The Trouble With Kids: A Survival guide
Here Comes Trouble
It seems like as a parent, you never get a downtime. You pass over milestones and milestones, and there's never a break. Even if you have a partner, it's a lot of work. There are even times when you can't really see the good times because you're too tired and too stressed. There are times when you know you love those little children running around, but wonder what you were thinking when you hear one hitting their head against the wall and the other is complaining you asked them to study their Geography. It doesn't make you a bad parent. It makes you the "everyparent".
I find I spend 50% of my day chasing a toddler through the house. Okay, maybe 80%... Which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't start the teething process of his canine and molars. Then he decided he only needs one nap a day and stays up at night in pain because of his teeth. I even started writing this at 8:30am, and here I am an hour later and I've only gotten a paragraph in. Put him in the playpen while I work? I would, only my nearly 1-year-old can climb out of it. So every three words, I jump up and chase after my darling saying "Georgie NOOOOOO!". Then he laughs, and runs faster to his intended destination of terror. This is his happy moment. When people find out he started walking at 8 months, I get disbelief then complimented with "he's got good, smart genes". Then they quickly go to, "I'm lucky mine isn't yet, I'm not ready for that" or "That one is going to be trouble". Thanks for the encouragement, guys. He is trouble, but you have to give him credit for doing things at his own pace, to hell with the milestone charts. Even his pediatrician looks at me with disbelief while I tell her about him. Then he shows her for me, and she stares at me as if that child were a pink elephant.
They are trouble. They get into everything. Everything takes double the time because cooking and cleaning is not easy one handed or with a toddler pulling at your pants. Especially when they pull hard enough they fall down. They run around. They know exactly what they aren't supposed to do, and that's what brings them the most joy. My son finds an opening, or creates one by distracting me with another thing he's not supposed to be doing and runs immediately to his previous goal. Luckily, he's climbed and fallen enough (safely), where he can climb down from furniture himself. He has sure earned the monkey child nickname. They are more blessing than trouble, though sometimes it doesn't seem like that. They make your life a little more interesting than it was before.
The trick to survival? Look for the positives, they're what gets your through everything in life. And while being a parent is itself a positive, there are good days and there will be bad ones. If you make it through the teething and the terrible twos, you'll be fine. There are parents who crack under this pressure, but nothing good in life comes for free without effort. Expect that you won't get as much me time as before, but sometimes you realize you don't need as much as you'd thought. If you think that parenting is something you need to do because everyone else does it, parenting isn't for you. If you think loving a child is all it takes to raise a child, parenting isn't for you. If you think parenting is like playing house, where the child is a doll that you can leave and get back to whenever you want and it's all sunshine and roses, parenting is definitely not for you. It's work. It's trying on your sanity. And it's worth every second of sweat and tears you put into it.
I've learned a few upsides about all the work it takes to parent. It doesn't seem like it sometimes, but I promise there are upsides. Here they are:
- Housework. A clean home isn't necessarily a happy home. Child didn't sleep well and you decide to follow suit and sleep whenever they decide to nap, and leave the dishes in the sink? I don't blame you, and most parents don't. If you have enough time to make your house shine everyday, you've either got a family that doesn't make a mess, a maid, or don't spend enough time doing the fun things you're supposed to do as parents. Or you just are a superwoman that makes the rest of us look bad. Either way, they are a good excuse to let the house stay a little functionally messy because there are more important things than doing housework all day long. Like tickle-monster or peekaboo or reading a book with your little one.
- Free Workouts. Recently, since I've weaned my little one off breastmilk in time for his first birthday, I've decided now I can cut calories and work my but off. In that, I downloaded an app, and it's accompanying app that tracks your steps. Since getting both apps, I've found out that I walk an average of close to 3,000 steps just chasing around the little one. That translates to walking over a mile a day just running after a child. It might not seem like much, but that adds up every day. That's not counting days when I have to go grocery shopping or other errands. As of right now, 10:00am, I'm currently at 1270 steps. Add that in with my hour and a half of exercise I will do when my husband gets home, let's say I'm not doing too poorly.
- Love. No one loves you more than your child, just like you'll never love anyone more than your child. Right now, my little one is teething and starting the "separation anxiety" stage. Don't feel stressed if your child goes through moments where they don't want to leave you. It just means they love you so much. This stage, like every other stage will pass.
- We all have survived. Centuries of parents have survived. Those bad times will pass, and when they're off to college, you'll miss them. Cherish all the time with your little ones.
That's all the advice I have, I hope it helps!