Ten Things I've Learned as a Parent
1. Really, it's better to lower one's standards of cleanliness. Though I'm a bit messy/scatterbrained myself, I've learned to accept unfolded baskets of laundry around the house, a trash can that never seems to empty, that dirty dishes seem to multiply like rabbits and that a house isn't a home without a series of matchbox cars on the floor. Or even better....legos for me to step on in my sock feet.
2. Things that made me gag as a kid-less adult are a breeze now. I can clean up puke and other bodily fluids pretty much gag-free.
3. Parenting makes you say things that you never thought were possible to come out of your mouth. I once told a baby Will that, after trying to slip a softy shoe on, that "Pee-pees don't wear shoes." That's actually one of my personal favorites! Last night I actually said to Sean, "What are you doing?! We don't bite our plates....that's made of glass and will hurt you!"
4. There will be disappointment along the way. There will also be lots of times where you question your judgment, your sanity and your self-worth. It will take only one phone call home from the school principal about your "little darling" that will make you want to crawl under a rock. It's tough to remember sometimes that we are our own worst critic.
5. To appreciate every age, and to document when possible. I take plenty of pictures, and I love reading this blog to re-live things like their little socks, the way they pronounce things, or when my oldest insisted that he didn't want a baby in the family because he wanted to sleep. (Kids really are wiser than we think.)
6. To never say never. "My child would never do that." My mother tells a story about my grandmother insisting that her daughter would never sling mud at a neighbor's clean sheets while they were drying on the clothesline. Hint: She totally did it. It hasn't happened to me yet, and I stress "yet."
7. How's the phrase go...."When angry count to ten. When very angry, a thousand." Sometimes you have to stop and count, before going nuclear. It's a lot prettier for all involved if you take a deep breath. I don't always follow this one, but I am trying.
8. Birthday parties outside of the house....they are expensive but if you can swing it, they're worth it. Not cleaning up the mess that fifteen children made after a two-hour party is heaven.
9. It's the best job that I've ever wanted to quit. Getting paid in snuggles and "I Love Yous" rocks. They may not pay the mortgage, but they're worth their weight in gold!
10. Also worth it's weight in gold...the fact that these children are someday going to call you up and tell you the woes that their child is causing them and ask you, how did you deal with this? They will understand what their parents have gone through because they are now going through it themselves. I already know this is bittersweet, I've made the call a few times to my own parents. I am doing the same kind of work that my mom did when I was in elementary school. An actual conversation with my mother: "Mom? Remember how B and I used to call you up at work, because we were fighting? I'm REALLY sorry!" :)