Remember all those “Great Ideas” you had about Parenting BEFORE you became a parent…
Your “Big Plans” for the future, of you, and your kids? The way it was going to be, or maybe all the advice you would get from people with no kids…
(That one is still my Favorite! “Those are wonderful ideas you have there Susan, Parenting is going to be a big shock for you I see..”)
Yeah, I had them all too… Big Plans. Big Dreams.
But, boy is the reality of parenting different from what we plan for it to be, no matter how grand our plans are. How well they sound….
One of the biggest expectations I had was ‘What fun the toddler stage was going to be.’ HaHaHa…. Cute, right? Toddlers are what nightmares are made of. Don’t get me wrong, toddlers can be loads of fun a lot of the time; for example, my favorite thing is the pure joy and excitement that a toddler has on Christmas, a Birthday, or when you buy them that toy they saw at the store… But, the real fun…that’s at home… daily. See, in my home we like to play a game: “How long before Mom loses her mind?” And there are many different rules to the game. For instance…
1. How many times can we make mom say “Stop!”
2. How many times will she come behind us, and clean the same exact spot?
3. How many episodes of Paw Patrol can we watch in one day before she breaks the T.V?
It’s loads of fun to play, I’m sure!
The expectation of where the “Toddler Fun” would be is a bit different than Reality.
The expectation I had on how I would feed my children/what they would eat, has also been vastly different from reality. What I envisioned I know is what dreams are made of. “My big, happy family sitting around the table eating a healthy meal I cooked myself, talking about our day, and laughing at jokes.” However, the reality more often than not is that, the only thing “healthy” at the dinner table is the can of prepackaged green beans or corn I popped open and “cooked.” That I am now threatening my child to eat, because in the last 45 minutes his taste buds have changed and he HATES green beans now, and I should have known that. One kid is throwing all her food on the floor. (Because playing with your food is so much more fun than actually eating it! ) While the Sour Patch kid will not even sit still in his chair, as if it were made of Lava and he will just die if he has to sit down, and stay there…. (these reasons are why we order in often, to go a restaurant with this circus requires lots of pre-gaming and pep talking…. to myself.) But, I haven’t yet given up all hope… I’m thinking by the time they’re 18, we should be at a good point with dinner. For now, I like to think of dinner as a last mental check to the day.. Like, when you can see the finish line, and that last little bit is the hardest to get through. Same thing.
Until bedtime… My expectation of what it would be like to put a small person to bed is almost funny looking back. I never envisioned I would have to tell someone 45 times in 15 minutes to “get in bed!” But, why? Why, won’t they just stay in bed? Please?
The best lie I told myself before I had kids was that ” I would never have toys in my living room.” I was never going to be that mom. “Toys go in the bedrooms, and playrooms, but never all over my house!” HaHaHaHa… Again, cute huh?
To be honest, when it was only one kid… the good one… It wasn’t that hard. I thought I had this thing down. I could still have nice things, toys where not everywhere, I was doing good…. But, with multiple children. Ha! I don’t even remember what my living room used to look like anymore. There are basically zero toys in their rooms. (Even though there are toy bins in there) We have “Toy Baskets” in the living room, and hall way. And on any given day you walk in my home it looks like the toy section of Target has blown up in my living room. They all have their own rooms… And yet all they do in any of them is sleep 99% of the time. My living room has been completely taken over by this tiny army of people I created myself. The TV (Yes, the horror, they watch TV too) has only been on two channels for months… Disney Jr. and Nick Jr. And most the time, they’re not even looking at it, but god forbid you change the back ground sound of Mickey Mouse. (I wonder if Direct TV has a deal if you only want those two channels?)
Another expectation I had, that was a complete lie, was how much fun outings would be. The places we would go, the trips, the fun, all the memories. Now, I still do these things as often as we can, because creating memories for my children still outweighs my mental stability (let’s be honest, it’s long gone anyway.) But boy was I off on the expectations I had for these things… The reality of it is that there are twenty bathroom stops, two minimum outfit changes, chasing, and running. They’re exhausting and stressful and usually by the time we get home I am filling that wine glass to the rim.
The reality is completely different with just about every aspect of parenting… in both good ways and bad. One thing I couldn’t fully expect is the reality of the overpowering love you can have for these tiny people whom you created; how someone so small, so aggravating at times, that makes you so upset, can bring you more joy and love than you ever thought possible. Over all the expectations we set for ourselves, by ourselves, and by others too, is just not the whole reality… and that’s okay!
The reality is, that it’s never going to go as planned, but you have to roll with it, grab some wine, and enjoy the ride.
With Love, and Coffee. Becca Ann.