Friday, July 6, 2012

How to Stay Positive

It's easier to focus on the crazy things about parenting, especially here, since it's funny to read about someone's kid pooping on the floor, but sappy to read about the way the same kid says, "Hee-yo" for "Helicopter", no matter how adorable the parent thinks it is. (But it IS adorable.) This post is dedicated to Brett, who is as sick of hearing bad advice as I was when I was pregnant with Nate.

Parenting comes with lots of great moments that get memorialized in Hallmark commercials and lots of not-so-glamorous moments that get memorialized on my blog. This post is me leveling with the world and admitting that my kid is not worse than yours (except for the fact that he eats cockroaches and poops on my floor) and that I do enjoy being his mom (except for when he's squirting drool at cashiers).

I hated it when people told my first-time-pregnant self to, "Appreciate it now, you'll wish the kid was back inside in a couple weeks!" I mean... I get it now - why they said that. And it makes me laugh a little now. But it's not even remotely helpful. And it's true, what the nice ones say, that no matter how awful your kids may act, they're totally worth it. It's the most rewarding job I've ever had. It's just really hard to explain sometimes, WHY.

My son is in his crib right now saying, "Mommy" 54 times a minute instead of taking his nap. It's obnoxious, but endearing. And that doesn't make sense to people who don't have kids.

So this is a how-to. The bad times will come, my friends. There will be times when it occurs to you why people shake their babies. It is, of course, a terrible idea, but you know, these things occur to you at 3 am when you're boobs are leaking the milk that your sweet baby is screaming for but just. won't. EAT. And the good times are SO good that they make leaky boobs seem like a minor misunderstanding. Nothing is sweeter than a spontaneous toddler hug. I'd leak oceans for those hugs.

How to Deal With the Times that Make Parents Cynical and Obnoxious without Becoming Cynical and Obnoxious, Yourself:
1) Whiskey. It's not just for baby gums anymore.

2) Walking away. You don't have to hold the child that shall.not.stop.screaming. You can put his butt in his crib and walk away and punch the pillow. NOT your sleeping husband. Only the pillow. This is an important distinction.

3) Looking at your husband, wide-eyed, and shaking your head slowly. He gets it. He'll do the same. And in that moment it's you and him against the baby. Which, as awful as it may sound, is healthy. Jon and I rarely have experienced the alienation parents talk about from having kids, because we continually affirm that it's never one of us and the baby. It's always the two of us against the kid. Kids can't tantrum against a force like that... for more than an hour or so.

4) Keeping in mind that the baby will eventually fall asleep. I promise that babies can cry WAY longer than you think is possible, but they DO fall asleep and when they do, you should stuff a brownie in your face and follow suit. Don't forget the brownie.

5) This one is hard for me, but don't use the good, sweet times to get stuff done. Just because he's happy playing with his toys doesn't mean you should busy yourself. Stare at his fat little fingers. Admire the 23 folds on her right leg. Ignore the fact that he just swallowed a guitar pick and focus instead on the perfection of his nose. I could spend hours admiring the perfection of a baby nose.

6) When all else fails, and the person you and your husband created falls asleep and you have no reserves of energy or patience or happiness left, drink some water, wash your face, thank God for your child and find your husband to suggest whiskey tonics. Dads are always down for whiskey.

My child is now reading a book out loud in his crib, with the light on, instead of napping. That's not even obnoxious. It's really really cute. I love being his mom.


Abby said...

So true! love you

Neil McD. said...

I can't wait to see how many new blog followers you snare, from people Googling 'leaky boobs'.