Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is Parenting For You?

I've been seeing a lot of other posts and videos and articles back and forth between couples with kids and couples with out kids. "Untethered" couples correcting parents or parents telling ther other side about how easy their lives are. A good bit of it is amusing but sometimes, it all strikes a nerve. Sure life before kids was cool. Come and go as you please. Spend your money on yourselves. Stay up all night hanging out with friends. Getting to eat your whole meal. Knowing your bills are still on the counter where you placed them. Knowing you can set the bottle of toilet cleaner on the floor for a moment without worrying that someone will try to drink it. Easy doesn't even begin to describe it. Peaceful. Carefree. Simple. Organized. Fun. So many words come to mind. But having children... Let's just say that in spite of the stretch marks, the hair loss, the sleepless nights and never ending game of "where is (insert ANY item here)", the grass IS greener on this side of the fence. I wouldn't trade one second with my awesome, beautiful babies for anything I had before kids. Nothing. 

That being said...

My little sister is getting married in May. She's going to be an amazing mother. She's a wonderful Aunt to my children and she's ALWAYS been great with kids. She's fun and creative and sentimental. She'll be an awesome Mom. I can't imagine that she would date a guy that didn't like kids or didn't want them. So I'm going to assume that "Mr. Geoff" (what my kids are to call him until he becomes Uncle Geoff) will be a good dad. I feel the need to prepare them for a few things. Warn them, or at least suggest a few things that they may want to master before actually having their own kids. As my husband likes to say, "Drop the kids off with your sister for a week. That'll be all the birth control they need!" I had to limit myself to 10 tips or else I could have written a whole book for them. Maybe I will. Haha, I think I have the wedding gift figured out! 

Jess and Geoff, seriously consider the following before you start trying for kids of your own (in no particular order):

1) Learn to eat without chewing. I don't mean inhale because that's breathing. And you're not supposed to breath your food. I mean, get it from your plate to your stomach as quick as you can. Since we've gotten to go out to eat alone recently, we're floored at how quickly we can make it through a meal AND that we're stuffed afterwards. There's no kids spilling drinks or stabbing each other with silverware or fighting over crayons or falling out of their seats or begging to go to the bathroom or deciding that they hate what you've given them but instead want what's on your plate...even though it's the same exact thing. Trust me. Learn to eat expediently or you will forever be hungry (which turns into, as a friend comically termed it recently, "hangry"...hungry+angry...). 

2) Get over any/all aversions to body fluids you may have. I can not tell you how many times I've had a kid puke down my shirt. Or how many times I've fished poo out of the bath tub (shudder). Or how many times I've sat in church and looked down at my dress and saw streaks of snot that I failed to notice before leaving the house. Or how many times I've scrubbed "loose stool" out of the carpet or off the walls or been peed on. It happens. Over and over with every child. If you can not handle the site of projective vomiting or the smell of a sick child who slept in an explosive diaper all night or the feel of warm fresh poop on your hand, you may want to reconsider children as there is no way to avoid any of this. 

3) Get used to not spending money on yourselves. You may leave the house on a shopping trip with a budget in mind and a written list in your hand. But you will rarely stick to that list once kids arrive. I know you, Jess. You may be an awesome deal finder, but you love to spoil. You may leave the house to buy yourself some new underwear but pass by the store with the adorable sparkly pink baby boots in the window and know that your baby girl will not only be absolutely adorable in them but will give you that awesome excited smile when you put them on her. After you put them on her, you'll head to your sewing machine to patch up the undies you should have replaced. 

4) Start cooking more meals at home. Going out is easy when your first kid is a baby. Babies sleep. In fact, I encourage you to enjoy going out with your infant. It's really no big deal unless you have a unique situation. But when they get older... You end up ticking off others trying to eat because your kids are crying like they lost their big toe just because they didn't get a red crayon with their kids menu. Or they all the sudden hate hotdogs. Or they refuse to eat anything because it isn't pizza. You both love to cook, so I encourage you to make it frequent and fun. 

5) Get used to public embarrassment. Seriously. Try randomly REALLY embarrassing each other so you can get used to people staring and whispering. You think I'm joking but I'm not. It isn't easy to leave your house when you know there's a chance you may be publicly displayed so start now. Build that calluse. Because your kids will do it to you inevitably and in creative ways. Like hiding at the top of the indoor playground at McDonald and not coming down for hours. Or getting their arms sucked into the elevator. Or screaming "Stranger Danger" in public restrooms for no reason. Or running in a carpeted area, tripping, landing face first, getting rug burn up the side of their face and SCREAMING about it. Or yelling "LOOK AT MY BOOGER" in a restaurant. They'll get creative. So I dare the two of you to periodically mortify each other in a public place. 

6) Short and sweet: Jess, get a house where you don't have to share a bathroom with ANY boys. Especially young ones. They're gross. You'll thank me. 

7) Start buying kids' socks now. You'll almost never be able to find both socks in a pair after their first use. If you want your kids' socks to match, starting stocking up now.

8) Practice driving those shopping carts with the little cars attached to the front. They're so difficult to maneuver through/around tight grocery store isles, especially if one of the cart's tires are messed up. And even more so if the kids inside the car are fighting. For real. If they're pushing each other and throwing around their bodies, it'll shake things up. I recommend one of you sitting in the car while the other pushes the cart. 

9) Get used to writing EVERYTHING down. Chances are, the more kids you have, the more you'll start loosing your mind. And with that comes an inability to remember what you were doing two seconds ago even though you know it was super important. I'm being serious. It's a good idea to keep a pen and paper handy in most, if not all, rooms. You'll never think of things at a convenient time or place so it's better to be prepared. 

10) Play a broken record/cd. Let it continue to "skip" for as long as you can mentally handle it. Then, try to do it again in about an hour, lasting a little bit longer each time. This will help prepare you for hearing the same annoying noises or questions from your kids over and over. They will whine. They will yell. They will scream. They will fight. They will want to watch the same annoying movie on repeat for a week. They WILL sing "The Wheels On The Bus" like it's their life mission. They will stand next to you while you're cooking and say, "MOMMY!" until you drop everything and look at them. They WILL think its funny to press the button on the singing Dora over and over. Playing the broken cd will help condition you. Each time, make it longer and louder. 

I can't wait to spoil your children. But my biggest BIGGEST piece of advice for you before having kids of your own is to enjoying being JUST married for a little while. I don't regret anything about our kids but your relationship will change once the kids come. So bond together as much as you can before you have babies. After that, feel free to ask me anything. I'd like to consider myself an expert at this point ;) 

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