I’ve been a father for almost nine years. And when I went into it, everyone told me it would be rewarding. They told me about snuggles, and they told me about challenges. Some parents told me about long nights, but most of them really didn’t go into too much detail. They didn’t tell me about the oddity of children—the way they can do surprisingly strange things that would make me question their sanity and my own. They didn’t tell me about some of the nastiness, either. So here is a list of things I’d like to have known about parenting before I got started. Hope this helps.
1. Putting children to bed two hours late means getting up two hours earlier the next day.
2. 90% of parenting is arguing over pants, basic hygiene, and how toast is cut.
3. The fact that shoes come in pairs means that God hates parents.
4. In the hands of a toddler, one granola bar can destroy the inside of a minivan.
5. Modern parenting means keeping children away from smartphones.
6. Parenting is more about poop than peekaboo.
7. Wet wipes. So many wet wipes.
8. Parenting makes you qualified to manage a nudist colony.
9. 75% of parenting is screaming at children because they are screaming.
10. Poop doesn’t easily go down a tub drain.
11. Things will be sticky, so don’t ask. Just assume it will be sticky. Sticky is the parenting default.
12. 20 minutes of arguing will get a child to brush their teeth for two minutes.
13. Forcing a child to eat one bite of a burrito will ruin their whole life.
14. No one will ever be more interested in watching you use the restroom than your children.
15. One of the proudest moments in parenting is when a child can get up on a Saturday morning, turn on the TV, and get themselves a bowl of cereal.
16. Kids love to talk about how independent they are until you ask them to pay the water bill.
17. The best way to get a child’s attention is to start watching a YouTube video, get on the phone, or use the restroom.
18. Parents can drive on the freeway with a screaming toddler. That’s legal for some reason.
19. Puking in the toilet and wiping their own butt—these are the real parenting milestones.
20. Somewhere between having children and buying a minivan, parents begin to wash and reuse cottage cheese containers.
21. Regardless of how pissed off a parent is at their child, they will still want to snuggle.
22. Helping a child with homework is a mix of boredom and rage interspersed with short moments of satisfaction.
23. Fact! A college degree means nothing once you have a 9-year-old.
24. Bedtime takes at least two hours and one Valium.
25. Approaching a child with a comb is a lot like approaching someone with a chainsaw.
26. A child can look cute even at 4 a.m. after they’ve been up for three hours. This is how they survive.
Please realize that this is not an exhaustive list. There is more, much much more. But knowing these 26 realities should, at least, give you a nice leg up on the frustration and love that is…parenting.
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