Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Did Not See That Coming

There are a great many things about parenthood that never crossed my mind.  I knew it would be hard sometimes, trying even, but I didn't think about the ridiculous minutia that would eat up my life.  None of this is major.  None of it keeps me up at night.  None of it is newsworthy.

And yet.  Good god.  It's the little things.  It's the little good things that make me love this parenting gig, and it's the little annoying things that make me want to rip my hair out.  There are plenty of both, but these are some of the annoying variety that make me stop in my tracks on a daily basis and go, "Really?  REALLY?"  Which probably makes me look really crazy.

Here are just some of the things that I did not anticipate:

  • Every second of food preparation takes time.  You know it's going to be complicated when they're babies, but you think it's going to get easier as they get older.  They'll eat what I eat!  Maybe.  But I still have to cut up grapes for the love of god.  Everything needs to be triple washed.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Placed in the correct receptacle.  Provided with the correct utensil.  Anything goes awry and it is rejected.
  • Sleep is a production.  Like a full-on, directors, grips, make-up artist, craft service table, special lighting, sound check, dress rehearsal with costumes production.  And it has to be exactly the same every. single. time. or there will be no sleep.  And oh holy hell, we all need the sleep.
  • The screaming.  There is a lot of screaming.  Usually it comes from them, but (unfortunately) sometimes it comes from us.  And it is just so... LOUD.  You hear other kids screaming and you think, "Not my kid!"  And then it is your kid and you're like, "Well, shit."
  • That I really would never get to eat a warm meal again.  Again, this was one of the things where I was like, "Not me!  I will not cater to every tiny desire my kids have.  Nope!"  But then, it's real life, and your kid becomes a vacuum cleaner, so by the time you've finished triple-washing and cutting the organic grapes into quarters, you plop them down in front of your kid, who INHALES them and immediately thrusts the bowl at you with, "More."  Damn it.
  • Leaving the house will take at least half an hour (with an additional 15 minutes for each additional kid) and you will always forget something.  The diaper/potty, shoes, jacket, snacks, drink production is relentless.  I keep thinking it will get easier and faster, but it never does.
  • I am no longer capable of talking on the phone or carrying on an intelligent, adult conversation.  If the kids are awake, they interrupt every 5 seconds.  If the kids are not awake, I am too tired to carry on an intelligent adult conversation pass the remote please.
  • Every one of my anxieties would be quadrupled in reference to my kids.  I would begin to have horrible fantasies about all the possible harm that could befall my little babies.  I would worry endlessly (beyond my usual psychotic barrage of worries) about all the things that have happened or might have happened or could happen if x, y, or z were to occur.  I would have to stop reading any and all books about parenting or children because of the sheer volume of anxieties said books create in me.  
  • That I would become a nutty mama bear type.  I didn't think I would be so protective of my kids. I thought I would be able to remain logical (HA!) and see when I needed to let them figure things out and when they were, in fact, being assholes.  But holy shit is that a struggle!  Every fiber of my being wants to coddle them and protect them and rip the face off of anyone who hurts them or their feelings.  But I don't.  I mostly don't.  It's still hard, though.  
  • I now cry at the drop of a hat.  I was never the weepy type.  I used to cry (and when I did, BOY did I), but never as easily as I do now.  Now, if you look at me funny, I may burst into tears.  Show me a picture of a brand new baby = misty.  Commercials involving children going away to college?  Waterworks.  Movies or TV shows where kids may be in danger?  Hysterical sobbing. I could barely watch The Hangover because I spent the entire movie worrying about that poor (FICTIONAL!) baby.  I am a lunatic.  A weepy, sobbing lunatic.
  • I will never, ever sleep again and Daylight Savings will become the worst thing that's ever happened to me... twice a year.  I knew sleep would be tough while they were babies, but I did not realize that I would become freakishly attuned to their every tiny noise and that said tiny noises would continue to wake me up until the end of time.

On the upside, I did not anticipate the level of joy and wonder these kids would bring into my life.  I underestimated the amount of love I was capable of feeling in a single moment.  I had no idea the kind of glee my own kids could bring out in me.  I hadn't the faintest idea how much enjoyment I would cull from a single snuggle.  So there is that.  There is definitely that.

UPDATE: A friend reminded me of another thing I did not see coming

  • That I would be constantly exhausted for the rest of my life.  No matter how much sleep I get, no matter how much coffee I drink, even when I'm filled with glee and sunshine and kittens and rainbows... still. so. tired.


  1. One of my favorite lines from "A Christmas Story" is when the narrator shares, "My mother hadn't had a hot meal in 13 years." So true!

    1. I really, honestly, did not think this would happen to me. Isn't that cute?