Long before I became a parent, I remember standing on line at a grocery store watching in horror as some harried mom tore open a package of processed cheese cracker and thrust them at her screeching toddler in an attempt to get him to quiet down. She looked stressed and miserable. He looked smug and victorious, a fresh ring of orange cheese dust around his mouth. I remember thinking, Wow, that will never be me when I have kids. I will never raise a brat. I will never pacify my child with food and I will never, ever, ever do it with food that is processed.
Hear that sound? It’s the sound of the universe laughing.
Yeah, I had every intention of raising an all-natural, 100-percent organic kid who didn’t have meltdowns at grocery stores but then I forgot the part about children having wills of their own.
The first time my kid had a screaming fit at a grocery store, I tore into a package of radioactive orange Cheesums so fast I didn’t even realize I was abandoning all my progressive ideals and convictions (that came to me later as I wiped the pulverized cheese dust from her face). Parenting has been a series of similar comeuppances ever since the universe’s way of bitch slapping me for my ignorance and arrogance over thinking I would be any different, more disciplined or enlightened than any other parent out there.
Here are seven parenting fantasies I harbored before I actually became one. Consider it required reading for any similarly delusional childless person.
New parent delusion #1: Newborns sleep all day 1 of 7Don't laugh, but I actually thought I could keep writing from home with an infant at my feet. Ha! Ha! Ha! I don't know where I picked this one up (sitcoms? Movies? People who lie?) and I'm sure some infants do sleep all day—but mine slept in twenty minute spurts with the rest of the day a blur of feedings, crying, changings, soothings, crying and more feedings. The only paid work I completed during this period was prepare to be shocked -- absolutely none.
New parent delusion #2: I’ll feed my child only wholesome, all natural food 2 of 7This delusion worked for a long time until June woke up one day and realized that pureed squash, spinach cubes and gently steamed bok choy actually sucks. It was just as well. I was burnt out trying to hand crank and hand pulverize every morsel that went into her mouth.
New parent delusion #3: I’ll make all sorts of cool new mom friends 3 of 7I thought my social life would open up really blossom! -- once I had a child. This never happened. I still have the same great group of girlfriends I've always had only I see them LESS now than ever before because we all have kids and no one has time to hang out anymore. (Or maybe they're just avoiding me.)
New parent delusion #4: I will never pacify my child with food 4 of 7And then I realized it's not really possible to "pacify" a toddler with food — it's simply called "feeding her."
New parent delusion #5: Ill let husband and baby find their own way together without any nagging from me 5 of 7I had every intention of following through with this one until my husband decided to take her for a ride on mini bull dozer (without ear protection) and give her a protein bar for lunch. If I'm a nag, it's because I swear sometimes he's trying to kill her.
New parent delusion #6: I will compliment my daughter for her abilities, not her appearance 6 of 7I was determined not to a raise a daughter who seeks validation through her looks, but every time I open my mouth, out pours a stream of platitudes of the most superficial nature. "You are so cute! Ohmigod, your hair is so cute too. And the shoes! LOVE the shoes. Oh … yeah … and way to wrangle that chicken."
New parent delusion #7: I will never use TV as a babysitter 7 of 7If only Pat Sajak wasn't the Pied Piper of children.
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