How Having Kids Changed The Way I Relate To My Own Parents
As much as I complain about the sassy mouth on my kid, I know that I put my parents through the wringer when I was young. I was absolutely solid on my opinions, ranging from banana seats were cooler, to pegged jeans were totally awesome, to OMG my parents were so lame.
So imagine my shock when I grew up, had kids, and then one day realized that not only are my parents not lame, but also my admission into Club Parenthood made them my immediate allies! My mom and I talk about everything now — stain removers, colic, irritating husband qualities, sassy children, and even date nights. Can you believe that?!
Now that my parents and I are on the same team, our relationship has truly changed in these seven ways:
1. I finally understand Mom Pants and no longer judge my mom.
I live in sweat pants. Sometimes jeans. Mostly yoga pants. Yes, I know it is a mom stereotype. Yes, I’ve heard all the jokes. But hot damn can these cozy pants hide a FUPA or muffin top while avoiding a camel toe in a slimming black Lycra!
2. Instead of ignoring my parents, I now call them and beg for advice.
But before the begging begins, I must implore them for answers to pressing questions like, “Why in the name of all that is good do my children scream when I am on the phone?!” We bond over my kids’ never-ending interruptions.
3. My parents’ 101 different ways of saying “no” now strikes me as ingenuity.
By the end of the day, all I can muster is a simple — yet emotionally strained – objection to their incessant demands for cookies for dinner, leaping off the couch, or riding the dog like a horse.
4. I totally get why my parents were out by 8 p.m.
By the time I get the kids in their pajamas, teeth brushed, stories read, glasses of water, 17 trips downstairs to pee, 34 trips to the closet to check for ghosts, and tuck them in 8,000 times, it is nearly 10 p.m. and I am exhausted. But I still have shit to do.
5. Even though I said I would never do it, I find that I lecture my kids.
On manners, good posture, playing outside, and cleaning their damn rooms too. What, am I raising heathens up in here? Wait. That is what my mom used to say! I’m turning into my mom! But it’s OK. I am totally cool with it.
6. Listening to my parents tell stories over dinner now sounds like heaven…
…compared to the tyranny that is dinnertime at my house. My parents can sit and have civilized conversations on any topic. Meanwhile, my 5-year-old will lose his shit if the conversation strays away from ninjas, Battle Bots, or Megalodon sharks.
7. Now that I’ve been hazed by toddlerhood, I fully and totally appreciate my parents.
Nothing is as horrible and awesome as toddlerhood. After enduring the sticky, gloppy, smelly, emotionally erratic toddler years, I can say that if my parents can find it in their hearts to not want to feed my ass to the lions, then there has got to be a world of love there.
There are days when my own children act like such wild hooligans that I want to cry and call my parents and just apologize for being this astoundingly difficult when I was small. And one day, with any luck, my own kids will experience this mind-bending turn in life and start taking my ideas seriously too.