|Parenting is a piece of cake, amiright?|
I judged everybody's parenting, and I assumed that I would absolutely do it better. Spoiler alert: I am decidedly not doing it better. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in many ways I'm doing it worse.
If you haven't yet had the pleasure and frustration of raising a child (or three), it can be really easy to stand on the outside and pass judgment. Until you're actually in the trenches, battling wills and minds with a small, yet surprisingly willful human, you don't really understand how insanely difficult it is to raise a child.
If you find yourself saying any of these five statements, stop while you're ahead. Because I promise, you're going to screw it all up, just like the rest of us.
1. I'll never have kids who scream in restaurants. Then I guess you plan to spend the next five to ten years of your life dining at home for every meal, because unless you've requested that your child have his or her voice box removed after birth, you're basically guaranteed to become that asshole restaurant patron with a screaming child. Pro tip: dine before 5pm, when you're less likely to encounter child-hating singletons/people liable to give you and your offspring dirty looks.
2. I would never let my kid wander off like that. Newsflash: kids move fast. In the two seconds you glanced down to get your car key out of your pocket, your child probably ran out into oncoming traffic, trampled some plants in the median, walked into the ice cream parlor and ordered himself a vanilla cone with sprinkles. The only way to make it through your entire parenting career without losing sight of your child is to keep him on a leash at all time, which, strangely enough, is only acceptable for actual animals.
3. My kids will always obey me. Man, I needed that laugh. The only thing your children will obey is their own desires to do stupid shit that's sure to annoy you. Your kids - toddlers, especially - will not obey you in the least. If you tell them to take their pants off, they will scream "no" and run as fast as they can and hide in the closet. Order your daughter to eat her dinner and enjoy her bloodcurdling screams and the face full of food she'll throw at you. Oh, I know, your child will be different. I'll be sure and remind you of that the first time you complain about how your kid never does what you ask.
4. I'll make sure that my child doesn't wake up before 8am. It's so weird how kids have this thing called a mind of their own and they don't really give two shits that you're not a morning person. Do you know what kids like to do between 5-7am? Wake up and annoy the Hell out of their parents by asking for things like attention and breakfast. Trust me, we've all tried to change our children's habits - we've bought the okay to wake clock, purchased blackout shades, begged them to go back to sleep - but the harsh reality is that there is an 89.7% change that your days are going to start before 7am. Yes, it sucks. But Starbucks opens at 5:30am and I'm sure I'll run into you sometime when you're ordering a venti triple almond milk cappuccino at 6:15am.
5. I'm never going to yell at my kids. Unless you are Buddha, I promise you are going to yell at your children. You know why? Because you are tired, and aggravated, and kids sometimes act like total assholes. I don't care if you meditate for an hour every morning (you should - it helps) and are one of the calmest people on the planet, your kid(s) will eventually drive you to the point of such rage and frustration that you will explode.
It's easy to point out how parents are screwing up when you have the luxury of lofty ideas, a full night's rest, and no actual children. In the world of imaginary parenting nothing goes wrong. But in the real world, the one where parents are tired and stressed and kids are cranky and difficult, every day something goes wrong. If you are a perfect parent then, by all means, enlighten the rest of us plebeians about your secret to parenting utopia. Until then, let's all agree to shut up, mind our own business, and let parents screw up their kids on their own time.