Before I had kids I thought I knew everything. I had plans for what type of parent I was going to be. I had seen the TV shows, read the articles on Facebook, and heard the sage advice of the other childless people I knew.
My wife and I were confident we knew better and wouldn’t make the same mistakes our parents had made. We were convinced we could do it better. There was more information and we knew more, had better resources, and most of all WANTED to do better. You couldn’t have told us we weren’t ready
Then I found out my wife was pregnant,
Now eight years later I have realized something. I was not very bright before I had kids. I had misjudged the parents of the past in so many ways. Let me tell you about some of my mistakes.
7. Before I had Kids – My children will eat what I cook –
No junk food for my kids. I will teach my children to appreciate all cuisine. They will have expansive pallets and enjoy trying new foods as much as I do. But most importantly, they will eat what I put in front of them because I’m the parent and what I say goes.
The Truth –
“Please eat. Please, I don’t care what. Just a few bites. We have been sitting at this table for over an hour. Please eat something.” Yes, that is every night no matter what I make. I long ago gave up on the fancy dishes I enjoyed. Now I make whatever the kids want if it will just make them eat. Hot Dogs and Pop-tarts for every meal? Fine. I don’t care anymore. I just don’t want to fight.
6. Before I had Kids – My children won’t be lied to –
I’m not going to lie to my children. I will be honest with them. I don’t want them to lie to me so I won’t lie to them. Why wouldn’t you intentionally mislead someone you love? Besides what good can come out of a lie?
The Truth –
I lie every day, in every situation. Why can’t we go to McDonald’s? It’s closed. ( I don’t want to pay for it) Can I have a snack? No, it’s almost dinner time (in 4 hours). Can I play with your iPhone? Sorry buddy but the battery is dead. (I’m afraid you will call China, or mess up MY game.) Why do I lie? Because sometimes a quick lie will save hours of arguments and explanations. Sometimes one lie will get me an hour of quiet, and trust me it’s worth it
5. Before I had Kids – My children won’t eat fast food –
The food served to my kids will be organic and healthy. We will take the time to cook good foods and my children will not become part of the raging obesity epidemic sweeping the nation.
The Truth –
Do you have any idea how many things we have to do every night? It isn’t uncommon for me to have to decide to swing through a drive-through. It’s that or let them go hungry. So Unless you are planning on coming over here to cook, I don’t want to hear it. Also, please re-read number 7. I don’t have time to type it twice.
4. Before I had Kids – My children won’t destroy my things
Look how hard could it possibly be to teach a kid a little respect for someone else’s property? My children will and will not break things. They will respect their own as well as other people’s property handling any items with care.
The Truth –
My kids break everything they touch. The only thing I own that they haven’t broken. Are the things high shelves and the things they haven’t gotten to yet. As a side note, my wife is short too so I use those high shelves to hide any cookies or candy I don’t want to share.
3. Before I had Kids – My children won’t be attached to their screens. –
My children will play outside like I did. The amount of time they spend with TV’s, video games, iPads, phones, and other such electronic devices will be very limited. Their imaginations will be their entertainment fostering a growing imagination and creativity. Plus the exercise will do them good.
The Truth –
As we watch the same show for the 1,000th time I have to admit might I let this one get away from me. But I have a reason! Sometimes turning on the TV is the only thing that can stop the fighting and get 5 minutes of quiet, or be able to go to the bathroom alone!. For the readers who don’t have kids, this might not seem like a big deal. But the parents understand. A solo trip to the bathroom can feel like a vacation when the kids are being bad. But some good has come from this. When we travel the IPad is a must-have item. Both my girls use a few learning apps that have helped them lead their class in both reading and matching pieces of candy so they disappear.
2. Before I had Kids – My children will respect and listen to me –
I am the parent and I will be respected by my offspring. I will teach my children about listening to and respect adults. They will not talk back or scream like those hooligans I saw at the store crying. The mom should have just told them to stop and save all of us in the store the hassle of dealing with that noise.
The Truth –
First, to that lady in the store, I’m sorry. I now know your pain. Kids don’t listen. I tried, I really did. First I asked politely. Then I asked sternly. There was begging and crying. No matter what they didn’t listen. The other day when I was standing behind them I tried to tell them something. No one answered. I was less than a foot away they claim they can’t hear me. It makes me wonder, with excuses are they are dumb enough to think this will work. Or do think I am dumb enough to buy it?
1. Before I had Kids – My children will keep the house clean. –
Ever see those pictures of some one’s house being absolutely trashed? That isn’t going to be my place. From birth I will teach my children to put things away they will be responsible for their belongings. No piles of clothing on the floor, or finding a lego at 3 am with my bare foot. They will know I am not a maid and won’t be cleaning up after them.
I ‘m dumb.