Every parent knows that what they thought their life with kids would look like and what life with kids actually is are very, very different. So it’s no surprise that we can really relate to this post from Bryan at KzooDad.com listing seven things he used to say about his future children—gems like “My children will eat what I cook” (you’re laughing, too, right?)—and the reality now that he’s a dad of two.
Inspired by Bryan’s list, we asked some of our editors about how their ideas of parenthood changed after actually having a kid. Here’s what they had to say…
Then: I won’t have children who misbehave in public. They’ll mind their manners when we’re in a shop or at a restaurant.
Now: I am constantly saying “mind other people” and “you forgot the magic word.” While there are times when they nail it, and I beam like it happens all the time, there is also going to be at least one instance when your kid is an untameable brat for all the world to see. It’s a parental rite of passage—and you should write down every detail so you can relay the whole story someday to your child’s first boyfriend or girlfriend.
Then: I’ll never do for my kids what they can do for themselves.
Now: Dressing my eight-year-old? Check. Brushing my six-year-old’s teeth? Yup. I’ve done both of these things in the past week. I do make half-assed attempts at getting my kids to do things for themselves—put away their own laundry, clean their rooms, put their hair in ponytails—but it never seems to last. I swore I’d never be this mom, but you know, sometimes it’s just easier to do it myself. I know I’m robbing them of life skills and independence, but I tell myself, there’s always next week. I’ll start some better system next week. Our time together often feels rushed and too brief. Why spend it harping at them to put on their own socks when I’m perfectly capable of doing it for them?
Then: My kids will adapt to my lifestyle. I will not change who I am for them.
Now: I don’t know why I resisted the idea of my kids changing my downtown, culture-vulture, travel-junkie lifestyle (ahem), but I had it in my head that I would somehow continue to be the girl-about-town, just with kids in tow. (You can stop laughing now.) Have you ever taken a baby to a film festival? I have, and let me tell you, it was WORK! Like a renegade salmon swimming in the opposite direction of everyone else (and what nature had programmed me for), my struggle against what I was actually meant to do as a mom nearly destroyed me. Trying to keep a foot in my past life eventually affected my mental health. Fortunately, I learned to stop fighting what is and just go with the flow. My current Saturday nights are not spent watching indie bands in crowded bars, having wine and cheese at an art opening or roaming through Norway by train. I am very behind on what is happening with my old crew. In exchange, I get to be part of a different culture, one that involves the exchange of ideas, discovery of new things, lots of laughs and a new way of looking at life and the world—my sidekicks are just shorter. Actually, my new crew turned out to be the best people I’ve met in my life.
Then: My kids will never get on my nerves—they’re my precious children, from my very own womb.
Now: I discovered quickly that kids were born to get on their parents’ nerves. If you have a button to press, they will find it, and they will press it and press it and press it, until they find the next enchanting button. For real, every time my kids annoy me, I actually think about how I thought they’d never, and then I use my best yoga techniques to chill myself out, or I lose it and talk to them about the difference between a reaction and a response. Or, often, I just go ahead and lose it. Hey, I’m still human.
Then: No matter how many babies we have (two), my husband will always be my number-one love. It will benefit the kids to see how strong our bond is, and it’s healthy for his and my relationship that I continue to put him first.
Now: How many times have I been the recipient of my husband’s puppy dog, longing looks as I smother our son’s warm, wiggly body with kisses and cuddles? How often do I fall asleep snuggled close my girl, breathing in her bath-damp hair, instead of crawling into bed beside my mouth-agape, snoring partner? Very, very, very often. My son can reach his cheeky hand down (or up) my top looking to grope what he used to enjoy and my daughter is all about wet kisses. These are pure, innocent advances I welcome—when they come from my kids. With my husband, I’ve become that exasperated sitcom wife—shooing and swatting away with a laugh and an eye roll. Who has time for that anyway?
Now go read Bryan’s post—it’s pure comedic genius that every parent can appreciate.