Back when I was pregnant (and way before that), like many of us I'm sure, I knew everything. "I'm never going to do that" I would say as I watched the poor mom who was once probably a very lovely woman but now looked like some sort of cracked out Mary Poppins with children who resembled gremlins hanging from each limb of her body. My statement most likely came as I watched her bribe her children with candy or toys if, for the love of God, they would just behave somewhat like humans in the store. I, in all my ignorance, would silently think to myself "Seriously, lady. You can't control your kids for a few minutes while you shop? Why didn't you just stay home? I now know the answer to that question. It's because the poor woman needed milk... three different kinds of milk because her 5 year old is allergic to lactose, her 3 year old refuses to drink 1%, her husband will ONLY drink 1%, and her 1 year old has been instructed to drink whole milk per the doctors orders to grow up not deformed or something. Not only does she need a million different types of milk but she has to pick up more chicken nuggets because that is the only things her children will eat. But don't worry, they are whole wheat nuggets and that counts because damn it, at least they are eating! So to all those moms that I judged before, you have my sincerest apologies. I didn't know. Instead of judging you and thinking I could do a better job I should have been awarding you medals, flowers, chocolates, spa gift certificates and congratulating you for the following:
1. Keeping all those kids alive
2. Staying out of jail for not killing one or more of them
3. Keeping them hanging off your limbs instead of playing shopping cart bumper cars
4. Keeping them from opening up food in the middle of the store and chowing down (unfortunately this has happened to me... story to follow another day)
5. Looking like a cracked out Mary Poppins instead of a Mary Poppins risen from the dead.
You Are Not Prepared
Let me just say that if you are eventually planning on having a kid or are pregnant, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED... no matter how many books you have read, no matter how many people have given you their trusted advice. No matter how many children and babies you have worked with in you life up until now. No matter if you work with babies, children, etc for a living. No matter what. You are not prepared. If you say you are, you're a big fat liar face.
Newborns are exhausting. Infants are frustrating because everything you dealt with during newborn stage should be subsiding right? Wrong. They lure you into a false sense of being. "Hey mom, I'm going to sleep eight hours straight. But just one night so you think there's hope." Hope? No. They are sneaky little ninjas. That eight hours was a break so you don't make it to complete zombie land. Be prepared for every hour waking the next night. And perhaps a diaper blowout. Don't get me started on toddlers.
Some days I feel like a shell of what I once was. Never did I think that if I got pee on my shirt that I would casually wipe it with a wipe and say "I'll change when I get home." Never did I think that poop on my finger could wait to be washed until I got his underwear back on him. Never did I think I would gladly feed my kid a hot dog just so he would eat something. Never did I think I would turn on a movie so he would sit the f down for a few minutes so I could get some peace and quiet. But now I'm that mom.
Before I had Link I knew everything. However, I am much wiser now. So I have created a Q&A between my know it all self and my wiser, more knowledgeable today self.
1. Q: Do you seriously need a portable DVD player for a plane trip? You can't keep their attention with a coloring book?
A: Yes, I do. He has ripped the pages from the book, screamed at them like they are on fire and if he doesn't get rid of them they will surely turn into Satan and take him to hell. The crayons have been lovingly broken in half and thrown to the front of the plane. His toy cars are now in the hands of seat 14C because he tried to chuck one at my head, it ricocheted off the man sitting behind me and rolled down the aisle. He suddenly hates his favorite book that we read every day and night a million times and how he's screaming for train stickers of which I have none. So yes, not only do we need a portable DVD player for this plane ride but YOU need us to have it so that you don't have to glare at me because my kid is "out of control." And by the way, I don't know if you know this, but that evil glare you are giving me because my kid is on the planet and talks sometimes, it's not going to do shit. You can go ahead and squint your eyes to give the dirtiest look you can muster but my kid doesn't care. He's immune and the dirty looks usually just give me fuel to NOT control him. He's a good kid but if he poops I may try to see if I can throw a little your way.
Q: Chicken nuggets? PB&J? Hot dogs? Shouldn't you be feeding him organic, healthy foods.
A: YES. Of course. But, organic? I'm lucky if I can get my kid to eat a damn bag of chips. My chicken nuggets are whole wheat. My PB&J is on whole wheat bread with low sugar jelly. My hot dogs are kosher all beef. What, bitch? He's eating. That's a victory, damn it!
Q: Why are you letting your kid play with tools, batteries, other dangerous objects?
A: Because he's not screaming at me and because I am carefully watching him. If he wants to "fisk" something with a screwdriver and batteries and it entertains him then I am going to let him for a bit. Make no mistake, he is being supervised... and learning valuable handy man skills! =P
Q: Why is your kid outside in just his underwear and shoes riding a scooter? Have you no decency?
A: No. No we have no decency. At least he has on underwear. And if his daddy wants to take him outside like that I'm not going to argue. Wanna know why? Because it means mommy time. I can sit here in peace and know that the love of my life is going to take great care of my baby. They are going to have fun and if they want to do it in shoes and underwear, who am I to argue.
Q: Why is your kid watching TV? Go play a game with him.
A: He's watching PBS Kids because if I don't get two minutes to myself I am going to jump out the upstairs window. My TV is babysitting my kid right now because I feel like crap. I don't sleep because every movement and sound from my sweet little boy STILL wakes me up. If I can't function like a human I need help. If the TV is the one that helps me, that's the way it is. End of story. A little bit of television is not going to ruin my child. I'm not sitting him down to watch "Days of Our Lives" or "Dexter" or anything so I'm sure he'll be just fine!
Q: Do you really think you're a good mom.
A: I'm a damn fantastic, amazing mom and anyone who says different is more than welcome to come over for a few months and show me how it's done. I could use the break!
There are plenty more answers I have for my former self but I would just like to tell her this: You have no idea. You can judge all you want. You can say what you will and will not do but there is no way to hold yourself to any of those promises until you are actually in the moment experiencing it. Until you look like the cracked out Mary Poppins with a screaming child hanging from your leg and all you want to do is buy a gallon of milk and some whole freaking wheat chicken nuggets! Carry those medals, mommies. We all have flaws but we are fantastic parents! And that is that. (even when you are searching the net for ways to cook your toddler)
A Time I Had