I can’t stand parenting advice.
It’s pretty grandiose to think that we have the answers for all parents and kids out there because we’ve figured out a few key (or minor) parts.
For one, kids are all different—and what works for one child will likely not work for another.
Example. My first child’s answer to basically all crying jags that didn’t make sense was…my breast. My new baby—her little sister—however, is the most unusual baby I’ve ever met—because my breast actually makes her angry if she’s not hungry. Even when she’s only just finished nursing, she can no longer stand the sight of it.
If this has been too much information, then just wait for what follows: a list of things that we mere mortals—those who don’t pretend to be superdad or supermom—discover and do once we’ve become parents.
1. Use the word “potty.”
I swore I would never use the word “potty.”
I call the potty a “loo,” but here’s the thing: other people our children come into contact with, like teachers and other parents, will use the word “potty”—so we will too.
2. Sleep with our children.
We will. If we’ve not slept for more than one full sleep-cycle (an hour and a half) for four nights in a row (made-up example), we will sleep with our child.
If you’re the parent of an awesome sleeper? Then fuck you.
3. Not care if someone sees our nipples while we breastfeed.
I mean, we might—a tiny bit. But nipples become fair game for public viewing if it’s a choice between that and never leaving the house.
Me? I love breastfeeding so much that my breasts are still something special to me, but not in a “naughty-Americans-can’t-handle-the-truth” sort of way, if only because…
4. I now see my breasts as a utilitarian body part.
5. Be significantly less grossed out by all bodily fluids.
I say “less” grossed out, because I think people who claim that their “baby’s poo doesn’t bother me at all!” have a problem. Because, frankly, it’s still poo. That said, get used to seeing a lot of it. A lot.
6. Wake a sleeping baby.
Unless we want to let her sleep in her own poo (speaking of poo again), or if we have no other children who have to be taken places, or if we aren’t the ones changing diapers. (Which, possibly, calls for another fuck you.)
7. Feel blessed by God when an enormous poop happens right before we’re about to leave.
We’ll also be shocked at how happy we are when our kids have regular bowel movements. We’ll also be shocked at how frequently we use the words “bowel movement” and just “poop” in general. (I mean, count how many times I’ve used them in this blog! There’s a reason for that. Because, poop.)
8. Be less turned on by a great subtitled foreign film and more turned on by something that makes our brains go on a nightly vacation for the maybe-20 minutes that we can stay awake after the baby falls asleep.
Admit it, that sentence alone was hard to get through, wasn’t it?
9. Any day that starts with a shower and shaved legs has the potential to be a great day.
If we got to shave the backs of our legs and above our knees then, repeat after me: Today. Will. Be. Awesome.
10. Dressing our kids really will be more fun than buying clothes for ourselves.
My mom always bought us kids new clothing and rarely herself, and now I get it—it really is fun to clothe our adorable children.
11. Multi-tasking absolutely is a myth.
So while the kids are young, we’ll just do everything poorly.
12. Our kids will eat “kid food.”
Even if we’re foodies.
Even if we don’t own a microwave.
Even if they “ate everything!” as babies.
They. Will. Eat. Kid. Food. (But hopefully in addition to “non-kid” food too.)
Yet the thing is, there are other experiences that also happen after we’ve had a baby that we couldn’t have predicted beforehand.
Like the love we feel. That’s absolutely true—and it’s what makes all of that poop worth it.
Or at least most of it.
Author’s note: I know that it’s “we” and not “us,” but I felt like using “us.” Because, poop.
Photo: Flickr/Juhan Sonin.