I would like to take you back to 2 B.C (Before Children). I was 25 years old, been married 3 years, had just decided it was time to have kids, and had everything about what I would be like as a parent figured out. Here are 3 things the 25 year old LibertyDee knew she would be like as a mom.
- I would never lose my patience – why would I? I was going to raise my kids with all the love in the world and give them all they needed and wanted. I was going to speak to them reasonably and explain things to them and they therefore be very well behaved.
- I would never give them junk food – why would I? These small beings deserved nothing but the best and as long as I only served healthy foods from day one they would never want anything but. I would come home every night and assure there was a freshly cooked meal on my families table.
- I would never choose tidying and cleaning over spending time with my kids – why would I? after all my kids are perfectly behaved so they will pick up after themselves and understand the importance of pitching in as a family and help with the chores and how much time really do they really want to play with me if they have their toys and books and siblings
Let’s fast forward now to the present 14 A.C (After Children). I am 40 years old, been married 18 years and know that I knew nothing about being a parent. Here is how the 3 things that 25 year old LibertyDee knew she would be like as a mom have turned out.
- I would never lose my patience – How could I not? As it turns out no matter how much you love your children or how much you give them or how reasonably you think your speaking to them. They are by nature unreasonable, demanding, stubborn little beings that will try your patience on a regular basis just because they can. IT turns out that they are their own person, they think differently than you do and what you think will make them happy is the absolutely craziest thing you could have thought of. It starts off small like throwing toys all over their room and then refusing to pick them up. It then moves into the ability to lose one shoe right before you need to leave the house. _ yes one shoe. One! And if you think I’m making this up you likely don’t have kids. And as I’m learning now that I have a teenager in the house it escalates to dealing with mood swings when you suggest they get help on a subject afterschool and their eye roll up, around and back up again followed by stomping out of the room and locking themselves in their bedroom for hours at a time.
- I would never give them junk food –How could I not? Ok. So maybe there is no real “excuse” for offering your kids junk and yes home cooked meals are the way to go but… yes but. It turn out that even though I’m a mom I also want a life of my own, I want to do things that I enjoy, things that I love, things that have nothing to do with my family and kids (unthinkable right) Well, the consequence of doing things for myself is that they cut into “mom” time and many a dinner has been sacrificed to appease the “mom needs her own life” gods. This means Pizza, takeout Chinese, and dare I say it……McDonalds.
- I would never choose tidying and cleaning over spending time with my kids – How could I not? Ok. So this one I really truly thought would be easy because I don’t even like cleaning so given the option of playing with the kids or cleaning, it would be a no brainer right? Think again. There are two big reasons why this didn’t quite work out:
- I Live Here – The mess to tidying up ratio is HUGE. We are now a family of 5 and if I was not constantly tidying and/or cleaning something up the house would quickly look like something out of Hoarders. This too has changes over the years, it starts with toys and the endless crumbs from endless snacks and evolves to cups and plates by the TV & their bed, shoes in strange places ( one on its side by the front door and the other at the bottom of the basement stairs) and piles and piles of laundry – And to be fair this includes that my kids are actually pretty good at doing their chores (after some reminding)
- They want to play ALL the time and it’s NOT fun (all the time) – So remember how I said “how much time really do they really want to play with me if they have their toys and books and siblings” – the answer is ALL THE TIME. I frequently haven’t even taken my coat off before my daughter is already upset that I haven’t started playing with her. And yes there have been MANY beautiful moments and memories made while we play Shopkins, make forts, tag, and even video games together but there is one thing that is rarely fun (I’m using rarely instead of never simply because I can’t bring myself to believe that it’s never been fun but honestly I can’t remember the last time) BOARD GAMES. Aughghghghghgh. From Dora Candy Land to Connect Four to The Game of Life it always turns into an argument, whining and even crying and I get stuck in the middle , playing referee and being accused of picking ”favourites” It I rather be cleaning ( yuppp that’s how bad it is) but usually I suck it up because ”this time will be different” – ( Enter crazy laugh here)
I now know that anything I think I know is only temporary. Everything I have learned as a parent is only applicable to my kids and even then only applicable to the child that I learned it about because all though they were born to the same parents and live in the same house an went to the same schools they are nothing like one another. More importantly I have learned that 25 year old LibertyDee was a sweet, well intentioned young woman who knew nothing about being a parent and owes an apology to all those young moms she had the audacity to give “advice” to.