No one bothered to tell me the true rules for being a parent. I had to, like everyone else, just figure it out on my own. Now, for the first time ever, I will share some of that hard-earned wisdom with you.
What I Now Know That I Certainly Would Not Have Believed Had I Not Lived It:
- You must own approximately one million small plastic Lego pieces (this will still be deemed “not enough” by the principal Lego builder in your household).
- You will use phrases like “Get your toes off of him” or if in the next room, “Put the cat down” (you will become amazed, as will all your non-mommy friends, at your burgeoning clairvoyance skills).
- You will interpret your husband doing the dishes as a bold romantic move (on par with what your 23-year-old self would interpret a weekend in New York City or tickets to a U2 concert).
- You will now brag to your girlfriends that you completed seven loads of laundry this morning, and you will later tell your husband that it “was a good day” without a trace of sarcasm.
- You will nod when other mothers talk about pacifiers and bottle nipples and diapers and solid foods and you will find this conversation fascinating (and you might even contribute a little gem yourself, such as “our pediatrician told us to start with pureed pears”).
- Your ears will perk up when you hear a mother having a nervous breakdown and yelling at her small child in your local Target. But, instead of calling Child Protective Services (like you would have when you were single), you now rush to the aid of the mother and ask if she’d like to join you for a glass of wine in the parking lot.
- You will not mind if you have smears of paint on your bottom (for this is not your “good pair” of sweatpants).
- You will not cry when you see a balance of $39 in your checking account. Instead, you will rejoice.
- You will wake up at 6 AM and thank your husband profusely and sincerely for “letting you sleep in.”
- You will not alter your work-out routine in any way whatsoever. You will still run (after your children), lift weights (bags of groceries and kitty litter), go dancing (with your child in Kindermusic class), and go for regular walks (to the mailbox to look for your child’s special edition Lego magazine).
- In a pinch, in a situation where you have no tissues or napkins, you will let your child wipe his runny nose on his sleeve. Or your sleeve. (Maybe not even in a pinch.)
- You will find yourself speaking a strange foreign language that only other parents understand, for example, uttering things like, “If you wear this shirt for picture day, I will buy you two packs of Pokemon cards. And if you don’t, you cannot play Club Penguin for a week.”
- You will jump up and down and do a silly little dance on the front lawn when you realize that your children are fully potty-trained (even at night) and you will never have to buy diapers again (this is the exact same dance you did when you got your big promotion at your last job, a job where you got to wear suits and go out to lunch and use grown-up words like “acquisitions” and “mergers” and “capital gains tax”).
- You will seriously consider cashing in all your hotel points for a free night’s stay at a nearby hotel just so you can sleep uninterrupted.
- You will no longer dread your mother-in-law’s visits; instead, you will say, “Thank God, hold the baby!” and you will walk right out of the room. To bed.
("Miscellaneous Other Virtues")