Okay, we've all seen those "what I thought I'd do" and "what's different now" etc. blog posts, articles, etc. about how parenting is way different than what we expected (aka: WTH did I get myself into!?!) and I've laughed along with each of these articles/blog posts because I think ALL parents can relate to the disillusionment you experience once you actually take the parenting reins. That said, I've related to all these posts/articles, etc., but none of them has really hit all of the points that have turned out to be myths for **me** about parenting. So, naturally, I'm creating my own list. I'm including the not so great surprises as well as the pleasant ones, because, honestly, there have been some! And, just the way the other lists applied to me, but didn't really capture *my* parenting experiences, I'm sure this list will be the same for you. But hey, this is my blog, so it's my list ;)
Myth #1: My children will always be dressed super cute and ultra trip. No character tees for us. I'll be choosing their outfits, of course, to ensure this happens. If they don't like it, I'll give them choices. However, they certainly won't look ridiculous on my watch.
Reality: My kid regularly looks like this when we leave the house. I don't have the time or energy to worry about this. I've learned that, as a parent, you have MANY battles on a daily basis and this is so not going to be one of them. Plus, kiddos don't get a say in very much and this is one area I have just given her the reins. I mean, really, can't you tell? ;)
Myth #2: OMG I'm not going to sleep for YEARS. YEARS!!!!!!!!!! Babies don't sleep, right?! I'm doomed.
Reality: Please don't punch me, but I slept BETTER the moment both my kiddos were born - that's how unbearable pregnancy sleeping was for me. Also, they were both sleeping 'through the night' (6 hours) by 8-10 weeks old. I know I'm super lucky on this one, but this turned out to be a myth I have positively celebrated!
Myth #3: Being a working mom is going to be the BEST ever. There is in no way hell I could stay home with kids all day long. I bet I'll be itching to go back to work when my maternity leave is over. I'm going to be a strong, confident, do it all working mama. Go me!
Reality: I was blessed to say with Audrey for nearly 16 weeks and when those 16 weeks were up, I was not banging down the door to get back to work. I was SAD. SO sad that I contemplated finishing up my Master's and saying bye bye to the Ph.D. aspirations that were so strong just months before. I'm *still* a working mama, yes, and I'm *still* invested in my career, yes, but man, it is NOT what I thought I would be and now I find myself jonesing for positions that will really offer me the best work/life balance, not the most opportunities to move up, up, and beyond.
Myth #4: My kids will be super well behaved in restaurants and basically anywhere else we go. I won't tolerate bratty behavior. I certainly won't reward it.
Reality: Here's a 3rd lollipop. Please stop screaming and let Mommy finish shopping at Target.
Myth #5: I'll never have any alone time with my husband. That's what everyone says. Once you had kids, it's ALL about them and you don't get anytime with that person you chose to spend your life and you know, have kids with.
Reality: OBVIOUSLY, finding time for QT with the hubby is far more difficult than it was in the past, but it's not near as bad as I expected. If we get the rugrats to bed at a decent hour, the Mr. and I are guaranteed 1-2 hours of alone time together each and every night. That's no fancy date night, but it is quality connecting time (while watching True Blood or Newsroom)... ha.. but we *do* make time for dates, too - at least once a month. If you make it a priority, it's totally daoble.
Myth #6: Of course, inherent nature plays a role in how a child behaves, but you know, it's *mostly* nurture. Those kids who are super clingy and get all upset when their parents leave, they are, you know, insecurely attached and their parents have done something wrong...
Do I need to elaborate?! Shaun and I joke that this boy would crawl back in the womb if he could - he is SO darn attached to Mama. Sometimes, he breaks out into water works when I leave the room. So... maybe there is something to the whole 'temperament' idea.
Myth #7: When I'm a parent, I'll use some of those tried and true parenting lines that *always* work to get your kid's attention and get them to listen...as an example, when kiddo is having too much fun playing and doesn't want to leave, "Okay, Mommy's leaving now..." works every time.
While this line does work on my son, it has NEVER ever EVER worked on Audrey. I remember, when she was 2 1/2 ... my friend and I took our kiddos to a McDonald's to play in the huge indoor play structure. When it was time to go, my friend utter the magical line and her kids came running, nearly paniced at the thought of her leaving! So, I was like, yes, here's my opportunity to rock this line. I said the words. What did my child say. She looked down, waved at me, and said "bye" Seriously!??!? I had to persuade a 10 year old to go retrieve her from the top of the play structure. *That* was the only thing that worked. No one told me it could be like that...
Myth #8: I guess there will be a lot of macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets in my future, because kids only eat 'kid foods' and shun healthy, weird stuff.
Reality: Kids can develop a palette for all sorts of foods - it's all about what you expose them to (and okay, their willingness to try them). Audrey's fav foods include feta cheese, lentil soup, chana masala, and brown rice. Jameson is a huge fan of green beans and lots of raw veggies. Who knew?! (Shh, don't tell her this, but I think Audrey is less picky than I am!)
Myth #9: My house won't be taken over by toys and "kid things." We'll have designated Martha Stewart style spaces for that stuff, neatly organized and labeled. Our home won't lose it's cool factor.
Reality: Have you been to my house?! My kids have taken over literally every room. I don't think there's a single room that doesn't contain some sort of toy or child item. There's currently a plastic t-rex on my night stand.
Myth #10: Why on Earth would someone take a small child to get a pedicure?! That's ridiculous... not only is it expensive, but it's sending our little girls the wrong message about beauty and self-image.
Reality: I take her to get pedis with me because it's fun Mommy/Audrey time and she loves it when her toes look cute and "fashionable." Me too, girl, me too. She also loves zombies and everything scary and loves to 'read' a variety of books. I think it's okay if she does some things that are stereotypically 'girly.'
Myth #11: My body will be totally WRECKED after having kids... the stretchmarks, the sagging skin, the sagging breasts oh my! I'm dooooooooooooooomed.
Reality: I won't lie to you, I won't, but I think this whole situation has more to deal with how things were looking when you started than the having a baby thing. Don't get me wrong, I *do* have stretch marks that certainly weren't there before and things do hang a little differently, but I'm pretty proud of my postpartum body. I put in time at the gym and make healthy eating choices and it's worked out pretty okay. I'm no super model, but I'm not trying to be!
Myth #12: I will limit the amount of television time my kids are exposed to. They probably won't watch *any* tv until they are about 5. What they really need is independent play time with organic, non-sound making toys and lots of quality time with Mommy and other loving adults.
Reality: I have seen every episode of Bubble Guppies that exists. every.single.one. How else would I get ready in the morning?!
Okay, I'm sure I could go on and on, but I'll stop there.
It goes without saying (but here I am saying it anyway) that being a Mom is seriously the most amazing thing on this planet. I knew I'd love my kids, but I didn't know I'd LOVE them, literally lay down in traffic and die kind of LOVE for them (that is a freakin' scary feeling!) That was just one of the many myths I've experienced since April, 2008.
So, you tell me, what rings true for you on my list and what would you add?!