There is no shortcut to parenting, so stop looking!
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Photo courtesy of Syda Productions cropped

There have been so many times that I have wanted ask my Facebook friends for magic answers to my parenting problems. How do I get her to stop climbing everything? How do I make her quit throwing food off the highchair? Why does she think the lights on the Christmas tree are popsicles?

The truth is, no one knows. I know there isn't a parenting handbook, but that sure won't stop me from looking for one. I would gladly write one, but, you know, I have questions. I could probably tell you what I've read about well-tested methods for transitioning your child from your bed to their own, but I can't tell you what to do if you just simply don't want to. I know a lot about trying to teach your one-year-old the hard lessons of life, before they can even tell you their own name. I'm a pro at embracing my kid's messy hair. I could even tell you which shows to let your kid watch to keep you from going insane (Or which shows will send you so gently into insanity that you don't even notice or care.).

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Photo courtesy of Reghan Hailey

What I can't tell you is why your sweet little baby will pick up the word "no" faster than you can sigh in frustration from failing, for the hundredth time, to get her to repeat "please." I don't know what they find so appealing about the toilet and I will definitely never be able to tell you why screaming is the most fun to them when you just sit down to watch a movie.

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Photo courtesy of Reghan Hailey

The biggest mystery of all is my own feelings. Why, the moment I finally have a little freedom as a mother, I want nothing more than to start the process over again? Why does one baby using my limbs to climb me like a tree make me want another one using my bladder as a trampoline? In the parenting book I'll never be qualified to write, I'll be sure to include how psychotic you become after having a baby. Whether it's the hormones or just the sheer exhaustion, I'll never know. Many, inevitably, will become so unhinged from reality that the torture of parenting becomes—dare I say—fun. I've never been more tired in my life, and I'm having a blast! More babies, please! (Is there a hysterical emoji? I really need one here.)

I can search the web for answers with the best of them, but I'm often let down. Turns out, the magic Google machine is run by humans and doesn't have any more solutions than Facebook does. When everything is marked with an asterisk, you learn that no two kids are alike. (Lord, please do not bless me with twins.) Your gut is your best friend. I can't tell you if you should spank your kids, or if they really need to see the dentist with two teeth at six months old, or if you should let them cry it out. If I wrote a parenting book, it would basically be a collection of thoughts that run through my head when I'm totally winging every stage and trying to keep us all alive.

And, if you ever hear me rambling about how fun it would be to have another baby, just let me go. I'm already too far gone to be saved.

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