Tomorrow will mark the day I’ve been somebody’s mother for fifteen years. You know what that makes me? Besides old? A parenting EXPERT. Which is just as valuable and real as being a social media guru. Just so you know.
Four children, fifteen years and countless eye rolls later and I like to think I’ve got the art of parenting down. And by down, I mean I have no actual clue as to what I’m doing but I can fake it like nobody’s business.
Parenting. It’s easier than teaching a dog to walk on its front legs.
In fifteen years of parenting, I’ve learned a lot. But there is one lesson I’ve learned again and again.
Having children is the reason you can’t have nice things.
Really. It’s true. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how many fancy things you buy, having a child around means your nice things won’t last.
Over the course of the years, carpets have been destroyed, couches have been ruined and dvd’s scratched.
I should have seen the blinking neon signs of trouble the first time I had to take the toilet completely off to fish out the building blocks my daughter so helpfully flushed clean. Our toilet never flushed properly after that.
Or when my husband bought us a new television and I couldn’t locate the remote one week later. It turns out my children were using it as a shovel in their sandbox.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the sounds of something breaking only to have my children tell me about how yet another dish has bit the dust. Dishes, they’re totally over rated anyways.
As are spoons. I don’t know what my children do with spoons but you would be hard pressed to find any in our cutlery drawer. It doesn’t matter how often I replace them they keep disappearing.
Then there were cell phones either drooled into a pool of uselessness or snapped in half like I’m raising Bam Bam himself. Two computers, a vcr with a sandwich shoved inside it, a dvd player, three speakers and countless broken cookie jars later and I’ve about given up on having anything functional, unbroken or pretty in my house.
I thought I’d seen it all when my kids drove our brand new lawn tractor into a tree this summer, completely destroying the front end. My husband was apoplectic and I remember placing my hand on his shoulder to calm him down and repeating, “At least no one was hurt. It’s only a lawn mower and a tree.”
I truly believed that after fifteen years of parenting and replacing, fixing or trashing broken household items I’d survived the worst. I was done losing my mind over the trivial things in life and I was going to spend the remainder of my years parenting the children under my roof in a state of relaxed Zen.
Until I couldn’t find my iPhone last week.
Turns out one of my lovely children swept it up alongside the junk mail on the counter and tossed the darn thing out. After ripping through a trash bag filled with dirty diapers, coffee grounds and eggshells I realized I would never truly find my Zen.
But life, and parenthood, it is a funny thing.
Every now and then, the tables will turn on you, and you’ll hear the soft crunch of something break and you’ll realize there is a lesson to be passed along as you are sweeping up the remnants.
You’ll have broken something of your child’s. And while sweeping up the carnage, you’ll lament about ‘accidents happen.’
When your son comes home from school and finds his broken glasses on the kitchen table which you accidentally stepped on earlier in the day you’ll find yourself using the same excuses you’ve heard from your children a hundred times before.
And when he will cheekily says “Aw jeez Mom. You’re the reason I can’t have nice things,” you’ll hold that moment close to your heart and try to remember it the next time one of your children destroys something.
Just remember it’s always your children’s fault there are no nice things to be found in your house.
It’s a lesson that will bear repeating. Over and over again whether you like it or not.
I suddenly feel the need to call my parents and apologize to them for all the things I broke over the course of my childhood.
Ah, screw it. It’s the cost of parenthood.