Monday, April 16, 2012

What Parents Really Want to Hear

Even though the thought of leaving the hospital with a brand spanking new baby was the most frightening moment of my life, ("So, I really don't even know how to change a diaper and you are just going to let me walk out of here and take this tiny human with me????? This seems like a bad idea.) what I was not anticipating was how tiring, frightening and gut wrenching parenting can be on a day to day basis.

Every moment that your baby/toddler/child/teenager is in your care, your primary job as the parental unit is to keep that person ALIVE and WELL. This may seem simplified, but it is the core of parenting. It is also why I have 80% more wrinkles since having children.


On top of keeping that little person safe, you also must teach them pretty much everything about life. EVERYTHING. A parent is responsible for instilling everything from simple manners  (please and thank you) to a moral code of living (keep your ass in school and out of jail). Parents teach empathy, kindness, compassion, love, loyalty, honesty, oral hygiene and sometimes even math (ugh). Parents should lead by example (No Brock, you can't take that beer to go) and should be generous with their love (and, in my opinion, ponies and humor).

There are a wide variety of books written by "Parental Experts" on how not to screw up your kid. I'm sure that there is tons of useful information in those things, but I can't be certain as I have yet to read one. My parental style is something I like to call "I'm just going with my gut...." I also use the method of "Distraction", "Bribery" and the ever popular "Elf on the Shelf" (ours just popped in from the North Pole for a surprise inspection).



As you probably know, all of this is only part of the reason that raising children is mentally exhausting. I haven't even touched upon the brain melting parental obligation of decision making (what doctor, what school, what activity, what food, what friends, LeapPad or Leapster Explorer?....blah blah blah...). Not to mention the physical demands of feeding them, cleaning them, feeding them, cleaning them, feeding them, cleaning them, clothing them, watching them every second of the day so that they don't fall into a well or run into traffic, and hauling them to and fro. I have witnessed the direct effects of a headstrong two-year old who isn't "into" having their diaper changed. The adult in the situation staggers out of the boxing ring room, with rumpled shit stained clothes and a sweaty brow, clearly defeated every time; whilst a 20/30/40-something pound Jr. happily struts across the room in the always popular toddler combo of a shirt and no pants.

This mental and physical warfare daily routine is only a small example as to why most parents covet date night book club poker night the time of day commonly referred to as "bedtime". With the children in their rooms, tucked safely into their beds, "bedtime" is basically the only time of the day that parents can shut off their mind, pour a glass of wine and turn on a TV program that isn't rated G. It is time meant to recharge both the tiny, growing people in the house and the adults that are raising them. It is meant to be quiet, contemplative and restful. It the time of day that mom and dad can talk about (or do) adult things. (Not that they do, because by that time they are too fried to do anything other than stare at an hour of Castle and speculate on "who done it".) In reality, it can also be a time of a battle unlike non other with your precious spawn. Don't ever underestimate the will of a small person. God made them that cute specifically so that parents don't eat their young.



In conclusion, parents are thrilled to hear many things come out of their babe's mouth. We are pleased when a well timed "Please and thank you" is applied. We are proud when our tot says "May I please be excused?" and then carries their plate to the kitchen. We could almost burst when we see them say "I love you" to a sibling or friend and then follow it up with a non-strangly hug. We are amazed when our hours of chanting "You're the Best Mom EVER!" in the ear as they eat, play and sleep pays off with an affectionate and enthusiastic, "Wow! This food is great! You're the best mom EVER!"

While all of the above are great and make you feel like a parental success, don't be fooled. What we most want to hear from our well-behaved, perfectly healthy and well rounded children is a well-earned, perfectly timed (at bedtime, of course)  "I'm TIRED".

Winner, winner. Cereal for dinner.

God Bless the Children (with well manicured parks, fresh air, sunshine and enough exercise that they practically put themselves to bed).

Now, if you'll excuse me; I'm exhausted. Insomnia should be outlawed.
Sleep well tonight, and may the force be with you.

Johi

16 comments:

  1. This is why I'm still set on Plan B (not the morning after pill, the other one. Ok, and maybe the morning after pill if needed); adopt a 17 year old, "raise" them for a year, then kick 'em out. Parenting: done.

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    1. I don't mean to frighten you. My kids are seriously worth all of the stress. They're adorable and awesome. I just seem to be lacking a great deal of sleep since birthing them. And they are good sleepers.... I just have issues.

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  2. Fact........I'm quite certain that it is MY 2 year old you're speaking of with the diaper situation.
    Fact........we are having cereal for dinner tonight.
    Fact........it's 5pm and I may or may not have a slight buzz.

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    1. Fact....Yours was only the most recent incident. Many times I hsve stepped away from the changing table with aching muscles and drenched in a full body sweat.
      Fact.... Cereal is delicious and kids love it.
      Fact.... I can't wait to hang with you tomorrow.

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  3. And with that nothing ever needs to be written about parenting again. It can't be said any better!

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    1. Why thank you, Sarah! I probably could have added more gush, but I'm really effing tired.

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  4. Word.

    You forgot vacillating between most annoying and tear your hair out obnoxious dinner "eaters" one minute, and then adorable "thank you for dinner, mommy" angels. Such was my night. Where is the wine, again?

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    1. In a box on my counter. Come on over. :)

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  5. So I was supposed to change the diapers?

    Dammit.

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  6. Ain't this the TRUTH! Had I read all this in high school, I might never have had sex. You should see about getting this included in the Health Text Books. OR!!!---- maybe you could go on a SPEAKING TOUR of high schools: The Truth About Raising Children! That'd be freaking awesome.

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    1. Lol! I would do that, for the children. Muahahaha!

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  7. as much as I love reading all the mommy blogs out there.. they also make me extremely terrified of having children... being a step-mom is one thing... having one of my own... oh dear god the horror!

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    1. What about the mommy blogs that make it all sound like sunshine and roses? Don't you LOVE those?

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  8. That was a brilliant summary of parentinig - you should write a book!

    I hope to sleep well, since I didn't last night, and yes, the force will be with you, always.

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    1. I thought of you when I signed off like that. :) I did sleep better, with the help of my little friend Tylenol PM. Nevermind that I'm in a fog the entire following day....

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