I don’t know about you, but I was a perfect parent – before I had kids. Suddenly I was holding this tiny baby and I was not the parent that I thought I’d be. Oh, sure, I had amazing intentions. In fact, I wasn’t yet aware that I was not even close to a perfect parent 7 years ago when our oldest was born. She did nothing but sleep and be all adorable and stuff, and I was rocking the parenting thing. She slept, ate, and I still had time to do my hair and makeup everyday; and we took her out with us all the time to shop and eat and enjoy social occasion.
We were amazing parents; exactly the parents we thought we’d be.
And then one day we were not. It happened right about the time she began moving around on her own. Suddenly she wasn’t so easy. She didn’t want to sit in the stroller or the cart at the supermarket anymore. Suddenly I was that mom in Publix at 9 am handing her a cookie, and then a balloon and then a new sippy cup and then whatever she wanted to shut her up.
I wasn’t perfect anymore. And I didn’t care. By the time baby number two came around, we really became slackers. I’m not even going to tell you what happened when the twins were born last year. I mean, they’re probably up in their room smoking and drinking and throwing a kegger, and I don’t care because they’re quiet (priorities, right?). I’m not the mother I thought I’d be. Annoyingly, my husband is exactly the kind of father I thought he’d be. He’s sweet, patient, kind and amazing. The kids love him endlessly and he can sit down and play with them for hours at a time while I’m five minutes in and already wondering if I’ve put in sufficient playtime. And that’s just one of the many ways that I am certainly not the kind of parent I thought I’d be. Read on to find out where else I’ve failed from my original expectations.
Bottles in bed
Baby number one never had a bottle in bed, and believe me when I judged all the awful parents that gave their kids bottles in bed. Baby number two is four-and-a-half and she and our 18-month-old twins take a cup of water to bed at every nap and every night. Sorry, not sorry. We have four kids and all of them are amazing sleepers. If it takes a cup of water to make them get their adorable behinds in bed on time and sleep for the next 13 hours, so be it. I’m not above it anymore.
DVDs in the car
Our kids would sing lovely educational songs along with me in a lovely voice and we would visit and talk about our days and we will bond in the car. DVDs are obviously for lazy parents that don’t care about their kids.
Barbie and “Frozen” are on repeat in the DVD player in my car and I will never drive an SUV without a DVD player and wireless headsets for all four kids – ever.
Television in general
Television rots the brain and it’s not good for kids. So obviously ours would be too creative and intelligent for television. And then Dora taught my kid to count to 10 in Spanish and say her alphabet and recognize her colors and now they all have televisions in their bedrooms and Bubble Guppies is on all day long every single day in the living room and on the porch for the babies.
Go ahead and judge, but when our kids are driving us nuts we can convince them that if they can clean their rooms really quickly we will let them watch television in bed on a school night for a whole half an hour.
And then we stick them in bed a half hour earlier than usual so that they can watch television without interrupting bedtime and we can enjoy the peace and quiet. Judge if you must, but we win. Quiet time together, clean bedrooms we didn’t have to bother with and we don’t even have to teach our own kids their ABCs.
Educational play time
Before we had kids, our imaginary play time was very educational. In reality, the only education our kids are getting during playtime with us is that mommy and daddy do not like it when you use that loud and obnoxious voice, so kill it, kid.
It’s hot. We’re Floridians. If our kids are outside, they’re in the pool or we are on the boat. Otherwise, we don’t do outside. We might do outside in December for a few nights. We’ll see.
Fun family trips
We take more solo vacations as a couple than we ever did before we had kids, and we traveled a lot before kids. Okay, not really, but we do take them on vacation. And we always regret that decision. We pretend it’s fun, but it’s not. It’s not what we thought, and we know it.
Perfectly coiffed kids
Our kids are beautiful. I might be a tiny bit biased, but I’m not blind; our kids are freaking gorgeous. I mean, absolutely beautiful. And they were perfectly dressed every single moment of their lives when they were too small to move. The twins are still pretty perfect. Our son sports his LaCoste Polos and his Sperry Boat Shoes and a Gator hat and his twin sister rocks the Ralph Lauren dresses and little Kate Spade tops and pink sparkly Sperry’s with perfect pigtails every single day.
Our 7-year-old looks like a 7-year-old who is learning to dress herself and is pretty good about it. Our 4-year-old looks like a homeless child who hasn’t taken a bath in months or ever encountered a hair brush. Listen, people; I have four kids. She’s bathed every single night whether she likes it or not, and if she wants to head out in a cowboy boot on one foot, a ballet flat on the other and a mermaid costume over the Frozen dress we have to wash every night sometimes because it’s all she ever wants to wear for two or three days at a time, so be it. Don’t care – we don’t like being late for school.
Our big kids were bathed every single night. Every single night. They never missed a bath. Even when people would claim their own kids were ‘clean enough’ after a day in the pool, we were secretly horrified. Ew.
I can’t even remember the last the time the twins had a real bath. Maybe last week? Definitely; my mother-in-law was here with them while we were in New York, and she always does bath time with them. We usually stick them in the sink (on a good night) or rub them down with baby wipes before slathering them with lotion. On a good note, however, they’ll probably learn to bathe themselves a lot faster than the girls ever did.
They’ll eat what we eat; healthy, amazing food. They’ll love fresh salmon and edamame. They’ll want Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast. They’ll be little darlings at the dinner table.
Reality – we cannot buy enough Pepperidge Farm goldfish when they’re on sale 10 for $10 at Publix. It’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lunchables at lunch time, check. McDonalds for dinner, got it. A cookie in the store, yes. The babies still eat whatever we give them and our 4-year-old is addicted to things like green bell pepper and cucumber and strawberries. She’s a healthy eater like you would not believe, but she does not eat what we eat. We always find ourselves making her a different vegetable plate. Whatever – she’s alive.
Clearly we intended for our kids to be perfect. They’d always use their manners, they’d suggest donating their toys to the less fortunate and they’d love to clean their rooms and help with dishes and they really never argue with us because they understand we are the parents and we know best.
Sorry – I had to take a few moments to stop laughing hysterically.
The only thing our kids do on this list is use their manners like champs. They are “Please” and “Thank you” and “Yes ma’am” and “No sir,” professionals. Aside from that, they’re kind of brats. As long as no one is killing anyone else, getting into trouble in public or being disrespectful, however, we usually ignore them.
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