Nov 20, 2013
We do weird things like sing goofy songs to make our children smile in public places and wipe their faces with our spit. Or maybe that's just me. Either way, I often laugh at some of the things I do now as a parent that I never would've dreamed of in my pre-parent days. There are definitely plenty of things I thought were gross/weird/annoying before becoming a parent that I don't even bat an eyelash at now. Here are just a few:
1. Saying "you won't understand until you're a parent"
Hearing this used to make me frustrated beyond belief, and I remember feeling so patronized when parents would say it. I have a background in child development and have worked with children in a ton of different capacities during the almost 10 years before I became a parent. I had been surrounded by children for years, so obviously I could understand the plight of parents.
So, about that ... it's totally true. You just don't know until you're a parent. I realize now that most parents weren't trying to be patronizing, just speaking their truth. And it is the truth. No matter how much you've been around kids, things are totally different when you're dealing with your own kid 24/7. As in totally and completely different.
2. Posting 80 bajillion pictures of your kid on Instagram
In my pre-kid days, I just couldn't understand why parents felt the need to post non-stop kid spam in their photo stream? "Don't you people have anything better to take photos of?" Now that I'm a parent, I am totally guilty of this, but I get it now. Before I had a kid I was posting food or pet pictures, but now I have a real live human subject who does cute photo-worthy things. Even if no one else is into it, I am and that's what social media is all about anyway - sharing the things you love.
Related: 7 reasons why it's good to be a "mean mom"
3. Giving into feeding demands
I remember seeing parents giving in to their children's feeding demands and thinking it was super annoying. "If your kid gets hungry enough, they'll probably eat those green beans - just sayin'." These were my naive pre-parenting thoughts.
Now I know that when you're a parent, the food thing is really about picking your battles. Sometimes it's not worth fighting over a few veggies and if my kid really wants Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast, why not? I'll just try to squeeze in something a little healthier at lunch. It's about balance and avoiding a struggle when it's not totally necessary.
4. Wiping bodily fluids with your hands
"You just wiped your kids snot with your hand and then wiped it on your pants. Have you no self-respect?!" Now that I'm a parent, I know that the answer to that question is: nope. OK. That's not true. We have self-respect, but if you don't have a tissue you just do what you've gotta do - plus you birthed this creature so it's kind of like wiping your own snot.
5. Being THOSE parents at the restaurant
Before I had a child of my own, I remember glaring at "those parents" at restaurants. The ones who let their kid make a massive mess and throw food all over the floor. Now that I have a toddler, I know that sometimes your toddler just isn't going to let you help them when it comes to feeding time and if you try there will only be screaming which other diners obviously don't want to hear. Basically you're just going to have to let them make a mess by feeding themselves. I always try to pick up as much as I can before leaving though out of consideration for those who have to clean up after us.
6. Using wipes for everything
I remember seeing a friend wipe her counters with a baby wipe once and another friend wipe down the inside of her car and thinking it was the weirdest thing. Now I get it. Baby wipes are awesome, and I fully intend on using them long after my little is out of diapers.
7. Letting kids run like banshees in public
I remember seeing children running around like crazies and thinking "Why can't these parents just control their children?! When I have kids there's no way I will ever let them behave that way." Now I've been on the parent end of this kind of situation. For the most part, I try to avoid running errands when my daughter is having a rough day and if she's having a hard time in a particular situation I'll typically just leave before it gets out of hand, but sometimes it's just unavoidable.
Maybe our fridge is totally empty and I have to go to the grocery store right then, or we're at a doctor's appointment, or there is a similar situation. There are just some times when toddler tantrums just happen. As a parent I will do my best to avoid them and handle them, but sometimes I'm just overwhelmed and at a loss with an important task to finish. Now I get it a little more.
8. Always saying that you're "SO busy"
Pre-parenting, I understood that parents were busy ... just like the rest of us. We all have responsibilities, right? Well, sort of, but parenting is a 24/7 gig. No weekends, no holidays. It's exhausting in a completely different way than I've ever experienced. I thought I was busy before having my daughter and now I laugh at that notion. I had so much more free time. I also remember thinking stay-at-home moms had it made. Playing with a kid all day? Sign me up! Ha! Let's just say it's very different when you do it day in and day out though. Definitely worth it, but busy on another kind of level.