My kiddo is about to turn one-year-old and though I’ve marked each month, and recorded each milestone, I’m still sort of stunned at how this can really be happening so soon. I read Susan’s post about things she’s learned post-parenting and it made me think of all the preconceived notions I once had of parenting, and how I feel now after nearly a year of parenting myself.
Pre-parenting Theory #1: Boasting about your kid and each milestone and comparing and contrasting bowel movement with other parents is boring. True. Yep boring before parenting, boring after. While one perk of parenthood is the ability to relate to people you otherwise had nothing in common with, there’s only so much you can dissect feeding routines and sleep schedules before I get sleepy myself. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind conversation about children, it’s nice sometimes, but when I am in the presence of people with the ability to form sentences, I want to talk about things like books, politics, [makeup! I’ll even take makeup!] something. anything. else. It’s like the executive who doesn’t want to go out and discuss his job all the time. I love my job. My job kicks any other job’s butts. But sometimes, I want to talk about other things.
Pre-parenting Theory #2: People who say they are running late because of their kids are just hiding behind their kids. False. Thanks to my parents, I am a ridiculously punctual person in a ridiculously unpunctual culture. I’ve eaten dinner for a 7pm wedding at 11:30pm. I’ve arrived at 1:30pm for a 12pm function to find the hosts about to hop in the shower. I’ve adapted to this cultural quirk by timing my late arrival. 8pm dinner date? I take care to arrive at 8:30. Late, but punctually so. Enter: baby. I still haven’t grasped that a baby requires extra time due to last minute diaper explosions and resulting outfit changes, hunger requests, buckling into car seats, prepping diaper bags and now am always running about thirty minutes behind schedule. Even my delayed arrival schedule. And while this mortifies me, and I have had almost a year to get up to speed, I am still always late.
Pre-Parenting Theory #3: Putting your kid to bed at 7:30pm is silly. Why do I want him up at the crack of dawn? False. He’s getting up at dawn anyways. Whether he goes down at 5pm. 7pm. 10pm. 3am, with the exception of one day he slept until 10am and we stared at him in a state of utter panic, he wakes at the crack of dawn no matter what time he’s down for the night. And right around 7pm? He gets feisty and doesn’t let up until he knows he is well on his way to PJs and bed. [how far we’ve come] So to ensure he gets enough rest? He sleeps at 7:30.
Pre-parenting Theory #4: You seriously can have more to talk about with your spouse except your kids once you have kids. False. We’ve gone out for two solo dinner dates since he’s been born with the promise of no kiddo talk while we’re out. And it went like this:
K: So what’s new with you?
Me: Going good. Waleed went to the –
K: No, remember? No kiddo talk.
Me: Oh yeah, right.
Me: Well, where do you want to vacation this year?
K: Hm, something tropical. Don’t want to be too busy on the trip since Waleed might get fidgety, plus time zones. . .
Me: Wait, no kiddo talk.
K: Oh, right.
K: Did you like the last episode of Mad Men?
Me: I fell asleep towards the end. Waleed woke up twice last night. I think he’s teething.
K: Wait no kiddo talk.
Me: Oh right.
You get the idea. So far, the not talking about the baby who is [delightfully] embedded in every single aspect of our life? Not happening. Not sure if this is a good or a bad thing; it simply is.
Pre-parenting Theory #5: By the time my kid is one years old, I’ll be an expert. Oh Aisha, how cute. Ha. Ha. And. False. I still have a handful of days to go, so maybe the parenting fairy will come to me while I sleep, and I shall wake a bastion of knowledge on all things parenting, but really? Doubtful. Nearly one year later I’m just as ‘flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ as I was the day he was born. The only difference? I’m at peace with the uncertainty. I’m a first-time parent and he’s teaching me every step of the way what it is to be not just a parent, but his parent. And as uncertain of a road it is to know that you will be a novice every step of the way, its awesome in ways I could never have imagined.
What preconceived notions of parenthood did actual parenthood effectively shatter for you? Not-yet-parents, what theories do you currently cling to with the undeniable belief that they must be true?