Several years ago I had an epiphany. A parenting epiphany. It came to me in the middle of the night as I tried desperately to eke out even the tiniest sliver of space in my queen-size bed.
You see, my daughter had woken up with a nightmare, and now she was sleeping quite peacefully in a diagonal manner beside me. It was as I teetered on the very edge of the bed, tensing my abs so I wouldn't fall into a heap on the floor, that I realized... these are the real moments that parenting is all about. Because what parent hasn't slept all night with one arm and one leg dangling off the side of the bed. Am I right?
Here are some other things that seem to me to be pretty typical in parenting. Can you relate?
1. Watching your child do the exact same trick 4,384 times. Literally. "Watch this, Mommy!" You look over in hopes that there may be a slight variation this time. Nope... it's the exact same trick.
2. Cleaning up questionable messes. What the heck is that green stuff? And the mustard yellow? I don't even want to know. A big part of parenting is cleaning up things that could not reasonably have come from any human being but somehow, likely did.
3. Saying no to screen time. Of course I say yes sometimes, but I feel like they ask so often that most of the rest of the day is spent finding new and exciting ways to say no to it. Much to the chagrin of my kids.
4. Reminding. Everyone, of everything. So I have no idea what my family would do if I wasn't there to keep them on track. Reminders about routines, reminders about bedtime pee, reminders to wash their hands before supper, a friendly reminder to bring their backpacks to school. Really? We need a reminder about that? Yup. Some days. It would be a big free for all without me.
5. Saying no to other stuff. To all kinds of stuff. There is literally no end to the things that kids will ask for. And there's no criteria, really. If we said yes as often as they ask, we'd for sure end up on an episode of Hoarders. "Ooh, look at this!" "Can we have that?" Hmmm... it's a box of baking soda. I'm going to have to go with no.
6. Saving face. For example, when you are attempting to appear calm and composed as your child flails about like a fidget spinner on the floor of the grocery store all the while shrieking at the top of their lungs.
7. Answering the "big" questions in awkward places. There was a time my girls asked quite seriously how babies are made in the coffee shop line-up. Hmm... we'll discuss it over coffee?
8. Watching children's TV shows on repeat. As if you didn't know that Catboy, Owlette and Gekko saved the day in that episode already, we have to watch it four more times just to be sure.
9. Picking up crap that other people leave behind. Sure, I know that I should call the kids back to pick it up themselves (and I do sometimes, I promise). But right now it's just easier to pick it up because they are in bed and we aren't messing with that. Not a chance.
10. Trying to civilize them for the outside world. We spend time working on manners, cutlery use and not saying words like "poop" or "fart" as loud as they can in the quiet part of a church service.
11. Becoming sick of the sound of your own name. To be fair, it's your generic name, but still. If your child isn't talking yet and you want to prep yourself for this, change your ring tone to the sound of a child saying "Mom, Mom, Mom" (or "Dad, Dad, Dad"). Have someone call you every 60 seconds, all day. But don't answer the phone. Cut it back to every hour during the nighttime just to put a positive spin on things. Repeat the process tomorrow.
12. Watching YouTube videos. Of the most boring things. When your child asks you to watch a video with them of someone opening up blind bags or playing Minecraft and you agree, be sure to check how long it is first. Twenty-five minutes? Ugh! Wake me when it's done. Who taught them to use YouTube, anyhow?
13. Talking about poop. Yes, it's a fact that a big part of parenting is talking about poop. Ask anyone! You will spend more time talking about poop than you will about politics, TV shows or even random gossip. Percentage wise you'll talk about it more than pretty much anything. When you are with your mom friends it will be fairly commonplace to find your self suddenly discussing the colour, consistency and frequency of your child's poop.
14. Keeping the kids alive. Being on guard against roads, water, household products, medications... this takes much of our time and energy. It's exhausting fielding all these dangers, but necessary. If you've gotten through the day with everyone unmaimed, give yourself a pat on the back.
15. Getting all the snuggles, hugs and love from the most awesome kids in the world. And it makes numbers 1-14 totally worth it!
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