Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Top 5: "They Didn't Tell Me That..." About Parenting

I've been a parent now for 3 years, 8 months, and 28 days (thanks to the duration calculator I found for letting me know exactly how long it's been - helpful tool). It's been a countless number of ups, several downs, and an infinite amount of teachable moments. I have been stretched, I have celebrated, I have grown, I have felt small. I have never felt more awake and alive and I have never felt more tired.

It all depends on the day, maybe even the moment.

Over the last 3 years, 8 months, and 28 days I've read a number of blog posts, articles, books, and social media snippets about parenting. Silly memes about toddlerhood, heartfelt posts of mushy moments, snarky recounts of grocery store tantrums, comments filled with opinions and advice, technically and medically written articles about the pros and cons on everything you can think of. Between all of the things - you would think that the average plugged-in mom who reads and tries to do research and stay on top of things would have found out all of the things and have covered all of the "they didn't tell me THAT about parenting" that's out there.

Little life-changers. Cute, ain't they? 

But no. No no no. There were other things. And these things that no one warned me about are so minute and silly that maybe you think they're not worth me sharing.

Oh, my friend, but if they happen to you - you'll thank me. Or maybe you're reading this in solidarity saying "OH HECK YES" with every word. Maybe you have your own little things that you've never seen show up in a blog post or journal article that you wish someone had told you. Whatever.

Maybe this is just a means for me to vent and you've heard all of these and this post is boring to you. My apologies. My blog, my monkey. Or something.

So what didn't anyone warn me about...?

Parenting: It's a messy job... and... well... we do it.

Dry Hands: When I was working full-time, I was filling my water bottle 3-4 times a day (at least) and was applying hand lotion every time I got back from washing my hands in the bathroom. My hands were so soft - I would get compliments at the end of the winter when I would get manicures at how soft my hands were considering how dry people's hands get during that time of year. Enter motherhood. I'm now changing diapers (and using their accompanying wipes), cleaning messes, and forgetting my gloves when I leave the house. I am lucky if I remember to apply lotion in the morning and at night as part of my routines. Water... well... I have a bottle, and I struggle to make sure that I fill it 2-3 times in a much, much longer day. My hands - as a result - have been cracking due to dryness for the first time in as long as I can remember. It's frustrating and I work to remember to hydrate myself and my skin - but I constantly fail. And I start over again.

My Clothes Became Frumpy: I stand in front of my closet these days and realize that my wardrobe has changed drastically. Where it used to consist primarily of clothes that I wore to look presentable and at least semi-professional, it's now full of clothes that I don't care if they get covered in snot/paint/food/whatever in the course of the day. I was going out for drinks & apps with Steve the other night and pulled 4 shirts out of the closet before I found one that wasn't covered in grease stains (presumably from turning away from cooking to break-up a toy quarrel or from greasy covered hands diving in for a hug). When did it happen that I couldn't even find a presentable outfit to go out on a simple date and feel like - to quote Michelle Pfieffer in "One Fine Day" - "a woman and less like a dead mommy"? But there it is.

If you haven't seen the movie - after this mishap, she wears a dinosaur t-shirt.
Because that's what Moms carry around for spare clothing. Seriously.

You Need To Remember That You CAN Be Sexy: Now here is something that is never ever talked about out loud. I've read what seems like a million blog posts or snarky comments about women who just don't want to even think about sex at the end of the day because they're sooooo tiiiirrrred and just don't feel like they even want to THINK about sex when their husband gives them "that look". Um... hello? Am I the ONLY mommy out there that wants to remember how the children got there in the first place? And how much FUN it was? Man, my husband WANTS me and I WANT him and... and... I just do. not. feel. sexy. It's not that I don't want to have sex - I just feel like that "dead mommy" I was just talking about and how in the world could he want someone that's tired and has dry cracked hands and looks so danged frumpy. Pick up, Buttercup... do something about it. Kids are in bed? Turn on the sexpot, Sweet Cheeks. Look at him and see the hotness that he is - no, forget that, you already know that. Look in the mirror - even when you're a dead mommy - and see the hotness that HE sees. Even if it's just a fast-action go before you crash - we can't lose that part of ourselves. And we should freaking talk about it more. Out loud. Seriously.

Good-looking AND an awesome dad? Seriously. This guy deserves me to sex it up once in a while.

Time With Girlfriends Isn't Always Quality: I had this picture when I came home from working that all my friends who were also at home full-time and I would get together and our kids would play and we'd be able to catch up and talk and sip coffee. Oh no. Such is not the case. We spend time discussing our kids, chasing our kids, gulping coffee, and lamenting that we should attempt to get together with our husbands (or without) and withOUT the children. Playdates do NOT allow for quality grown-up time. Neither do trips to the mall playground, the park, an ice cream stand, a museum... whatever it is, they're just not times for quality adult time. I know what my girlfriends with kids look like and those without are very patient and gracious with me as I send emails/texts and we have the occasional phone call.

(I bet now is when you're like - oh, Top 5... here comes the sappy "But I Love My Kids" bullet point. Well, you're totally wrong. You already know I love my kids, let's be real. We all love our kids and we all can't believe how fast they grow and we all wish we could hold on to time and blah blah blah. That's not what this post is about. Moving on.)

You Suddenly Hate Yourself as a Child: I was the only one (that I can remember) my mom never looked at me and said that she wished I had a child that was "just like me". In fact, she's occasionally called me "the easy one" - but somehow, I feel like that couldn't be the case. Because I threw massive temper tantrums as a kid. And as a tween/teen I bottled everything up and withdrew until I just completely exploded. My daughter is an incredibly dynamic, intelligent, well-spoken, hilarious 21-month-old who inherited my temper tantrums. How... was... I... not... raised... by... gypsies??? This morning she held a football in her hand while wearing a Tom Brady jersey. Her brother put on a football helmet and said "Throw me the football, you're Tom Brady and I'm Edelman!". She proceeded to have a full-scale meltdown because she wanted to be Tom Brady. What.... the...???? What... I... Mom: I know you read every one of my posts. You've said a number of times that this is just like how I was as a kid. I'm sorry. I am publicly apologizing. No one person has wanted to make me inhale a bag of chocolate chips while hiding in a dark closet like my daughter does when she has a "meltdown morning".

Temper tantrums don't happen while they're sleeping. Just as a heads up.

Look - I love my job. I looked at my husband when we got married and told him that my dream job would be to have two wonderful children and to be a stay-at-home mom. This is seriously the best gig ever and my kids have helped me to grow and expand and get closer to God and learn more about myself than probably any other people have in my entire life. But it ain't glamorous, and it ain't clean, and it ain't June Cleaver.

(Here's your mushy closer... are you ready?)

But for all the cracked fingertips and snot-stained t-shirts and temper tantrums in the world... I wouldn't ever trade it. There's not a moment that I don't look around at the beautiful mess that our life is and thank God for it.