6 Ways Bad Habits Prepared Me for Parenthood

by Toni Hammer
Originally Published: 

Any seasoned mother will tell you there’s nothing you can do to prepare for motherhood. Sure, you can read all the What to Expect books and maintain an active presence on every parenting message board on the World Wide Web. There are videos to watch and pamphlets at the doctor’s office to shove into your purse. Read ’em, trash ’em, use them for emergency Kleenex, it doesn’t matter.

Books won’t prepare you for the moment your child vomits all over you and, while you’re trying to remember where the deodorizing carpet spray is, poop soup begins to run out of their diaper and all over you.

Blogs won’t prepare you for when your toddler is on day four of Nap Strike 2015 and your finger is ready to push the “Buy Now” button for a one-way ticket to Bermuda.

Even the “always be prepared” touting Boy Scouts can’t save you.

You’ll never be prepared.

Despite my brutal honesty, there were some aspects of my pre-kid life that made the process just a tad smoother. You won’t find these gems in any book or magazine, though. Luckily, I’m here for you with some insight as to how my personal pitfalls prepared me for motherhood.

1. I’m an awful housekeeper. I don’t live in filth, but cleaning my home isn’t my forte. How often do I need to vacuum really? And I think separating the laundry into a “clean” pile on the couch and a “dirty” pile next to the washer is more than enough. The good news is that being a terrible housewife prepared me for the non-stop messes and daily destruction of my home. It’s nothing I haven’t seen or stepped over while heading to the couch.

2. I’m a poor sleeper. I haven’t slept well since the Clinton administration. Stress, anxiety, smartphones, keeping up with the Joneses, having the Joneses over for dinner, gossiping about the Joneses the next day, it all kept me awake at night before I birthed the fruit of my loins. Since I was so accustomed to not getting enough sleep, this motherhood-inspired REM deprivation thing is a breeze.

3. I’ve never been a fan of clothes shopping. Going to the store, trying things on, hating what you tried on, bemoaning the fact you hate everything in your closet — it’s exhausting and draining. Since any apparel store practically gave me hives before having kids, I was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. No muss, no fuss. Now that I have kids, I’ve just exchanged the jeans for yoga pants (that I can safely order online since there’s no need to try them on) while wearing my old yoga pants which are threadbare down to my bare… you know.

4. In my personal hell I’d have to clean toilets for eternity. I hate them. They’re gross. They’re designed to be gross. Their whole function is to receive and remove grossness. Thankfully, until my kids are potty trained, I don’t have two extra excrement excreters making the job harder for me. I am totally fine with them staying in diapers until three weeks before kindergarten.

5. The thought of exercise makes me tired. Gyms, P90X, T25, Barre3, I need a nap and a calculator just thinking about it. Having a built-in excuse not to work out — kids are taking up all my time — eases my guilt and stress level, and isn’t that what exercising is supposed to do anyway? I get all the benefits without actually sweating.

6. I don’t have a clue how to properly apply makeup. Now that I have kids I don’t have to! Anyone noticing the bags beneath my eyes and my colorless lips can just turn their attention to the two tykes in the stroller and realize, “Oh. She’s a mom. That’s why she looks so haggard.” Damn right.

So while nothing will make having “the talk” easier, and I have no idea what I’ll say when my son starts using my tampons as lightsabers — when the Joneses are visiting — my personal pitfalls have made this motherhood gig just a little easier. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go straighten up the clean laundry pile before I spend the next four hours trying to go to sleep.

Related post: 10 Things I Said My Children Would Never Do

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