The Dark Web of Parenthood
So often as parents we feel guilt. Like a lot of guilt and worry and inadequacy and even shame. I’ll say it. I dared Brighton to eat a dog bone once- I’m not proud. No one prepares you for it, either, or all of the other stuff that comes with the coveted title. No one talks about the “dark web” of parenting for fear that it will seem like you love your child less resulting in…you guessed it, more guilt. All you hear about parenthood is the joy factor and the full heart part that comes standard with your new bundle- both of which are beyond true- but that’s it. The closest we get to the real grit of it is hinting at sleepless night for the first 2 years- which is nothing compared to the sleepless nights when they are teenagers. We are doing our new and expectant mothers a huge injustice. Are we afraid that we are going to scare them? Nothing will scare them worse than what comes out of that child’s body when they have the Rotavirus or the first time they poop in the tub. They need to know that. Plus, it’s not like they can change their minds, there is a baby in there a-brewing and they are already scared based on the impending exit strategy for said baby- so why not just shoot ‘em straight?
I say this because it is baby shower season (not to be confused with Wedding Crashing season) and I recently went card shopping for a sweet little unsuspecting friend of mine who has absolutely no idea of the madness that is about to take hold of her life. I felt it my duty as someone who has been in the trenches for 16 years to get as real as possible. As suspected, I was unable to locate the card that said what I really wanted to say so I decided to make a list of things that will help ease future burdens and answer the questions that as Moms we ask ourselves but don’t always say out loud.
1. No, your husband didn’t feed him a kiwi, it just looks like seeds in his diaper. You don’t have to smell it or call the doctor.
2. You are not a bad mom if you don’t save the umbilical stump. It’s dead skin. And if your dog eats it, don’t feel bad. My therapist assured me of this.
3. The suction bulb won’t suck the air or life out of your baby and neither will your cat.
4. Your vagina is forever changed. Don’t look directly at it and don’t listen to the reassuring lies that people will tell you. There is no going back after what you just put her through.
5. Kids won’t die from consuming lipstick. Hey, I polished off a cherry Chap Stick a day on the playgroup in preschool until my mom wised up and started packing me sandwiches.
6. You read them enough stories. 9 is a strong number. Enjoy your wine.
7. There are days that you won’t like your kids and they will completely gross you out. It’s ok. For roughly 5 months out of the year, they are snot buckets and petri dishes just asking for hugs to wipe their faces on you. Then comes puberty- suit up.
8. Don’t let your teenage daughter wear Umbros when hanging out with her boyfriend. Take it from the reigning teenage Umbro wearing queen. Make it a jeggings only zone.
9. Boogers are a delicacy in the toddler world and if eating a couple gets you through Target without incident, let the kid eat. It’s not the hill you want to die on.
10. You are going to forget dates of important milestones and the baby book won’t get filled out past month 3. Just make something up but make it interesting. When your grown child reads it one day, he doesn’t have to know that he really didn’t master the pogo stick at 14 months. Let him own that.
11. Stop referring to your child’s age in months once they turn 2. Just stop. It isn’t core math, start counting like an adult or your friends that you’ve had for 180 months will make fun of you behind your back.
12. Set the precedence for the Santa routine early on and stick with it. You can’t switch from milk to bourbon mid childhood without raising some questions. Start strong and commit. I suggest Blantons.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, mom warriors- we all know there is so much more to tell. When welcoming the newest members into the parenthood club, do them a solid and help them prepare. Smelling like sour milk, surviving on goldfish you find in your back seat and lucking up with twice a week showers is raw and it’s real, but so are all of the great things they will hear. Remember we are in this together just trying to figure it out and not feed our kids dog bones.
We’ll talk soon.