Being a parent is super easy if you aren't one. Wait, what? Well, before I had kids, I was great at giving advice about parenting. If I could go back in time, I would bitch-slap pre-parenting me and set the record straight. This is the hardest job on the face of the earth. I said a lot of things prior to being a mom. Here are 10 of the things I said I would never, ever do.
1. Give my kids junk food. I was going to make my own baby food. I was going to be 100% natural. I tried. I really did, but that policy was just too strict for my house. I have found myself in the check-out line at the grocery store with three screaming kids right next to the Snickers bars and Kit-Kats on a weekly basis, and 50% of the time, I give in. I'm not proud, just honest.
2. Give in to a crying baby. I am a firm believer in "crying it out," it is just much easier said than done. I would put my first child down in his crib and sit at the door and cry as he cried. I would wait until my husband left the hallway to run in and check on him. It did get easier to let the others cry it out, but that was mostly because I was just too damn busy doing other crap to go in and check on them.
3. Be the last one at pickup. I remember always be the last kid to get picked up from school or sports practice. It was so embarrassing. I always thought that my parents "forgot" me. I never really thought about the fact that they were super busy and they got me as soon as they could. I have actually been on my way home and gotten a call that both my husband and I "forgot" to pick up our son. Talk about turning red -- I was so embarrassed. We had miscommunicated and he was the last one to be picked up from daycare. Guess what? He survived, and so did I.
4. Let my kids sleep in my bed. I said over and over again that kids in the bed was a bad idea. I was not going to share my space with the kids. I would get up and walk them back into their beds. This is not the way reality works. At 2 A.M.. I was not about to drag my tired ass out of bed to put them back in their own bed. I have managed to survive nine years of children crawling into my bed, so I guess it worked out in the end.
5. Let my kids eat school lunch. I always hated school lunch. I ate it almost every day as a kid. When I was older, I packed my own lunch. I was going to be the mom who packed everyone's lunch every day and made sure to pack a napkin with a love note on it. Now, I am lucky if they are sent to school with lunch three days a week, and the love note may or may not be my wadded up snotty tissue from my bathrobe pocket.
6. Bribe my kids to listen to me. I felt that bribes were the lowest form of parenting. Well, I must currently dwell in Hell, because I bribe on a daily basis. "Did you clean your room? No dessert if you don't clean your room, and it's ice cream tonight." I am too tired to read the proper parenting book to get the job done, so I will bribe my ass off to gain ground each day.
7. Yell and scream like a lunatic. I grew up in a household of screamers. Everyone yelled at everyone for everything. I am not a fan of yelling. I do, however, lose my "mommy shit" at least once a day. It is bound to happen with three kids, and I try to keep it at a level that will not cause the cops to darken my doorway.
8. Sweat the small stuff. I was going to be a proactive parent who cared about the big picture. I wanted to always focus on what really mattered. It's amazing how fast the walls close in when you are in the trenches of parenting. I know this sounds dramatic, but the daily grind can wear you down, and the small stuff becomes a mountain before you know it. For example, keeping the house clean. It seems like a small task, but it is daunting. I finished cleaning my house one day only to find myself face-to-face with a turd on the couch. After spending two hours cleaning, it was a bit devastating to find a fresh turd on the couch. Shit really does happen.
9. Give in to their demands. I have been known to have a bit of a rough exterior. I believe that you work for your things and it is not beneficial to have them given to you. I want to make sure my kids know the value of hard work. At the same time, I can't seem to walk out of a store without buying something for each kid almost every time we go out, and it is so hard to say "no" to three repeating parrots who continue to squawk until you whisper-scream, "Fine, put it in the cart and be quiet."
10. Drive a Minivan. I was going to be the cool mom who held tightly to class and sophistication. Bwahahaahhaha. That lasted about 10 minutes. To be honest, I love my minivan. It is super awesome and it doubles as a super sweet party van on the weekends. Seven of my closest friends and I can bar hop all night in that sexy ride, or at least until 10:30 p.m..
So, in the end, I do a ton of stuff I admittedly said I would never do. I do it to survive. I do it to remain sane. I do it because life happens. Don't beat yourself up for the choices you make to keep your family moving. Remain calm and parent on, my friends.
Meredith is a work-from-home mother of three who writes about the inappropriate side of marriage and motherhood on her blog at thatsinappropriate.net. She is also a contributor on the parenting team at today.com. Follow her on Medium, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.