Last summer David Beckham gave an awesome response to public criticism for allowing 4-year-old daughter Harper to use a pacifier. In his Instagram post he said, “Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts??” Here, here, I couldn’t agree more.
If you’re like me, you know what it’s like to be both the judger and the judged. If you’re a parent you also know what it’s like to think you “know” everything, and then find out the hard way…you don’t.
1. You used to think, ‘My children will not act like THAT in public.’ Then one day you’re in Target and your precious 2-year-old is screaming like she’s being mauled by a Velociraptor. Other customers are clearly looking for blood and have 9-1-1 on speed dial. But you know, this entire horrific event is because she wants to stand, not sit, in the upper part of the cart (while) you push it because shopping should be more like the X-Games. Meanwhile, your 4-year-old seems to not walk like a normal human, but rather teleport to different isles. You are still chiding yourself on why you haven’t purchased her an entire wardrobe of neon. You find yourself in what’s known as the “parental walk of shame”…all in the name of tampons and bobby pins.
2. You used to think because they will be smaller than you, they will be easy to control. You were wrong.
3. You used to think, why does that mom not seem to remember anything? And then you walk out of TJ Maxx with unpurchased sunglasses on your head, with the giant censor tag hanging over your bangs. You set off the alarm twice and are finally ushered out the door because apparently your sweet-mom-face distracts from petty theft. It is then that you realize what that “nagging thing” in the back of your mind was. You blame the pregnant brain even though, clearly, you are no longer pregnant.
4. You used to think you would guide your children with a soft voice of parental wisdom. Then you discover that these people are not reasonable. These are the most unreasonable humans you have ever met.
5. You used to think that you would feed them all organic and never sugar ever, and then they eat their own poop.
6. You used to think that “it is possible” to raise a child in a way that they wouldn’t need counseling. Now “counseling” is a neon sign that pops up in your subconscience every time you make a mistake. Damn counseling.
7. As you watched those god-awful tantrums you’d think, ‘What that child needs is to not be spoiled.’ Now you find yourself in that exact situation and you would really like to climb on top of the organic canned corn and shout, “This screaming child you see before you? THIS IS my child not being spoiled. So when you step in to parenthood you better put your grown up pants on, because parenting isn’t for wussys.” Mic drop.
8. You used to think, why is that child so dirty? Why do they have fuzz and a sucker stick permanently attached to their face? Do these children get bathed? Now you know, sometimes you have to take a brief pause from the never ending project called “Wiping.” You have a few things to do.
9. You used to think you understood cleaning as a single person, and how it is so difficult to keep up. Now you would like to take a tall margarita and go lounge in that life.
But the grand finale, number one thing you have learned is this:
10. You used to think, “Birth control,” “Better you than me,” “This is why I don’t have kids.” But you had NO IDEA how much your feelers feel because of these precious beings. How much JOY they would add to your life. How your heart would swell so much you’d feel like it was going to burst. And how you would never ever in a million years trade them for anything. And how, yes, it’s so uncontrolled and messy and hard, but nobody, not anybody, could have prepared you for how WORTH IT it would be, and how much better of a human you would become because of it.
What number do you relate to the most? Or, have your own? Do tell!
About the Author: Jessica Johnston, her husband and her four kids (Malachi 8, Scout 6, Oaklee 4, Haven 2) live in the heart of Montana. She’s passionate about community, adventure, family and KEEPIN’ IT REAL in the process. Her writing has appeared on Mother.ly and Scary Mommy. She loves sharing laughs with you at wonderoak.com. You can follow her there, or “like” her page on Facebook’s WONDEROAK Blog.