Being a parent is hard work.
If it's not one thing, it's another. Just when you think you have a little extra cash at the end of the month, someone needs new shoes. It's schedules and laundry and homework and behaviors and the list could go on. While parenting can be scary and frustrating and unbelievably difficult at times, I think it is really important to look back and see everything we have survived. Many things have happened over the years relating to my children and, at the time, I was furious. However, when I look back and think about those memories, I almost always end up with a smile on my face.
Furthermore, while it is easy for me to sit here and write down all kinds of parenting advice or share strategies that I have researched, I want you to know that I have the same challenges you do. I'm a working mom who is tired and stressed by the antics her littles are known for. Instead of sharing any research based practice or "proven" mom theory, I'm devoting today's post to what I like to call "The Funny Files." I'm guessing that some of you will be able to relate to these stories on some level. However, if you can't, I hope you can appreciate them for their entertainment value.
Stickers are for sticking
When my daughter was two and my son was just six months, we lived in a small two bedroom apartment while we were waiting for our new construction to be finished. I referred to those five months as the "dark days" because I hated living there so much. Anyways, one day I was getting ready for work, I needed the kids to be entertained so that I could take a quick shower. I turned on the TV and put on Sesame Street and laid the baby on the floor. I told Adie to "watch" him for me and stay there watching Elmo. This usually bought me at least ten minutes. When I got out of the shower, the kids were happy as could be, but Chase had been covered in stickers. Oy vey.
Natural Consequence Backfire
When my son and daughter were two and three, they got it in their heads that they wanted to play outside. I helped them get their coats and hats on, but when I told them it was time to get their shoes on, they both threw a fit. I tried convincing them that I knew best, but they wouldn't have it. Finally, I gave in and said, "Fine. Go outside. You'll see." Friends, we live in Pennsylvania. It was winter. Yet, out they went. I figured they would go out and come right back in realizing that it didn't feel good. Well, I was completely wrong. After a few minutes and utter disbelief, I told them to come to the door immediately. As you can see, they were thrilled to be outside barefoot. Disclaimer: No one was physically harmed in the making of this photo.
Bad Hair Day
My oldest child is a bit opinionated. In fact, too much sometimes and I admit that it is probably not her fault. She woke up one morning, got dressed, and promptly came downstairs declaring that she was ready for school. I took one look at her and burst out laughing. "Honey, you cannot go to school like that. You are having a bad hair day." You would have thought that I cut off her right hand. She wailed and cried and told me how mean I was to laugh at her. Good gussy. Finally, I convinced her to look in the mirror and then she started laughing too and began making funny faces.
Speaking of hair...
How many of your have experienced your child chopping his or her hair off? Well, my daughter did that too. She's super clever though. She used a cuticle scissors to trim hers. Just when you think you have your whole house kid-proof, she finds your manicure kit. She chopped her bangs off near her scalp and reached as far around the back as she could. This happened on a Sunday and my salon doesn't usually have hours in Sundays, but I called anyways. She came in just to "fix" Adie's hair. It looked a little strange for a few weeks, but it grew out to be pretty cute after all.
And then there was Beck...
My first two children certainly kept things interesting, but I didn't fully understand just how interesting until we welcomed number three. I will lump him into a category of his own. Here are three brief stories that my Beck has given me:
I love sunscreen!
Whether its lotion, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, hair gel, or sunscreen, Beck loves to squirt it all over the place. We have had to stock pile all of our liquids and lock them up. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had to add an extra bath into my day because this little guy has squirted something on himself. Once I was chatting with a friend about something and I noticed Beck was missing. Upon a quick search, I found him sitting in the bathroom sink with the water running covered in sunscreen. Although, that wasn't the only bottle he emptied.
On another occasion, he squirted an entire bottle of body wash on my hardwood floors and carpet. My husband and I often sit outside on our front porch and chat while the kids are busy inside watching TV. I literally went outside for five minutes to ask my husband something and in that short time, Beck had found the soap, figured out how to open it, and emptied it all over the place. Have you ever tried to get a whole bottle of soap off the floor and out of the carpet? My house smelled awesome for weeks!
For Christmas, we got our oldest child a Garmin Vivofit Jr. activity tracker. She took it off to get in the tub and set it on the bathroom sink. She was in the bathtub for a while so I told my older son to run up and knock on the door and tell her that she needed to finish up. We have locks on every bedroom in the house, but we don't have one on the master bathroom door because you have to go into our bedroom to access it. My older son didn't latch the bedroom door and sure enough, Beck caught his mistake. He ran into the bathroom while Adie was drying off, grabbed her Garmin, through it in the toilet, and flushed it. Bye bye, Garmin. I'm glad that Adie was able to enjoy you for two whole days. Ugh. Thank you, Lord, for Amazon Prime. She had a new one two days later.
Hammers are for hitting
A day after the toilet incident, Beck was on the naughty list again. My parents got my husband and I mugs for Christmas and we still hadn't put all of our gifts away. My big kids were on their devices and Beck was hammering his pegboard in the toy room. I was in the kitchen making dinner when I heard something shatter. I run. There Beck stands with his wooden hammer in hand and both mugs smashed to pieces on the floor. I quickly removed him and began cleaning so no one would get hurt. I was so mad at that child, but, I also knew that he didn't intentionally break them. Did he mean to hit them? Of course, but having never done it before, how did he know they would shatter? He was intrigued by the fact that it sounded different than hitting pegs. It was my fault I left them down within his reach. Frustrated.
Let me be clear
I love my children. Other than my husband and some foods (I'm kidding, sorta), there is nothing in this life that I love more. No matter how many bottles of liquids they dump on the floor, I still love them. Whether they get straight A's or fail repeatedly, they are mine forever. There is nothing that will ever make me stop loving them unconditionally. However, I don't always like them. I don't like them when they are sassy or don't respect me. My patience runs out when they don't do what I've asked them to for the 39th time. They infuriate me when they run through the mud and then waltz across my clean kitchen floor. They don't look cute after walking up to you dripping wet only to announce that they just dunked themselves in the toilet. And here's the clincher: THAT'S OKAY!
Just don't live in that dislike. Review the funny files after a few months (or years) have passed and remind yourself how far your kids have come. Reflect on those parenting struggles and look for growth. Even though I'm still waiting on this with my toilet bather, I know in due time, it will come. Besides, I need a good story when his first serious girlfriend comes for dinner. I am most definitely "that mom."