How to Survive Parenthood

Is that even possible? I assume it is because my parents survived parenthood. But that was 30-40 years ago. Plus my brother and I were easy kids to raise (with myself being the easier of the two, of course). Parenting has changed over the millions of years parents have graced the Earth. Dinosaurs could always eat their young if they misbehaved. That’s not really an option for us. So exactly, how does one survive parenthood?

Profanity

Lots and lots of profanity. Whether you allow your kids to hear your colorful language or it’s muttered under your breath as they walk away, it helps relieve the tension that built up while you argued with your politician. When your kid has an answer for EVERYTHING a few swear words will release the stress. When your kids insists that numbers less than zero are negative but numbers less than negative ten are megative and refuses any correction, you’re best bet is to send him away and give him a couple middle fingers while his back is turned.

Dates

Not the fruity kind. Though, enough of those will allow you to frequently use the bathroom where you can hopefully lock the door and keep unwanted guests away with the smell of not using Poo Pourri. These dates are the loving kind. The kidless kind. The do-whatever-you-can-do kind. Perhaps you have a late supper after putting the kids to bed. Being free to make any child unfriendly meal you want is as sweet as bedtime itself. Perhaps you can get a sitter for a couple hours to go out. Perhaps you can send the kids for sleepovers and make a night of it. Perhaps you just snuggle up and snack and watch a movie or binge watch the latest show that has course language and violence and parental supervision is required. Whatever you do, do it well and do it with love. And wine.

Wine

I know this one isn’t for everyone. I’ve heard some of you abstain from alcohol. You are the tough ones and I admire your courage. Mind you, we don’t celebrate “The Kids Are Asleep” every night with wine. Lately, we’ve only been celebrating every other weekend. We each have our favorite and we each know what they are so we can resupply when necessary. That’s true love.

Laughter

If you can’t laugh with or at each other, what can you do? That time I stepped on a toy, picked my foot up and put back down on a different toy, then nearly took a header through the wall? DW laughed so hard tears ran down her leg. That time I was backing out of the driveway and DW took a drink from her water bottle and I slammed on the brakes so she’d soak herself? Sure I called an asshole. But when the 4 year old in the backseat piped up with “Yeah, dad. Don’t be an asshole.” Then the 8 year old chimed in with “Great! Now you’ve got him saying asshole.” Or that time I told DW the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup and it was the first time my home team won it. She asked, “How you know it’s not Washington State?” Because they’re they Capitals? Maybe? Laugh. Laugh often and laugh loud.

Do whatever you have to do

It’s survival of the fittest. Adapt or get run over by life, also known as kids. You do whatever you need to do to survive your kids. Kick them outside. Allow them extra time in front of a screen. Give them an extra snack be it healthy or junk. Let them tromp through the mud, play in the sink, jump on the bed, cut their own hair. If it allows you a minute and a half to cook supper in peace, poop in peace, write a blog post in peace, anything in peace, let it happen. Make it happen. Or else the profanity will hit the fan.

sass-quote

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Becoming Dad

I always knew I was going to be a dad some day. I don’t know when exactly I determined that, though. It probably wasn’t until my university days that I entertained that thought. Before that I was just a free spirit. A happy wanderer. A lone wolf looking for a pack.

Because of the parents I had, I thought I knew what kind of dad I would be. I would be the dad who played, the dad who disciplined, the dad who got shit done. It probably wouldn’t get done in a timely manner, mind you, but it would get done.

I was going to parent like my parents did. I would allow my kids to think they were acting on their own when in reality I would be watching from a distance. I wasn’t going to be a helicopter or snow plow, or tiger mom dad. I wasn’t going to be free-range, mind you, but somewhere in the middle. I was going to be involved, too. I wanted to be there to watch them succeed, fail, or just plain try.

I was glad I was a teacher before I became a dad. I learned to discipline other people’s kids before I had to discipline my own. Not that it mattered because discipline comes in as many flavors as there are kids. There is much debate between which consequences work best. Seriously, there is no one size fits all. But that’s for another post, entirely.

Of all the things I was going to be as a dad, the one I nailed is being involved. Not in a helicopter way. I’m just there. When they’re getting ready for school in the morning or ready for bed in the evening I’m there prodding them along. When they’re playing a sport, I’m there to watch. When they have a school performance, I’m there to see them. When there are parent/teacher nights, I go. DW is with me all the way. Or I’m with her all way.

We’re in this gig called parenting together.

However, when I imagined myself being a dad before I was dad, back when I was a clueless twenty something, I didn’t imagine myself being quite as involved as I actually am today. My kids would love school because their parents are teachers. My kids would love helping out around the house because we would include them in such chores from an early age. My kids would be polite, respectful, hard working, smart, and a plethora of spectacular superlatives. Whenever I imagined what my kids would be like, I think God giggled a little bit.

I didn’t imagine I’d have a kid having ADD and needing constant supervision because he’d be a task avoider. He knows what he needs to do, he just doesn’t do it. I didn’t imagine my kid throwing a temper tantrum the size of a Philadelphia Superbowl riot. How dare I make a pancake without chocolate chips? We never imagine that stuff before we become parents. They don’t teach you that stuff in school. They don’t write about that stuff in books, or at least not in the books I read.

What To Expect When You Don’t Expect Your Kid To Be Different From What You Expect.

I learned to be a dad from my Dad. I learned to be a parent from my parents. They set a pretty good example, too. They had awesome kids though, so they had it “easy”. I wish I had it as easy as my parents did. Perhaps I do because I really don’t know their struggles as parents back then because I was just a kid. You can’t imagine #ParentingStruggles when you are a Terrible Two or a Threenager or even a Teenager, for that matter.

The Fresh Prince knew what he was saying when he said “Parents just don’t understand”. Well, neither do kids.

So, to my parents, I want to say thank you for teaching me to parent by example. To my kids, thank you for testing my parenting ability. One day, you two will understand why your mother and I do what we do.

Kids

Lucy At Home

How To Tell If You’re A Parent

 You might be a parent if…

you’ve argued about socks
you had to explain the reason for washing hands after pooping
you get no sleep
you get sleep, but still wake up tired because you’re eternally sleepy
you’ve been peed, pooped, puked, or bled on
you have to be in three different places all at the same time
you could really use a free maid
you could really use a free cook and masseuse, too
you have answered the question “why” so many times you found a parallel universe
you can answer any question sufficiently enough to satisfy their curiosity without raising more questions
You thought you understood parenthood perfectly before you were a parent but now that you’re a parent you realize you know nothing about parenthood.

You might be a parent if you’ve ever asked…

Where are your pants?
Why are you naked?
Where’s your other sock?
What is all over the bathroom floor?
How did you get water on the ceiling?
Why are you sitting on your brother’s head?
Why did you put three DVDs into the DVD player?
Why did you think eating the whole thing was a good idea?
Who peed on the toilet seat?
What are you doing up at this hour of the morning?
Why are writing on the walls?
Did you ask your father/mother, yet?
Didn’t I answer that question already?
Why are you peeing outside when we have a perfectly good bathroom inside?
How many times do I need to tell you ___(Fill In The Blank)__?

You might be a parent if you’ve ever experienced a temper tantrum…

because their cup is the wrong color
because a sandwich was cut improperly
over a hotdog that has lines (or doesn’t have lines) on it
over a broken crayon
because someone looked at them
because it’s bedtime or because it’s bedtime!
because they have to brush their teeth
because you didn’t read the book “right”
because you didn’t pick the right shopping cart
because you cut their cheese into the wrong shape
because you didn’t put enough chocolate chips in the pancake
their food is too hot
their food is too cold
their food is too something else…

Come to think of it, you could easily replace “You might be a parent if” with “You might be tending to a drunk if” The similarities are uncanny.

Raising children is like caring for someone too drunk to know that the potato bin is not a toilet.

You know you’re a parent if…

your fridge and walls are decorated with the art of a child
listening to your kids fall asleep is among your favorite sounds
you secretly enjoy when your kids are sick because it means more snuggles
you receive little doses of love when you least expect it and it means all the world
you feel the hand of your child in yours and think all is right with the world
you stop what you’re doing to answer a pretend phone call
listen intently, like you really do care about Minecraft (or whatever else you couldn’t care less about but have to pretend you love so as not to offend)
at the end of the day, all the frustrations, all the arguments, and questions, and exausting coversation, all that really matter are the little hearts that love you more than anything in the whole wide world… all the way to Jupiter and back.

For more fun, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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Lucy At Home

Parenting with Clickers On My Socks…

At it’s roots, this is a parenting blog. More often than not I write about the joys and frustrations caused by the two creatures my wife gave birth to. I love those heathens, even when I’d rather they take a long walk off a short pier. In the words of Homer:

I want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles…

I chose to make this blog mostly about parenting mostly because it’s what I know, mostly. I am certainly no expert on the topic. I’m not even an expert on parenting my own kids let alone yours and everyone elses. Kids provide an endless supply of stories, laughs, tricks, techniques, and thank-God-they’re-finally-in-bed. So I have plenty of material to share with you. Whether it’s about stupid, straight brimmed hats, places we visited, or answers to many, many questions, you’re bound to find something useful. Since I handle most of life with humor, I make sure to add as much of that spice as I can.

I have almost no idea what I’m doing.

I know I’m not the only daddy blogger and that’s okay. I’m glad I’m not alone. It means I get to look at what other dads are doing like a cheat sheet in Home ec class. I’ll show you my answers if you show me yours. Come to think of it, it’s okay to work in groups. It’s encouraged, really. We all want what is best for our kids, so why not cheat a little and look at what others are doing?

My kid is being an arsehole. Is it just a phase and how do I make it stop?

My kid won’t stop dabbing. Should I put him in a straight jacket?

How much wine will I need after today?

There are as many ways to parent as there are kinds of parents. Helicopter. Snow plow. Crunchy. Free range. The whole continuem between drill sargent strict and hands-off lienient. Breast fed, bottle fed, spoon fed. You know which one is best? Which on should we all be?

We all should be the best we can be. We should be the kind of parent that raises compassionate, educated, healthy human beings. Whether you live in a shack in the woods with no electricity or the penthouse suite on the 25th floor, just be the best parent you can be. Know your child and make decisions and saccrifices in their best interest. You’re not their friend. You’re their mum, their dad, their legal guardian.

Parenting is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship. Set rules, set boundaries. Lord knows there are plenty of both out in the big, wide world. Follow through with consequences. Lord knows the big, wide world will do that, too.

But don’t forget to laugh and laugh loudly. Act silly and dance in the kitchen or the living room or the bedroom. Or dance in the bath tub until the smoke detectors start blaring (Yes, in our house, that is possible. It’s been done). Sing loud and sing proud.

So don’t come reading this blog looking for parenting advice. It only looks like I know what I’m doing because you never see all the edits, corrections, the behind the scenes action. I call myself a guru in the parenting world on the basis that others seem to think we’re doing a great job. We’re gurus. I’m also clueless. I mostly have no idea what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, or if it’ll make things better or worse. In the words of my wife’s Uncle Bud,

If clues were shoes he’d wear clickers on his socks.

P.S. While I’m out looking for clues you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

W in 10 Easy Steps.

WW is for water. Kids love water. Especially bath time. Below you will find how to bath kids in just 10 easy steps.

When I titled this “How to Bathe Otters” what I really meant was Shamu. I would get less wet. Actually, what I really meant was “How to Bathe Two Otters Kids∗ at the Same Time”.
  ∗ Ages 2-6 Continue reading