As a youthful newlywed ready to embark on the journey of parenthood I had an idealized vision of becoming a mom. Today I realize a few of many daily moments that remind me how wrong I was.
1. Appearance. I remember seeing disheveled kids wearing unmatched outfits with their stringy hair and dirty faces and wondering whom their parents were. I imagined dressing my children catalog perfect just like I would a doll.
Fast forward many years…that is my child!
Dolls can’t move. Dolls can’t scream. Dolls are not people with very strong opinions. One of my go to mantras is to pick your battles. I pick many battles: naptime, bedtime, bath time, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Getting dressed is not always worth the battle. It is okay if she dresses a cross between Blossom and Punky Brewster as long as it is weather appropriate.
I should insist on the hair brushing, but chasing her around the house at 7 a.m. with a hairbrush is not easy. The weird part about the hair brushing is she lets my mom and babysitter brush her hair without any fight.
2. Play Dough. When I was in my teens I bought my younger cousins cool play dough barber shops never imagining the mess for their parents, my aunt and uncle, to clean up.
I understand it is fun for kids to use their imagination and create snakes and pizza for a few minutes. Those maximum of 15 minutes of fun equals hours of clean up. Little red, yellow and blue pieces are everywhere from the bottom of shoes to the carpet to my child’s un-brushed hair. Then the caps are not properly closed and it all hardens and ends up in the garbage anyway.
While we are on the subject of messes and I am revealing my anal self, I will add that finger paints and glitter are not allowed in my house either. More mess than fun.
3. Life Changing. Everyone tries to explain and says you won’t understand till you are a parent yourself. Parenting is joyful, stressful, hysterical and emotional. Yet, I’ve never met anyone who has regretted their decision to have a child.
I have had the privilege of working with many first time pregnant women weekly at Prenatal Yoga and it is true. They are all eager, excited and prepared, yet often get in touch after their child is born to let me know all they have experience first hand since their miracle arrived.
What did you think you knew before becoming a parent that you later learned?