By Christina Crawford of christinacrawfordnet.wordpress.com
“My children will never act like that” said Christina Crawford, circa 2012. What a naïve, self-righteous bitch I was. I had some very strong convictions about how children should act, and I was not shy about sharing my opinions. I take back everything I said about raising kids.
1. I’ll never use the iPad/TV as a babysitter. Our pediatrician told me that repetition is good for young children. I’m pretty sure he meant reading the same books over and over and singing the same songs again and again, but I specifically didn’t ask him to clarify his remark because I wanted to make my own inferences. I took his repetition comment a step further and assumed he meant that watching the same TV show on repeat all day long is good. So, there you have it: a doctor told me it’s AOK (healthy even!) to let the little ones binge-watch Netflix all day.
2. I will not let my kid have a tantrum in public. Let’s say it together now. They’re having a hard time, not giving you a hard time.
3. I will never wait on my kid hand and foot. My oldest feels like he is an honored guest in our home and believes he should be treated as such. He likes his service with a smile, and he likes it snappy. He’s so convincing that I find myself racing around our house doing his bidding and praying he’s satisfied with the customer service he’s receiving. “Is your breakfast to your liking, sir?” “Can I offer you a refill on cheddar bunnies, sir?” “May I fetch your smoking jacket, sir?”
4. I will never be a short order cook. I’m a frickin’ short order cook.
5. I won’t give in just because my kid throws a fit. I try not do to this but sometimes (read: all times) my toddler is a ticking time bomb and MY SANITY CANNOT BEAR ANOTHER MELTDOWN. Giving in is definitely the path of least resistance, and in that moment, I’m here for it. I’m sure I’ll pay for this someday. I’ve always been a huge fan of “buy now, pay later.”
6. I will never drive a mini van. Toot toot, beep beep. They’re just so effing practical.
7. Having kids will never negatively affect my marriage. On days when my husband is engaged and helpful with the kids, I look at him with heart emojis in my eyes. On days when he is not, I lay in bed and plot various ways I could murder him. Home girl here watches a lot of Dateline, so trust me when I say I am well-versed in how to hide a body. And because I specialize in encouragement, I like to take little digs at him: “Oh, here’s your absentee father.”
8. I won’t talk about my kid all time. I’ve made an entire career out of writing about my kids. These plain speakers I gave birth to don’t seem to appreciate my cynicism, so I’ve got to share it with somebody.
9. I will never be irrational about how cute and smart my kids are. My mom and I have entire conversations that go like this:
Me: Isn’t the baby soooooo cute? Definitely the cutest kid in the entire universe. And I’m pretty sure he’s got a genius-level IQ.
Mom: I know, right?! He’s the most beautiful kid. And he’s brilliant!
We will go on this loop for HOURS. Its mind-numbingly boring, but I Just. Can’t. Stop. Talking. About how amazing they are, and my mom is the only one who tolerates it.
10. I will not compare my kids. This really wouldn’t be an issue if the kids weren’t so…. different. The oldest is a serious scholar and reads at an 8th grade level (see # 9). Meanwhile his younger brother can barely recognize the letters in his own name and maintains that 13 is the letter than comes after D. We’re hoping he’s some kind of genius artistic savant, but anything is possible.
11. I won’t just view my parents and in-laws as babysitters. But that’s all they are really. My mom helps out during the week and I often ask her to come over on a Saturday or Sunday. By Friday my kids have sufficiently worn her the fuck out, so she doesn’t even hesitate before giving me a hard no. My in-laws have now blocked my number because I harass them so much about watching the kids.
12. I will never placate my kid with a treat. “What’s that? You’re feeling a little sad/angry/frustrated? Here, have a cookie; it will make it alllll better.” Emotional eaters, here we come!
13. I will quickly lose my baby weight.This one isn’t my fault. My son was born in January and we all know what happens in January. Those motherfucking Girl Scouts come a knockin’ and I’ve never met a Thin Mint I didn’t like.
14. I will shower every day and I will never wear the same stained yoga pants for days on end. Bahahahahahahaha. I’m trying to compose myself, but I just can’t get it together long enough to form a cohesive sentence. I have 3 kids under 5. What else would I wear?
15. I will never yell at my kids. Screaming is my love language (and my main form of communication). And besides, how else will the little darlings hear me over their own shouting?
16. I won’t do anything for the kids that they could do themselves. I get this encourages independence and that’s a nice sentiment. However, sometimes I don’t have an extra five hours to sit and let my toddler put his own shoes on.
17. I will not lose my cool factor. My old idea of a good time: partying till dawn in the East Village. My current idea of a good time: sipping green tea while reading a good book and speaking to absolutely no one. I’m boring and grouchy now and I like it.
I get it now; parenting is tough (anyone who tells you otherwise is both lying and insufferable). Please consider this a formal apology to anyone I ever gave unsolicited parenting advice to.
This post was originally published on Scary Mommy.
About the Author
Christina Crawford has three boys under 6 whose behavior more closely resembles feral animals than actual human children. The truth is, she spends the majority of her time just keeping these people alive and putting out fires (actual and metaphorical). But mostly, she’s just trying to mitigate the damage to her sanity. Her writing has been featured on Scary Mommy, Sammiches and Psych Meds and the Ft. Worth Mom’s Blog. If you find her misery and misadventures in parenting amusing, you can follow along on her blog and Instagram.