1. Throw up isn’t gross. There was a time when I was a preschool teacher. One morning a child came in to the class, accompanied his mother, who looked a little green under the gills. As soon as I welcomed him to the class he turned a new shade of green and before I knew what was happening, his mom reached out and caught his throw up in her hand. IN HER HAND.
I was ready to swear off parenting at that point. One roto virus with two children aged 2 and under and a carsick prone child later and throw up has lost it’s power. Now rather than shriek, freak out and run away like our oldest child, we just embrace it and know what to do when a child is throwing up.
You know you’re a parent when you consider throw up just another day at the highly underpaid office.
2. Sleep is what you’ll do when you’re dead. Ahh sleep, what teenage years are made of. Then you hit your early twenties and sleep is what you do from 7am-12pm. A few years later you get married and have children. At that point you can just kiss sleep goodbye.
First there’s infancy when sleep isn’t expected. Then there’s the toddler years when sleep is done with a child’s foot lodged in your kidney no matter how much you swore that you would never let a child sleep in your bed with you. The preschool years are when every shadow moves in their room at night and 2-4am is often spent walking kids back to bed. The modern school age years are when you have to turn off the router just to make sure the kids are asleep when you go to bed. But they really aren’t asleep and at midnight you’ll probably wake up to a fight over who had the purple fuzzy blanket first, not that they’re using it to sleep. At that point your bladder is shot from carrying several pregnancies to term and you’re up more than down to use the bathroom anyway.
Then there’s the life with teen years when you stay up worried about where they are. Followed by the college years when you stay up watching CNN.com to make sure they’re not on it for all the wrong reasons, which they’re not because you raised good kids.Finally there’s the grandparent years when the sleep deprived kids drop off the grandkids and it just starts all over again.
3. They hear everything. Oh that imaginary play is so cute isn’t it? Just wait.
When they think you’re not listening the imaginary play will turn into real life play. Mommy Barbie will be yelling about the dropped eggs on the floor, kinda like the dropped eggs on your floor that morning. Daddy Ken will be throwing things in the garage because the barbie kids might have buried the weed wacker in the yard. The Barbie dog will be doing inappropriate things to the Petshop cat.
Then you’ll realize that the neighbor children that are over playing will probably bring this fun game home with them and play it in front of their parents.
All the sudden your every single failing as a parent will come to life through Barbies. Hey look at the bright side, as least you’ll finally have a tiny waist and big……brains.
4. Life goes by way too fast. You might want to grab a tissue. All of the sudden this little baby that fit into the nook of your arm is four feet tall. No matter how much you beg them to just try to fit into your lap, it will never happen again.
Having kids will make you realize that small moments in life matter the most. Putting down your phone and just playing on a playground with that child will change your life. Listening to them figure things out whether it’s how to spell new words or teaching them how to handle a fight with a friend for the first time will fly by but it’s the time that will shape their life.
There will be the day when they proclaim “only 6 more years until I can drive!” while you grumble under your breath, “or 20”. But then you’ll spend a few minutes remembering how they used to stand on the seat of the car, simultaneously chewing on and playing with the steering wheel at the same time.
All the sudden you’ll look in the mirror and see wrinkles and enough gray hair to land a plane with. And in the reflection behind you will be a gorgeous young woman, who refuses to let you put her into a onesie or swaddle her anymore.
All the sudden the imperfect, sleep deprived and throw up covered life won’t look so bad. It’s a messy life but it’s worth it all. You’ll learn that it’s more than worth it just to have the honor of raising the kids that will probably teach you more than you teach them.
How else would you learn how to get peanut butter out of hair or how to find the hamster that’s been lost for the past month?