I will never do that when I have kids.
It’s a popular cliché, the idea that in the rosy pre-child-invasion phase of life we make long and super-judgmental lists of how we will raise our OWN kids perfectly. There is persistent belief that people who are not responsible for raising small humans cannot possibly understand what sacrifices, what great burdens and what great joys parenting life brings. Baloney. I will not deny there is a nugget of truth buried deep in this stereotype, but I think it is like how I just cannot understand the lifestyle of a monster truck driver – it is simply far from my experience. I can’t expect a non-parent to approach parenting problems with the same “fog of war” survival instinct that has animated my life since the Great Kiddo Coup d’État of 2008.
I had enough experience babysitting, teaching drama and observing the awesome parenting skills of my friends to not have a lot of preconceived notions of what I would do in the parent seat. In most of the big questions, from coping with grocery store meltdowns to sleep training I walked into parent-world with a “we’ll just do whatever works” attitude. So far that has served me pretty well, though that has more to do with my paranoid belief that whatever I plan will blow up in my face than any grand unifying parenting philosophy.
I still find myself doing and saying things my pre-child self would find bizarre.
Those moments crop up every so often, when it feels like the camera that records my life swoops up into a crane shot and all of a sudden it is obvious I have been replaced by an alien wearing my face who is determined to discover what it means to be human by parenting two small girls. Those moments are…weird. It’s not that they are bad – it’s rarely me doing something I think is wrong. It’s more the odd sensation that I am doing something that was someone else’s idea.
It’s helpful to look back this time of year, and so I present to you without judgment:
My Twelve “Never Would I Ever” Moments of 2015
I became a Girl Scout. In fact, I became a Girl Scout Troop Co-Leader. I am not a great group joiner, but I have two kiddos who love scouting…and we needed a local troop leader…so…I became a Girl Scout. So far, it’s fun – mostly a lot of rule learning and Pinterest lurking. I am still not very good at the songs, mind you.
Despite deeply held convictions regarding the spoiling of children, I cannot leave a bookstore without buying each child a book. Or two. It’s a problem.
I agreed to never give the kiddos the same drink in the same color cup, because I have been informed that my children having matching cups at lunch will be the inciting incident of WWIII, and I just can’t deal with that kind of guilt.
I sent a sugary snack to school to celebrate my Kidlet’s birthday in her classroom. I never thought I would do that – birthday celebrations at school were not a thing when I was a kid, and I try to keep our household sugar down to a dull roar. But…she really wanted to bring something (there were tears)…and so I made white chocolate peppermint bark in April, because the only “treat” food stuff I had in the house was left over from the previous December.
I am learning a Taylor Swift song on the piano, because I want my five year old to think I am cool. This is at once adorable and pathetic.
Breakfast for dinner is now an actual regular official thing, as in I write it down on the weekly menu. “Tuesday: salmon and broccoli. Wednesday: fried eggs or Cheerios.”
I fell asleep in the deck chair when I was supposed to be watching my child’s swim lesson. There was drool.
I humble-bragged on Facebook about getting my kids enrolled in consecutive gymnastic classes on the same day, thereby consolidating our time at the gym to one afternoon a week. I can’t explain why this is an incredible monumental victory, but it certainly feels that way. I am still not sure why I needed to be sure everyone I ever worked with or went to school with heard about this triumph, but hey, social media is weird.
I bought the kiddos Disney character costumes for Halloween instead of making them. It turns out I like sleeping more than I like sewing complicated evening gowns with beads and wings.
I let my seven year old pick my hair color. I was thinking of going brunette, but she decided I needed to up my redhead game and commit to dark cherry. She stands by her choice, though her little sister was shocked every time she saw me for three days straight.