I’m sure all first-time parents do this to some extent. We have these expectations, and these rules, and this big list of nevers. When I’m a mom, I’ll never say this. When I’m a dad, I’ll never do that. When I’m a parent, I’ll be the best. I did it. A lot. I’d look at other parents and just think “nope.” Obviously, when you actually become a parent, many things change. I sometimes don’t even recognize myself. Expectations were probably the first to go.
When you realize that you’re dealing with a tiny human terrorist who is drunk on power and basically seems out of their mind, you do what you gotta do.
Expectation #2: No pacifiers after the age of 1.
Reality: I’d give him 10 pacifiers to this day if it made him sleep.
Expectation #3: My kid will have very few toys and a clean, organized play space.
Reality: Well, he liked this toy in the store! Then never touched it again. The clean thing was just a joke.
Expectation #4: I will never let myself go.
Reality: I haven’t washed my hair in 8 days and the clothes I buy are as close to pajamas as I can get without actually wearing a nightie.
Expectation #5: Baby will be sleep trained by 6 months old and sleep in their own bed every night.
Reality: Finally gave up on sleep training at the age of 3.5 because that child has ideas of his own.
Expectation #6: No jumping on the furniture.
Reality: I beg him to jump on the couch to avoid an angry letter from the downstairs neighbor.
Expectation #7: I’ll never bribe my little with candy.
Reality: Oh yes I will! What do you want? Lollipop? Chocolate? Fruit snacks? Great! At least fruit snacks have the word “fruit” in it. And you will be quiet for 15 seconds!
Expectation #8: I will never yell at my child and we will have wonderful open, constructive and positive communication.
Reality: Hahahahaha. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Expectation #9: Limited TV and electronics.
Reality: Here! PLEASE play with this iPad so I can answer one friggin email!
Expectation #10: I won’t use the excuse that he’s “just being a boy”.
Reality: But he kind of is.
Expectation #11: I will teach my child to respect people’s personal space.
Reality: Locked myself in the bathroom so I could be alone.
Expectation #12: This sweet baby deserves my undivided attention.
Reality: Hey, here is a big flight of stairs. Why don’t you climb that so I can play on my iPhone.
Expectation #13: I won’t tolerate screaming in a public place.
Reality: I don’t know how to control that! Other than the bribing with candy thing. And sometimes that shit don’t work.
Expectation #14: I won’t be one of those moms who is always late and blaming her kid.
Reality: But I swear, he pooped right as we were walking out the door!
Expectation #15: No junk food.
Reality: No junk food… more than once a week. Ok twice. Or three times…?
Expectation #16: I won’t pressure my child to potty train. He will do it when he’s good and ready.
Reality: I just changed 5 poopy diapers in one day. Get your ass on that potty! It starts TODAY.
Expectation #17: I’ll teach my kid everything he needs to know. No need for preschool or summer school.
Reality: School is closed for 2 weeks?! Lord help me.
Expectation #18: My friends will still get my undivided attention when we hang out.
Reality: I don’t really even know what we are talking about, but I will smile and nod.
Expectation #19: I won’t be a paranoid parent.
Reality: But there is a BUMP on his LEG.
Expectation #20: I will always allow my child to express himself.
Reality: Please close your mouth for 2 seconds. And stop bossing me around. And also, don’t do that.
Expectation #21: Only uplifting and beautiful music to stimulate the wee one.
Reality: Fancy. On repeat. All day err day.
Expectation#22: I will love that kid unconditionally.
Reality: Just because I flipped you off behind your back doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I DO love you. Unconditionally. But I don’t have to like you right now.
And the list goes on and on. So the only thing I can tell you about being a parent is to keep doing your best. Don’t worry if everyone else seems better than you. We all have our survival tactics. And we really only see a small piece of the big picture.
If all else fails, you can look at me and say “At least I’m not THAT bad”.