I’m out to dinner with my husband when the screeching starts. I roll my eyes, looking at the child standing backwards in the booth in front of me. She starts to bounce up and down on the pleather seat, as she continues to screech and laugh. Her mother tries to get her to turn around and sit down, to no avail. This only seems to make the child laugh harder, causing quite the scene.
“That will NEVER be MY child,” I say a little too loudly to my husband. “My kids will mind me, and they will do what they are told. They will NEVER act up in public! Those parents should learn to control their kid!!” Yeah, then I had kids. Suddenly my opinion of ‘bad parents’ doesn’t really fit anymore…
How My Opinion Of ‘Bad Parents’ Changed After I Had Kids
Isn’t it cute how, before I had children, I had all kinds of opinions on raising the little demons … er … angels. I thought it would be so simple, a breeze really. In my all-knowing, brilliant mind, every parent who had problems with their children simply didn’t know what they were doing. Bad parents, that’s all they were! I had advice to offer for days, and I took myself so seriously. I was an EXPERT! After all, I read books and watched movies. I babysat when I was fourteen, for like an hour at a time (Okay, let’s get real, I talked to my friends on the phone while the children ran around like banshees). Still, I knew my stuff, man!
Years later, and two kids in tow, I’ll be the first to admit: There are a few misconceptions about raising children that seem to get overlooked or selectively not heard. I’ll be honest, I bought into these theories. I believed the hype that I was told, and passed it on as the gospel truth. However, this is the case NO MORE. Kids are hard!
For those not in the know, you may want to tuck this little bit of wisdom in your back pocket for future reference. Be forewarned, this may be shocking to the system. For those who like to dole out the advice like an amateur gives advice to a seasoned athlete, this might be too much to bear at first. You may want to just sit yourself down as you read further.
Misconception #1: “Get a dog. That will prepare you for having kids.”
No. Just no. This is inaccurate on so many levels. It is so “sweet” that I even thought this was in the same galaxy as raising a child. You can board a dog. You can leave a dog home alone. It is okay if the dog wanders the house while you’re sleeping. Dog’s hungry? Dog Food! They don’t complain or talk back. They are content with a belly rub and a lap to lay on. Kids are the OPPOSITE of all these things!! Cute, cuddly dogs are not like taking care of actual opinionated, mini humans in ANY WAY. Love your dog while you can, because babies are a whole different ballgame.
Misconception #2: “Just tell the child what to do, and they’ll mind you!”
Hahahaha! Kids are tiny humans with personalities, sometimes too big for the rooms in which they are occupying. If they don’t want to do something, they will not meekly go along with a command just because it is dictated to them. They think THEY are the tiny dictators. There will be tantrums … always at the most embarrassing times. You will hear “No” coming out of your angel’s mouth more than you knew possible. This isn’t television, kids don’t always mind. You can train them to be more appropriate when faced with an order, but you will still have moments of parental frustration. THERE WILL BE TANTRUMS.
Misconception #3: “My kid will eat whatever I put in front of them.”
Nope! Now, there are some kids who are really good eaters. There are some that have been conditioned, over time, to eat what they are served. I have not found this to be the case … at all. There is crying and arguing at every meal. There is so much gagging, I’m considering barf bags to go with every meal like those you find in airplane seat pockets. They also do this “fun” thing where they have a favorite food one day, and won’t touch it the next. I swear, if I have a nervous breakdown, it will be over mealtime with my loving children.
Misconception #4: “My house will always be clean, and the kids will pick up their toys (clothes, dishes, craft supplies, school work, book bags, etc) unprompted.”
Wrong. Walk in my house on any given day, and you will swear a tornado has hit. I have to TELL the kids to clean up their things. Then there is ALWAYS the inevitable, “But, I didn’t get it out,” or, “But that’s not mine!” A lot of my parental life is spent trying to get the offspring to do their chores, pick up trash (I swear, if they step OVER the trash one more time … ), put away clothes, or simply not let the house look like a family of ferrets lives there.
Oh, there are more misconceptions. Any parent knows, there are so many more. One thing is for sure, however. I wouldn’t trade my children for all the misconceptions in all the world! They may be a handful, and parenting might be slightly harder (a LOT harder) than I ever thought, but as frustrating and hard as they are, these little humans are the best bosses, dictators, and children for which I could ever ask.