Do you stress? Yeah, me neither.
THIRTEEN THINGS I WISH I HADN’T STRESSED OUT ABOUT AS A NEW PARENT:
1) The babyproofing stage. I spaced out, didn’t get stuff baby-proofed as quickly as I should have, and chaos ensued. Now that my kids are 4 and 7, yeah, we really need all the baby-proofing I haven’t gotten rid of yet.
2) The talking. “When will she talk? What will her first word be? What if she never talks? Is there something wrong with my baby oh my gawwwwwwwwwd, wait. I think she just said ‘sock.’” Once they start talking they never stop. And once they learn to bitch at you, they never stop that, either. Then you’re thinking, “I wanted this kid to talk?”
Wacky Girl: “Why can’t I watch ‘Star Wars’? Everyone, everyone, everyone in my class has seen it. They said it is not even scary. I am too big for PBS Kids, it’s stupid. And you won’t let me watch ‘Monster House.’ And the Chucky movies. And ‘Scary Movie 3′ is supposed to be real good, but nooooo you won’t let me watch that. Or ‘Star Wars.’”
3) The nursing. It either works or it doesn’t. Bottles are fine, boobs are fine. The end.
4) The sleeping-through-the-night and the potty training. Eventually they deal.
5) Which brings us to… The projectile pooping and vomiting stage. It doesn’t last forever. Thank you, Jesus.
6) The trying-to-keep-up-with-the-Joneses phase. “Must go to playgroup. Must not miss music class again. Must go to park, even though I hate the park.” We all need to slow the hell down. My friends call me “Miss Chop-Chop” for a reason — I need to take my own advice.
7) Listening to idiots and letting them throw guilt on me like a big ol’ wet blanket. “Why doesn’t Mommy put a coat on you? You need a coat, tell Mommy.” Now I just smile and walk away. Quickly.
8) The trying to keep everyone happy phase — the husbands get along, the wives get along, the kids hate each other, but maybe they will learn to love each other? C’mon! Let’s all be happy, kids! If your kids say they don’t want to play with someone, listen to them.
9) I wouldn’t have argued with my husband so much over stupid little nothings those first few years — whether or not the baby should wear a hat, whether or not it was too cold to hike, whether or not we should let ourselves get roped into going to something that at least one of us really didn’t want to go to. Let it all just roll, y’know? It works better, in the long run.
10) Messes. Specifically, fingerpaints, glitter, sand tables, water stations. Just bring extra clothes and let the kids go for it.
11) Snacks, as in, it is not that hard to pack a snack. (I still stress out over this — so busy getting shoes and coats on and finding my car keys that I forget apple slices, peanut butter crackers and a bottle of water.) Remember them, and the wet wipes, and prevent melt-downs. Dum-Dums are a fine snack, bring 12. Plus they can’t bitch at you with a lollipop in the pie-hole.
12) Playdates. I thought my kids should have loads o’ playdates. Their little friends bring over germs. The friends leave, the germs stay, Mommy gets bronchitis. I would slash our playdate schedule in half if I could do it over again.
13) It’s really true that the years fly by. It doesn’t feel like it, zero-24 months, but after that? Zoom. They won’t love Elmo forever. But they will develop an affection for Chucky that will concern you.