There comes a point in every parent’s life when you think, “I have become my mother.” It happens when you are doing something that either as a child you hated or as a carefree, newly-married couple you judged with disdain. And then you realize that a lot of parenthood is revisiting those “I swore I would never” moments. Well, here are mine that I totally have done … repeatedly.
1. Licking my finger, then cleaning my child’s face
Look, I am proud enough of myself for getting everyone dressed and out the door in the morning. But I don’t always have time to observe the dried egg on the side of her mouth until we hit the subway. I applaud those moms who carry wipes on them at all times, but past toddlerhood, it isn’t me.
2. Pulling the car over and refusing to move until they stop arguing
I don’t know whether kids realize how powerless you are in the front seat of the car. You can’t separate them. You can’t really give them the evil eye. Pulling over and telling them you won’t move until they’re ready to go is pretty much your only option.
3. Buying a station wagon
Having grown up in the way, way back of my parents’ Ford Country Squire, a boat of a car I knew even then was uncool, I swore I’d never do it. What’s even sadder is me thinking our wagon is cool for not being one of the ubiquitous SUVs.
4. Becoming a soccer mom
Literally the first time your child dons a uniform and successfully kicks a ball on the field, you will start caring way too much about the game. You will feel a ridiculous amount of pride when they do well, a desire to hurt an opposing team member who does your child wrong, and outrage toward a referee’s call. You’ll text your spouse descriptions of the game that have more detail and frequency than any other communication over the week. And it’s worse if they’re any good.
5. Lying to my children
I don’t lie about the big stuff. But sometimes in key parenting moments, you gotta do what you gotta do. For example, I’ve lied to my kids that a bug is dead. They have an insane fear of all these little critters. Sometimes those suckers are fast and you can’t find them anymore. If they want to live, they will stay hidden. I’ve also lied about the time, claiming it was “the middle of the night” when the kids wanted to get up at the fairly reasonable, but still too early, time of 6:45 AM on a Sunday. Some parents lie about daylight savings to get in an extra hour of alone time, which only makes me jealous that I didn’t think of this when they were younger.
6. Secretly hoping my daughter would use makeup
Teaching a tween about hygiene while not damaging their fragile self-esteem is an impossible balancing act. I remember my parents, having suffered with bad skin themselves, wanting to take me to the makeup counter and feeling horrified. And yet when I see my angel’s perfect baby skin blossoming into puberty, I struggle to tamp this urge in myself. So far, she hasn’t asked about it, and I haven’t raised it with her.
7. Keeping tissues up my sleeve
This wasn’t even something my mother did, it was my grandmother’s habit. But I don’t really think I can be blamed for this one. Children always need them, and women’s clothes often don’t have pockets. (And, as we know from #1, I don’t carry wipes.)
8. Having a birthday party at Dave & Buster’s
I hate this place, and I swore I’d never be the parent who hosted a party here, but I must really love my son to do it!
9. Hating frozen yogurt shops
The do-it-yourself nature and overwhelming selection of candy mix-ins would have made me feel, well, like a kid in a candy store when I was growing up. But as a parent, I cannot ignore the terrible smell, the germs, and the artificial taste. It even irks my ice cream-loving self how much the kids love it.
10. Telling my kids how hard I had it when I was young
This is the doozy we all can’t resist. My parents used to roll these gems out when we complained about the walk to school or how someone else had an Atari. It’s an irresistible pull when your kids are whining or telling you how hard their life is.More On