Remember when you first found out you were going to be a parent? I bet you swore you would never do things you saw other parents do. You also probably thought you would still be able to partake in adult activities, maintain an immaculate home, and not let your kids dictate your life.
So how’s that working out for you?
Not going as planned?
That’s what I thought.
Before becoming a parent – I too believed in this fantasy. Now I’ve accepted the things I can’t change and have embraced the nuances that coincide with parenting young children. There are specific certainties that parents of infants and toddlers just have to succumb to. We all belong to a special club and membership requires some if not all of the following:
Your living room looks like you put a couch in the middle of Gymboree.
I swore once we had kids that our living room would remain kid-free. Unfortunately, this only lasted a few months. Now it’s plagued with toys and baby gear even though we have a designated playroom downstairs. The couch and ottoman are now used as a trampoline and the television console has become the emergency stop for all my son’s racecars. We used to have nice things – not so much anymore.
Your car is a place where Goldfish go to die.
The car wash has actually charged me extra when I take my car in to get cleaned. When they see me pull in, half of the staff suddenly goes on break. My car has definitely seen better days, which didn’t include sticky chocolate milk stains and remnants of Goldfish crackers smashed into the carpets.
You now dine with senior citizens.
Dinnertime with kids is now at 5 pm. If and when you are able to go to a restaurant, you will only be in the company of senior citizens or other families with small children. Once you’re there you have a very limited time to shovel all your food in your face and then race home before the clock strikes bedtime. If you don’t make the bedtime deadline your kids will turn into little demons. Not exaggerating.
You no longer get embarrassed.
The days of caring what others think are long gone after the first few hundred times your kid acts like a raging lunatic in public. You become a pro at ignoring them and everyone else. You also find yourself doing embarrassing things like: smelling your kids butt to see if they have a dirty diaper, licking their face to clean it and even picking their nose.
You will never be on-time again.
Even if you plan ahead, set everything out the night before and wake up early – you will still be running late. Your kids have no concept of time nor do they care about being punctual. The simplest thing like putting on their jacket can take up to 20 minutes. The world now revolves around them. You’ll need to accept this early in the game in order to keep your sanity.
You know every character and song played on Disney Junior.
You can’t remember the last time you watched a non-animated show. You find yourself singing the songs and getting excited for any new episodes of your child’s favorite cartoons – because ultimately these will serve as the babysitter when you need a break. You may even find yourself sitting in an arena watching all the characters singing and skating around on ice. Never say never.
You have become an expert at multi-tasking.
You quickly learn how to utilize your time wisely. Who knew you could prep dinner while feeding your baby, paying your bills, loading some laundry and even checking Facebook all at the same time? I often wear my baby around the house so I can have my hands free to take care of other things. As a parent you have to get creative or you will never get anything done.
I’m sure there are many more behaviors that bond us as parents with small children, these are just some of my favorites. What are the tell-tale signs of parents with small children to you?