I was reading some really amusing anecdotes online recently about parenting. For example, one mom said something like, “I thought if I just provided a beautiful environment, my child wouldn’t have any tantrums.”
This reminds me of things I said before I was parent. Once, while watching a mom breastfeed her newborn (frequently; the baby was a “snacker” and wanted to nurse every 20 or 30 minutes), I said to my husband privately, “She should not let her baby do that. She should make her finish her meal and wait at least 2 hours!”
Okay, stop laughing. I didn’t have kids yet.
However, I think we all have thoughts like this before we’re parents. We look at kids in public or friends’ kids or whatever, and we privately think, “If I were the parent, my kids would not…” and so on. If you’re a first-time parent…sorry to burst your bubble.
Being a parent can really change your perspective….
I think many of us know that we were once the world’s greatest parenting expert…before we were parents. It seems so easy on the outside. I promised myself I wouldn’t lose my temper, I wouldn’t yell at my kids, I would never say “because I said so,” I would always listen to my children talk no matter how long or what they wanted to talk about, I would always be fair and patient and happy….
Oh gee. In a perfect world.
One of my friends said to me, “I promised myself I would have perfect children, I would discipline them until they did everything I said.” Naturally that’s not how it turned out!
It’s good to have dreams. It’s good to strive to be a great mom by achieving all of these things that you want to be. I still wish I never got impatient, or unhappy, and that I always listened and never grew weary of having the same conversation 4,000 times everyday. But I know that realistically I will not be this way all the time, no matter how hard I try.
Being a parent sure does change your perspective!
As for the mom who breastfed her baby every 20 minutes…oh, I got mine. (I was newly pregnant then.) My first baby was a snacker too, and we nursed at least every hour for the first four months of her life! I quickly grew to know it was much smarter to meet my baby’s needs than to expect a newborn to be on any special schedule.
It changes the way you view other parents too. Instead of looking at a screaming child in public and thinking, “If that were my child…” you think, “Poor child, must be hungry/tired/frustrated…and poor parent, it’s no fun to deal with that.” We’ve all been there. Instead of sneering, you offer a sympathetic smile. And suddenly you don’t have all the answers anymore, and that’s okay.
What’s the funniest thing you thought before you had kids? How did this change after your child(ren) was/were born?
Top image by limaoscarjuliet