Let’s be honest here folks. Parenting. Is. Brutal. I mean seriously. Some days I just want to melt into a puddle by the end of the day. Starting from the moment we found out we were pregnant with our oldest I’ve been reading parenting books, blogs, websites, email newsletters you name it. Are you the same way? There is so much information available to new parents in today’s world that it can be overwhelming. How do you know what will work for your family and what won’t? You know what I’ve found, you just don’t know until you try it. And trust me, we have tried A LOT of these “helpful tips and tricks”. So let me break down a few tips for you to maybe help your family out of future embarrassment, frustration and tears (I’m mostly talking about your own tears here).
- “Bathroom break before bath.” — someone may still poop in the water. Good luck fishing.
- “Pack spare clothes.” — you’ll forget to update the diaper bag and your two year old will wear a 12 month onesie and leg warmers.
- “Bathroom break before errands.” — nice try. You’ll have to pull over at the gas station for the 2 drops of tinkle they were holding
- “Bathroom break while shopping.” — they don’t have to go when you do and will refuse to try. You’ll get them buckled back in their carseat and have to retreat back into Target.
Child Behavior Maintenance
- “Use a quiet voice to calm down an ecstatic child.” — just, don’t. Child may scream back, “Stop whispering! Stop talking quiet I can’t hear you when you talk like that!”
- “Walk away when you’re feeling frustrated.” — yes, this is a good safe tip in parenting. But, walking away only increases child’s screams and stomping. Just be prepared.
- “Give them a taste of their own medicine.” — not sure if I actually read this in a parenting book. But, we have found that they don’t like to be mocked when crying or whining, though it is funny for the adult.
- “Show respect to each other’s things.” — they will dig and touch your stuff all they want. But, do NOT eat their candy. They do not think it’s funny. Also, be careful what trash you throw their “art” into. As I said, they’re foragers and they may find it.
Health and Beauty (for yourself)
- “Privacy in the bathroom.” — you don’t have this anymore.
- “Hair color upkeep.” — you’ll tell your 20 year old stylist that you have two toddlers at home and expect her to understand why you have 6 inch regrowth. She won’t understand.
- “Manicures.” — buttoning and snapping tiny fasteners will be brutal on your fancy nails
- “Grooming.” — you may find yourself locked in the bathroom with a glass of wine just to pluck your eyebrows.
- “Body image to children.” — they will ask a lot of questions, many judgmental, on why your body looks the way it does. There may even be laughing and pointing. Just try not to scream, “You did this to me!” Remain confident and positive.
- “Cook a balanced healthy meal.” — last week they loved carrots. This week carrots could put them screaming under the table. Don’t bother trying to understand. They don’t even understand their logic.
- “Lead by example and eat all the food offered.” — eventually they will catch on when you tell them you already ate all your peas while you were dishing everyone up. Have multiple backup plans to get out of eating those nasty things (or whatever your makes-me-shutter-thinking-about-it food is).
- “Eat your meals at a consistent time each day.” — they aren’t hungry when you want them to be. I like to offer to just wrap it up for their next meal then.
- “Teach child manners when out to dinner.” — the most well behaved child can be sent screaming under the table among forgotten spaghetti noodles if they don’t get to sit in the right spot. Smile kindly at the approaching waitress and ask for a wine list. Said child will eventually calm down, and your merlot will be in your hand at any moment to help you out.
- “Walk with respect to others when in public.” — you may find yourself swinging the child, skipping across crosswalks or having your bottom flashed by a child playing with your dress. Just go with it.
- “Don’t point and stare.” — children are curious creatures who need an answer to everything they see, and want you and everyone else within ear shot to know their opinion too.
Now guys, I am by no means an expert (although I do try to assure Ariana that Mommy knows everything), but hopefully with my tips you can be more prepared for public embarrassment and parenting frustration. And if I’ve been of no help at all, just remember that another splash of wine ALWAYS helps.