one best friend. My daughter does not share my view on this issue. If you ask her who her best friend is, you could get a list with as many as six names on it.

#4: Fairies are real.

When she was in Kindergarten, my daughter convinced all six of her best friends that fairies were real. She explained how you write the fairies a note and hide it in the backyard. The next day you went out to see what they left for you. Needless to say,  I was on the business end of a couple of pointed comments at school pick up from her friends' parents after this phenomenon swept through the hallowed halls of her grade school. I could understand the other parents’ ire. Luckily for me, she forgot about it after a few days—which was great because I heard the fairy was running out of the pink Post-it notes she was using for her correspondence.

#5: Anyone can have a bad day.

One year my daughter wrote a letter to Santa with what she expected on Christmas morning. Her list included an iPhone, an iPad mini, and, my personal favorite, a puppy. I told her Santa wasn’t going to bring her any of these things. After an exhausted sigh at my ignorance, she explained, “Mom! I only put those there so he would get me what I really want.” Diabolical.

After mailing her letter sans zip code because “Santa doesn’t need one; he’s too famous,” we got a letter back. Santa, the geriatric genius, told her she had been a very good BOY this year. I was fuming and silently rehearsing my pissy phone call to the North Pole’s answering service. My daughter, however, quietly folded up his letter and said, “I guess Santa was having a bad day.” Crisis averted.

I suppose the real life lesson here is that learning is a two-way street. After all, it’s clear upon reflection that she is more mature than me in a few areas anyway. Perhaps one day when I grow up, I will be as wise as she is.