Ok so normally my blog posts are upbeat and glowing with positive remarks.... today isn't one of those days. It's 10pm on a Sunday night and I'm exhausted. I've been in the process of getting three kids to sleep for the past 2.5 hours. And while I laid in bed, singing the same songs over and over again, like I've done every single night for the past seven years, it occurred to me. No one tells you the truth about parenting. Sure you can see all the cute baby commercials, or photos from your friend's Facebook page, or flip through the latest issue of Parenting magazine. But they leave a LOT out. So to make myself feel better, I am writing a list of my own entitled, "The Things They Don't Tell You Before You Have Kids." Hope you enjoy... (ps. these are in no particular order)
1. You will NEVER sleep in again. Sure, you think it will be bad the first couple of months while the baby is waking up for feedings at night. But what you don't realize is that the sleep you know of is GONE for ETERNITY. Never again will you roll over in bed and enjoy the nice quiet mornings on the weekend. Or, wake up and get dressed for work with only yourself to worry about. Once you have kids you're done. Oh, and once they climb out of the crib, I hope you enjoy having someone sleep at your feet cause that's what they do. Forget restful, wonderful sleep. It's over.
2. You will watch the same cartoons OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. It starts off with Disney Jr., PBS Kids... then you make your way to Nick Jr. (thanks to Dora and Diego) and finally to Nickelodeon. Spongebob becomes a pillar in your home and all of a sudden your kids have this gross cartoon humor about butts. It's at home, in the car (thanks to mobile dvd players), on your ipad... it follows you around. You can even tell when they switch the voiceovers for the characters... come'on moms, you know that original Diego wasn't the same two years later... OMG please let me watch normal tv! Oh and yeah, those grown up shows your DVR, you're too tired to watch them after the kids go to bed so forget keeping up with the latest tv gossip.
3. There is no such thing as alone time after having kids. The best bet you can have is locking yourself in your bathroom and blaring music hoping they will stop pounding on the door crying. And, while you're trying to squeeze in some "mommy time" taking a nice bath, you get to enjoy rubber kid toys staring at you. I have about 10 minions in my bathtub at this very moment. Oh and yea, the kids have their own bathtub but insist on using mine because it's a big one.
4. Eating out is never enjoyable with kids. From the moment they're born, all the way through toddlerhood and to "big kids" eating at a restaurant becomes nothing but ordering at light speed - hoping they don't screw up the meals because the kids will FLIP, carrying around an endless supply of gold fish to hold off the hunger as they take a 1/2 hr to make chicken nuggets and wolfing down the meal as you cut as fast as you can. You pay the bill before they even bring the food cause you know one of your kids inevitably will have a meltdown and your worst fear is being stuck waiting for the check while all eyes STARE at you with hatred.
5. Forget about owning anything nice for ten years. That nice car you have... they trash it. That nice furniture - yeah they write on it, or poke things through it, or better yet, they pee on it. Everything becomes a canvas for them. My kitchen table has been drawn on, my walls, the carpet, the cabinets. Nothing is off limits to them. The sad thing is that you just get used to living that way and you realize that buying new stuff is just stupid. Oh and no matter if you try to hide the markers, they WILL find them. It's like a sixth sense they have.
6. The laundry never stops. How can little kids were more clothes in a week than a I do in an entire month?! OMG, I never stop doing laundry. I hear it only gets worse too...
7. Forget ever having extra money. If you do have an extra $100 then it goes to their school because there is ALWAYS something they need money for. And if it's not school, then it's new shoes (cause their feet grow like a weed), clothes, toys, birthday party gifts, their OWN birthday parties (which run a cool $400 nowadays and that's without the present)... the list goes on and on. Doctor's appointments!!!!!! I almost forgot those. HA. Extra money... I wish.
8. You forget what it's like to hang out with your spouse. Dinner dates?! HA!!! Yeah if you have an extra $60 to pay for babysitting on top of the $40 meal. (See #7) The only way you can keep your sanity is if one of you goes out and the other stays behind to watch the kids and then you switch. It's the only way to successfully go out, and NOT end up fighting about how much the night cost. If you're lucky you might be able to talk at home, but that's only if you can hear over the screaming, whining and wrestling of the kids.
9. You become a short-order cook. Kid 1 will eat this, but Kid 2 will not. Kid 2 wants this, and Kid 3 wants that. My sister gave me great advice a long time ago. She said, "Lindsay - you have to serve it on a plate before you can throw it in the trash." Isn't that the truth! Forget trying to get them to eat what you want them to - it doesn't work.
10. Most likely (at least in my case) you will not be the mom/dad you thought you'd be. I know for me, I grew up thinking I'd be this wonderful stay-at-home mom with four boys and I'd spend days making crafts and driving them to soccer practice. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I spent three years at home with my kids and I thought I was going to lose my mind (for all the reasons above). I ran (if not SPRINTED) back to work when I had the chance and I soon realized that staying home was harder than ANY job I have experienced. I didn't quite live up to my own expectations, and it eats at me a lot, but you know, that's real life. I think if I knew what to expect, not just the fake reality they make up on tv, then I wouldn't have been so hard on myself. Being a parent is WAY harder than I ever expected. And of course it's totally "worth it in the end" (I had to put the positive lining in somewhere), but MAN, I had NO clue what was in store for me.
Well, if you're still reading, thanks for reading my rant. I don't mean to be "wah-wah-wah" girl from Saturday Night Live, but it's the truth! I'd love to hear other stories - what did people forget to tell you about parenthood?!
Keepin' it real.... Lindsay