What parents of young children want you to know…

People without kids, I get it.  I used to be one of you.  I totally understand your uncomprehending stare as I excitedly explain why this new sippy cup is THE sippy cup to have.  I try to converse about things that we mutually understand, but here’s the deal: my life is no longer mine, which means that my brain is no longer mine.  It belongs to the almost-toddler across the hall, snoozing away.

And because I used to be you, there are things that I realize now as a parent that I didn’t almost a year ago (this could apply to some of you with older kids, since I understand the first five or so years of your kiddo’s life ends up as one big blur anyway…thank goodness for baby books, right?!)  There are lots of times that my husband and I will say to each other, “Man, if they had kids, they would totally understand…”

You should know…

  1. I’m not ignoring you.  Yes, I absolutely saw your call/text/email/Facebook message.  Once I get to a stopping point, after laundry, dinner, play time, walks around the block, bath time, and endless story books, I’ll think about responding.  Or watching “True Detective” and drinking wine.  Whatever comes first.
  2. I would love to meet you for lunch.  Does 11am work?  People without kids, do you nap?  Napping is awesome, right?  Once you have kids, the opportunity to nap becomes the most awesome two hours in the history of time and space.  The reality is that naptime often falls around lunchtime; so if you’d like to do lunch, we’ll have to make it brunch, because parents don’t screw around with naptime.  Similar situation for dinner; bedtime is 7:30p.  Meeting for dinner means eating at 5p.  Be flexible with your friends who have young children.
  3. Yes, I’m paying attention.  I understand that you are asking for something as simple as my turkey meatloaf recipe, but understand that if said conversation is occurring while my toddler is in the same room, you may as well be asking me to explain quantum physics.  I hear five out of every ten words you say, because most of my attention is focused on the whirling dervish looking for the floor food that I undoubtedly missed.
  4. I’m not trying to be rude.  If you invited us over, and we came, this means that your level of tidiness is acceptable.  However, this won’t stop me from scrutinizing your floors, rugs, baseboards, and anything else on the floor.  I’m sure you do a fantastic job mopping, but unless you have a  tiny person crawling/rolling/waddling around on the floor constantly, you just don’t know how clean (or unclean) your floors might be.  So I’m not trying to be rude if I stare at your kitchen rug, I just need to know if it’s carrying salmonella before my kid lays on it to pretend he’s napping.
  5. I’m not trying to be rude, part deux.  If you invited us over, we will respect your space and rules if you can compromise and respect ours.  Please do not leave your TV turned to programs/movies that are unacceptable (example: anything with Steven Segal).  My compromise will be not asking you to turn the TV completely off (which you should do, because nothing is more entertaining than my son, trust) but I do expect you to at least make it family friendly or, at the very least, non-offensive.
  6. I’m not trying to be rude, part…three?  We have pets (actually, we have a zoo).  We love pets.  We love your pets.  But if you invite us over, and know your pets do not interact well with children, please give us a kid-friendly space, put the pet somewhere safe, or understand when we politely decline future invitations to get together.  Toddlers love cats, but the feeling isn’t always mutual.
  7. Don’t feel weird if we have nothing to talk about for a while.  You do Cross Fit, martini Thursdays and Gossip Girl.  We have dance parties to Raffi, smash carrots into bits and teach the kid how to gently pet the cat (LOLOLOL).  If you pretend like you’re interested in organic pumpkin-banana yogurt for toddlers, I’ll pretend that I noticed your haircut.  Deal?
  8. We are selfish with our son’s time.  I know you want to hang out/babysit/kidnap my super awesome son; I get it, he’s really really fun.  But when you’re two parents working full-time, the evenings and weekends can become sacred.  Don’t get offended if we decline your offer; sometimes we just want to hang out as a family.
  9. I know what I look like.  Yes, I am fully aware that I’ve been wearing these yoga pants for three days.  As long as the kid looks great, I give not two rips about my own appearance.  This isn’t Fashion Week.
  10. You will hear about how awesome being a parent is A LOT.  Seriously, being a parent is the most awesomely rad and rewarding (yet challenging) blessing that you could ever, EVER imagine.  You may hear about it so much that you decide you’d rather poke yourself in the ear with a green onion than listen to me ramble for one moment longer.  Your life is also important, and full of wonderful, meaningful moments, and you should share them.  I promise not to try and top your story with a, “GUESS WHO GOT HIS SPOON INTO HIS MOUTH!” tale.
  11. One day, should you decide to have children, I will tell you things you don’t want to hear.  Then your child will arrive, and you will tell me I was right.  This is 110% true; many mom friends told me what life would be like, what would change, what would become more important and what would become less important.  And there were things I didn’t believe or agree with back then that I now find to be absolute truths in parenting.  I have eaten humble pie, and I have told them just how right they were.  But it’s a good kind of right.

I can’t emphasize number ten enough; it is the honest-to-goodness and absolute truth.  And, like my awesome mom friends, I will refrain from ever saying, “I TOLD YOU SO!”  I will nod and smile, knowing that now you are also a member of the greatest club in the entire world, and I will invite you over for Wine Wednesdays.  Because, in case you don’t already know, moms are actually pretty cool.





3 thoughts on “What parents of young children want you to know…

  1. So great! It’s very hard sometimes for childless friends and family to understand what your going through in the first few years. I love the section about pets. My daughter yells “dog!” At every one she sees and lurches at them. I’ve watched multiple purse dogs in stores jump in fear of her now. Lol

    • OMG, pets…we have four cats and a dog, and Miles does pretty well, but seriously how many toddlers understand “pet them gently”?! And he gets so excited when he sees animals! Our dog is fairly well-behaved, and knows not to lick him in the face, but we’ve been in situations with friends whose dogs weren’t as eager to listen. That was rough, because while you don’t want to sound like a jerk, you also don’t want your kid covered in slobber. Sigh.

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