I’ve learned quite a lot over the past six years as a parent. I’ve learned what to do and infinitely more what not to do. Kids are often times the best teachers to have; from our kids, we learn how to live and how to love; how to be humble and how to be proud; how to keep it together when we ultimately just need to lose our shit. You get the idea. As a mom of two mad-crazy little guys, ages 2 and 6, I have begun to really lose my shit lately. I’m not as cool and calm as I always thought I’d have been; my 12 year old self figured I’d be a hip, laid-back mom. BAHAHAHAHA. These days, I’m so high-strung that a Stradivarius would be envious. Thankfully, I have realized this and I am trying to find the humor in things that would normally set me off like a Roman Candle. Because of my new-found work-in-progress, I have begun writing down little snippets of what parenting is to me. Now, you may find yourself jumping on my bandwagon, and you may leave here today thinking I’m a total fruitcake (and… you’d be right). Nevertheless, parenting is, like I said before, a life lesson for us all. And so, for those of us who live in the real world of make-believe and near parenting-induced alcoholism, who also do not have the benefit of expensive live-in nannies, I present to you my list of “parenting is…”. I hope it at the very least brings you a chuckle if not a Katniss-esque salute of sympathy. I’ll be starting my list with one point that ventures towards the macabre — but I know y’all will feel me on this…
- Parenting is: plotting out for weeks on end the murder of America’s favorite fictitious character, Mickey freaking Mouse. Call it hateful, throw around the term “kill-joy”…. but that mouse is a parent’s nightmare on crack. Now, did I personally always feel so violently towards the peppy, over-the-top excited little dude? Nope. There was a time I, too, was rather fond of Ears. But Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has rendered me irritated, at best, with it’s unrealistic expectations of childhood behavior. Not to mention, he’s Connor’s idol and a small mutiny occurs in our home every time that damn mouse is refused. My mind is leaning towards a Saw like end to the Mouse. I’m thinking a backwards mousetrap. Too much? Oh, well.
- Parenting is: wanting to get housework done, but the toddler is sleeping on the couch, and if parenting has taught you ANYTHING its, “Don’t wake the bear.” Hello, Netflix marathon.
- Parenting is: stress eating cheap pizza because “For the love of God and my waistline, quit stalling and do your math facts!” Move over, skinny jeans; the muumuu is strong with this one.
- Parenting is: hovering around the fridge, spoon in hand, avoiding hard stares and denying any knowledge about the banana pudding on the second shelf (behind the Country Crock, adjacent to the Dijon) and arguing that, “No! I’m not going to eat anything, promise! DON’T JUDGE ME, TODDLER!”
- Parenting is: a conundrum. On the one hand, parents love to their kiddos sing pretty much anything. On the other hand, hearing the chorus of any song over and over on continuous loop because that’s literally the only part of the song they know makes people want to pull their hair out and throw darts at the walls. See also: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse freaking theme song. Scooby Doo’s theme is equally annoyingly endearing.
- Parenting is: telling the kids to shake it off after pretty much any injury, knowing full well that if it were YOU, you’d either A) swear at the air until the “ouchie” goes away, B) cry like your two year old who has been refused Micka Mouf, or C) stress eat anything that doesn’t move.
- Parenting is: repeating yourself calmly a thousand times over, in the most serene of voices, until something in you snaps and suddenly your neighbors all think you’re a metal-band groupie and, “Oh my gawsh, she ate a bat’s ear off, I swear!”
- Parenting is: hearing yourself say things — things that should never be said — and not knowing which direction the day will go afterward. Case in point: I always say weird, off-the-wall things to my kids. They do weird, off-the-wall things, after-all, and well… shit happens. But the other day, I said within a five minute span, “QUIT LICKING THE DOG!”, “No, we cannot sell your brother. No, I do not care that you need more Legos.”, “Santa does not bring presents to little boys who pull on their private area.”, “Please quit putting your butt on the window and put on some pants.”, “No, wiping your ass is not one of my favorite things to do.” “No, I do not think I look like Velma.”, “We do not point guns at the mail lady.”, “No, I do not think she looks like Velma.”, “No, I will not smell your finger.” Five minutes. No lie. I’ve thought about bringing my kids in for testing, but I’m afraid I’ll never get them back from testing.
- Parenting is: s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g… until your six year old breaks down that impenetrable code (damnit, ELA). Then, parenting becomes speaking in movie references to anyone who will understand because said six year old is all, “I ain’t droppin’ no eaves.”
- Parenting is: attempting to reason with a screaming, tantrum-throwing toddler, only to realize that it would be easier to do and sing the Hokey Pokey backwards and in Pig Latin. It would also be more enjoyable.
- Parenting is: looking feverishly at that untouched bottle of wine in your fridge and managing, somehow, to save it for the weekend even when it’s been a Monday of a Wednesday.
- Parenting is: ending most days with someone in tears, someone else covered in Nesquick, and you on the verge of nervous breakdown… but, one way or another, finding the humor in it all, odds be damned.
- Parenting is: guidance, chauffeuring, chaperoning, disciplining, kissing booboo’s, and scaring away the monsters.
- Parenting is: being loved and getting to love. It is special. It’s a gift. It’s humbling. It’s pride-bearing.
- Parenting is: an experience. Several experiences, really. Ones that should be spent with your kids, not at your wit’s end. It’s hard, it’s tiring, it can be a nightmare; but it’s worth it. They’re worth it. And so are you, momma and/or poppa bear.
This Thanksgiving, I’m especially thankful for my kids. I am proud of who they are — even if they drive me positively berserk. They are my reasons to be thankful for anything; I am blessed beyond measure. And tired. I am so, so tired. Time for the daily battle with Mickey Mouse. I’ll give you a hint who wins: it’s not me.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.