There is no shortage of parenting advice out there when you’re pregnant or have small children. But although there is a sea of recommendations about what to register for, what type of formula to buy, what kind of toys kids actually like — you name it — there is one piece of advice that is often overlooked:
Parenting small children is ridiculous. There’s really no other way to best describe it. It’s rewarding, it’s consuming, and it can be fun. But the daily dose of absurdity really requires a serious sense of humor. Or you may just go nuts.
Here are just a few reasons being a mom requires an ability to laugh at yourself.
1. Shit happens. I’m not talking figuratively. I’m talking about literal shit. And not just the kind that makes it into a diaper. At some point in your early parenting life, you will be chasing errant poop marbles around your house. Those things are fast and wily. They only come from the butts of small children and they are impossible to keep contained to a diaper. I suggest you find the humor in having a scavenger hunt for literal shit around your house.
2. You will leave the house with vomit in your hair. I know – it sounds crazy. What kind of self-respecting adult leaves the house with someone else’s vomit in her hair? The kind that hasn’t had time to shower or look in a mirror — aka, the brand new mom. If you happen to catch of glimpse of your reflection after you’ve left the house with barf in your hair — or worse, if someone points it out — laugh like a crazy person. It’s really the only choice.
3. You will find yourself trying to reason with a two-year-old. Some time around the age of two, your toddler will begin taking immense joy out of being a little contrarian. At such a point, you will begin asking your little minion why she doesn’t want the juice she just fucking asked you for. Then you will put that juice away. Then she will want it again. Then you will attempt to explain why she can’t just change her mind constantly all day. Then she will scream. Then you will realize you have just spent 20 minutes trying to reason with a being that does not understand logic.
Enter laughter. It’s just better than crying — trust me.
4. You will eat off the floor. Not intentionally. You won’t look at your small child’s discarded meal and think, “Wow. That looks delicious.” You will just be so consumed with multi-tasking that putting a few pieces of toddler floor food in your mouth seems easier than attempting to carry it to the garbage. Don’t get introspective at that moment — it may thrust you into a shame spiral. Just laugh.
5. Someone will be really mean to you. Do you read and/or dare to comment on any parenting articles? Someone will disagree with you. That someone may be a total jerk. You may find yourself thinking, “Do I actually know this person? Did I do something to her in real life? Is she following me around the internet like a mean puppy, waiting to respond to the most benign comment with unbridled hatred?” No, you don’t know that person. Don’t worry. People misunderstand each other and/or take out real life issues on each other all the time on the internet. It comes with the territory on parenting blogs for some reason. It’s nothing personal. Laugh it off.
6. You will be more paranoid than you ever imagined. Is that a tick I see on my child? I just read ticks are everywhere this summer! There’s E.coli in the water bottles – OMG. What are those red spots? Did he wash his hands before he picked up my child? Are these hotdogs cut into small enough pieces? She has a temperature of 99.1 – should I take her to the doctor? She just fell off her bed, it’s like a foot and a half off the ground. Do I need to take her to the hospital????
Insane, mind-boggling amounts of worry — it happens to the best of us. You probably won’t find the humor in it while it’s happening, but there will be a time that you will look back and laugh at the amount of paranoia you felt those first few years. I promise.
7. Something you love will be destroyed.
I watched my kid dip my sister’s DVR remote into the cup of coffee she accidentally left on the coffee table. My toddler ripped the pages out of my favorite (super expensive) artsy photo book. Kids destroy things. The end. Must find the humor in it. Or just hide everything you love until they go to college.
Mom life is messy, weird, frustrating — and ultimately hilarious.