Surviving extreme sleep deprivation, scavenging the leftovers of your kids because you haven’t eaten yet, and multi-tasking are pretty cliché and well known skills of parents. Let’s dig into the random amazing skills you acquire as a parent that are less well known. If you’re already a parent, then you know all of these, so be prepared to nod and possibly laugh along. If you aren’t a parent, now you can know what mad skills you have to look forward to mastering.
There are many things that make my 16 month old scream in terror. Although they seem benign, they trigger him to no end. Here’s a list of a few of those things (written from his perspective to the best of my ability).
It’s an understatement to say kids grow up way too fast. It seems like just yesterday I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I’ve had 2 more children since then. At times, I think I’m okay with them growing up. Other times, I wish I could go back in time to when they were little babies. When I came across my oldest son’s binky (aka pacifier), it was the latter. I wasn’t expecting to happen upon it. My mom had brought over some old school supplies that she no longer needed like construction paper, dry erase markers, and chalk. As I was going through them, sorting them to see what I could use in homeschooling, I came across a bright blue binky. It was one of my oldest son’s. It had been one of his favorites. I held it in the palm of my hand, suddenly overcome by emotion. Memories flooded my mind of how a friend’s son, who is only 10 days younger than my oldest son, had that binky too. Memories of pushing him in the bulky blue double jogging stroller with his sister, when we lived in apartments. We would frequent the parks, where he insisted upon keeping the binky securely positioned in his mouth. There are many photos of him going down the slide or climbing up the play equipment stairs with the binky still in his mouth. Memories of him smiling, with the binky in his mouth. Memories of gently bouncing or rocking him to sleep with his binky quivering ever so slightly as he sucked on it with quiet determination in his tired state. Memories of when he was 2 ½ years old and he no longer used the binky. He had started to just chew his beloved binkies up. It was time for him to be done and we were ready for him to be done. Looking back though, makes me want to cry. How quickly they grow up. How quickly binkies become a mere memory, when there was a time my child thought he couldn’t live without them. A mere short segment in my son’s past. A memory he doesn’t even have for he was too young, although it was so important to him at that time. We had back up binkies, binkies we left at the grandparents house, binkies in our pockets, binkies in the diaper bag, binkies everywhere! Now, there were none. At least, none of those kind (my 3rd born, who’s still a baby, is a binky addict, so we still have binkies). I wish I had cherished that time more. Yes, it was exhausting, and yes, I’m glad he is able to be much more independent than he was (like being potty trained). I don’t REALLY want him to be a baby again. I do wish though, despite my utterly exhausted and barely functioning state that I had done better to remember that ‘this too shall pass’ and to really be in the moment and not want things to rush by. When I was younger, when I had my older 2, I was so eager for them to grow up. So eager for the days of no more diapers, binkies, and breastfeeding. So eager to sleep through the night and not have to bounce or rock them to sleep. I would tell my younger self to enjoy it more, but you can’t go back in time. So, with tears in my eyes, I set the binky aside. The binky that was no longer needed. The binky from a time too quickly gone.
Any thoughts to add to this? What’s an item of your kid’s that makes you sentimental? Let me know in the comments below.
When I first became a mom, I quickly discovered, despite having 3 younger siblings, ample babysitting experience, and lots of volunteer work with kids that NOTHING can adequately prepare you for parenting until you actually wear that hat. So, for those that aren’t parents yet, here’s a handy list to help prepare you for the sheer AWESOMENESS of parenting. If you ARE a parent already, then I think you will find this list quite relatable (so keep reading!). So here’s the list, in no particular order.
1. YOU HAVE A BUILT IN FAN CLUB (at least, until they become teenagers).
If you ever wondered what this would be like, you quickly find out upon embarking on the journey of parenthood to wee little humans. For those that AREN’T parents yet, I’ll try to give you an idea of what it’s like. For instance, imagine you’re in the bathroom sitting on the toilet doing your business. I’m guessing you imagined yourself alone, right? Maybe even reading a book or a magazine, or at the very least perhaps mindlessly scrolling through social media on your phone? When you have kids AKA the built in fan club, you no longer have to suffer from such loneliness and quietness. They are RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. THE WHOLE TIME. It doesn’t matter how hideous the smell or how horrendous looking what you produce in the toilet looks. They’ll be there, cheering you on (or yelling for you to hold them while you try to wipe your butt). They will likely even want to examine what is in the toilet. Yes, they are an AMAZING fan club. If, for some reason you forget to leave the door open, they will be outside the door screaming your name. Their hands will reach under the door in utter desperation. They can’t bear to be away from you for more than a moment. It’s devastating.
2. CAFFEINE IS YOUR NEW BFF.
Most people enjoy a daily coffee fix (or SOMETHING that is caffeinated) in the morning to aid in making it through the day. If you enjoy caffeine, parenting is the gig for you. Although caffeine consumption is normally discouraged, this recommendation gets thrown out the window once you become a parent. In fact, many parents have come to survive solely off of caffeine, with coffee being the popular choice to acquire the necessary caffeine. It is something most parents joke about, whilst warming up said coffee for the 100th time and then finally giving up and chugging it cold like there life depended on it (in many cases it does!). If you are not a coffee person (like myself) there are plenty of other options. Black tea, green tea and other teas have caffeine. Of course, there are energy drinks too. The point is, if you like caffeine, then you will LOVE being a parent. Because insane caffeine consumption basically equals parenting.
3. YOU WILL BECOME A GREAT MEMORIZER.
Do you like watching and hearing things again and again? Are you the type of person that can listen to the same song 300 times in a row and STILL love it? Do you enjoy rewatching the same movie or show EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR MONTHS STRAIGHT? To give you an idea of what it’s like, one of my own brother’s, who I am 7 years older than, watched a VeggieTales sing-along VHS at least 7 times in one day (and that was AFTER watching it many days in a row). If you don’t believe me, ask my sister. We both kept track of the numbers of times the 30 minute program was viewed on that glorious day. Yep, kids are hard core like that. Finally, do you have short term memory loss causing you to be overjoyed when people repeat the same story/phrase/word multiple times? Then you’ll be excited to learn that kids can meet all your needs. Not only are they capable of never tiring of the same song or movie but they are happy to repeat themselves endlessly. You don’t even have to ask them to because they do it automatically. Don’t believe me? Hang out with toddlers. Especially once they learn the word “NO.” It’s all they can talk about (literally!).
4. HATERS OF CLEANING WELCOME.
Do you hate cleaning? Once you have kids, you’ll find there’s hardly any time to clean, so it works out great if you already hate to clean. Plus, the little minions THRIVE on making messes and dirtying the house, so don’t worry about trying to keep it clean for them. They LOVE messes. In fact, shortly after you clean something or pick up they will find a way to undo the results. Just cleaned the mirror? They will make sure to touch every part of said mirror with grimy little hands. Just mopped? They will dump their entire lunch on the floor and then help smear it around while you attempt to clean it up. Just picked up one room? They will empty the contents of another room entirely on the floor. Then they will go to the room you just cleaned and do THE SAME THING. Just vacuumed? They will go outside, fill their pockets, hands, underwear/diaper, hair, and other orifices with sand and dirt. They will then disseminate said dirt and sand throughout the house. If you’re expecting people to visit, they double their efforts in keeping the house messy and dirty. So, there’s no point in trying. Embrace the messiness and chaos. Cleaning sucks anyways.
5. YOU GET DAILY MAGIC SHOWS.
Who knew kids came out as freaking magicians? It’s true though. Any parent will tell you they are AMAZING at causing things to vanish into thin air. Be it their beloved milk cup or that piece of broccoli they didn’t want to eat, they can do it! Now granted, the magic wears off with time, and eventually you will find the corpse of a long forgotten vegetable, or milk that now smells like a rotten egg, but hey, they are young! Give them time. They are still refining their skills. Of course, this isn’t the only magic trick they can do. They can scream for extended periods of time, rivaling even the most amazing heavy metal singers. They are able to hear the crinkling of a chip bag or the ripping of a candy bar wrapper from miles away. It doesn’t matter where you hide to have the forbidden treat. THEY WILL FIND YOU. Ironically, they are also capable of what many parents refer to as ‘selective hearing.’ Usually this skill comes out when they did something wrong or you are calling their name. As you can see (and as you know if you’re a fellow parent), they have many magical skills, but it varies slightly with every child. So… don’t be disappointed if I forgot to mention one.
6. YOU HAVE BUILT IN DEMO EXPERTS.
Kids are born with this skill. Even when they are babies, they work hard on seeking and destroying all they can. They don’t even need so much as a hammer. They find a way, and work with exceedingly quick speed. My hubby and I have even joked that if someone ever needed their house demolished they should just send in a group of toddlers. NO JOKE. Of course, there’s the whole thing about child labor, but children consider demolition to be fun, so I really don’t think there should be an issue. It should be a thing. Heck, they enjoy demo so much they will even try to INGEST what they are trying to destroy. Every one of my kids, when they were under the age of 2, would sneakily grab paper/cardboard products and eat it when we weren’t looking, as if it were some rare delicacy. Toilet paper was their favorite. Apparently toilet paper is the cotton candy of paper/cardboard products.
7. YOU GET TO BE A ZOMBIE.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to feel like a zombie? Well, do you like staying up late? Can you exist on little to no sleep? Then try parenting! I promise you, experiencing how it must be like to be a zombie will now be within your grasp. You may be wondering, isn’t that what the caffeine is for? Doesn’t it prevent this? Unfortunately, there will come a time in every parent’s lives that they will reach the zombie state, despite caffeine. It doesn’t matter how much caffeine you consume to try to escape this. IT WILL HAPPEN. Mark my words. Especially when the child is at the baby stage. There are some rare souls that have babies that sleep a lot. THIS IS NOT THE NORM! Mine sure didn’t and I’ve talked to many parents who can attest to this as well. In fact, at one point, my 6 year old slept more than my 6 month old. TRUE STORY. And my 6 year old doesn’t sleep that much. It sure made for some exciting times of putting milk in the cupboard, trying to charge my phone in the fridge, and forgetting my own name. That being said, EVEN if your child IS a good sleeper (by some miracle of God), you will STILL be tired to the point of zombie likeness at some point, even if you aren’t QUITE as tired/zombie like as those with good sleepers. As cute as the little munchkins are, they are a lots of work which equals extreme exhaustion. So, you will find yourself responding to questions with a simple “uhuh,” even if it wasn’t a yes or no question. You will begin to question whether personal hygiene is really worth it. Hmmmm, sleep or hygiene, which will it be (SPOILER ALERT: sleep usually wins). You will find yourself at the grocery store, or the library, or the park, and not remember how you got there. You will lose your car keys, only to realize they are already in the car you are currently driving. If you are childless and have already experience some/all of these things, just know IT IS possible for it to be worse when you are a parent. The zombie effects become magnified once you have a child. Do not fear though, ‘this too shall pass’ (or so I am told).
8. YOU HAVE BUILT IN FOOD CRITICS.
Do you enjoy having food you worked hard to make and buy being thrown to the floor while a little human screams in a rage because they spotted a vegetable in it? Welcome to parenting! If you think you can cook, you will be tested to your limits when you become a parent. If other people thought you cooked tasty meals, you will find that your self confidence in your cooking abilities was a farce. Children may be small, but they are fierce and have a strong opinion about the food they put in their mouth. They don’t withhold criticism. From the gags to the silent looks of anger to the straight up “I hate this!” you will find that Gordon Ramsay from Hell’s Kitchen is ACTUALLY quite merciful and kind. You will find yourself cheering and high fiving your partner when they even PUT a vegetable in their mouth, as if they won a gold medal. Who cares if they spit it out. At least THEY TRIED IT. Ironically, they will happily eat dirt, rocks, dog poop, and other random things they find in the great outdoors. They are hard creatures to figure out.
9. YOU LOVE BEING IN LOUD PLACES.
Often times, children come out screaming. Yep, fresh out of the womb, they are screaming their head off. Exciting, right? Who needs to go to a rock concert or clubbing when they have kids? Not me! There is plenty of loudness with kids, so you will no longer have a desire to go to other loud venues. Yes, the loudness from kids is that fulfilling. Don’t worry, even once they start talking, around the age of 2, the fun doesn’t stop. Once they can talk, there is no stopping them. If you are at church, the library, or somewhere else where you should use a quiet whispering voice THEY WILL TALK EVEN LOUDER. If someone politely reminds them to keep it down, they increase in volume. It’s as if they consider it a challenge.
If you have more than one child, they will fight for your undivided attention, causing them to seemingly compete to see who can be the loudest. Also, if you have any toys that make noise (and trust me, you will. People LOVE to give kids the loudest and most obnoxious toys) your children will ensure that they are making noise NON-STOP. Even when efforts are made to silence them, they will find a way to turn them back on. Your children will weep and cry when the batteries for said toys suddenly go missing. Then, when the children are asleep for the night and the motion activated ones go off. Those motion activated ones are LEGIT the creepiest. Nothing will be around them, and they will randomly go off. It’s like they get lonely and want to ensure that a certain decibel level is maintained. Or MAYBE it’s ACTUALLY the toys and kids conspiring together to make certain that the loudness never ends. Either way, the point is, there is no such thing as peace and quiet anymore. ‘Loudness’ is the only volume you will come to know.
So, there you have it! The raw, unedited, AWESOMENESS of parenting. Doesn’t reading this TOTALLY make you want to have kids? Or make you want to have more if you already have kids? Truthfully, I am a crazy person that would like one or two more kids someday, but for now, three little savages, I mean DARLING CHILDREN is enough.
It feels a bit anti-climatic to say this, BUT is there a point I forgot to cover? Seriously though, I did forget and/or leave out stuff. Let me know in the comments what you thought I should have included. Was there a point that really felt relatable or got you laughing? Let me know in the comments below!