I visited a really old friend of mine last week (my best friend from grades 6-7 until she moved away) who just had her first baby, a sweet little boy named Ben. When she was hugely pregnant she had many fears and expectations of being a parent and was not afraid to talk about them. Being her one friend with a child we talked at length (over pedicures at an awesome spa/salon) about her fears and expectations. It was nice to realize that I wasn’t the only person who believed many things, and expected many more. Having my second child on the way at the time, I must admit my views on raising children were radically changed from my first time around.
I remember these all too well for myself, and I remember how long it took me to feel like I had my legs under me again after the birth of The Dictator. Thankfully, my friend seems to be coping well and has already abandoned some of the bullshit ideas we all have in our head before that first child is born.
Before you have that first child you have all these ideas (or ideals) in your mind. My expectations and the ensuing reality went something like this:
I will breastfeed exclusively. My kid needs formula since I hacked my boobs off in 2001. Yes it sucks in a way, but it is also quite nice to have a partner that can feed a child while you do other things for the family.
My child will be an excellent sleeper and on a schedule. The Deuce is an awesome sleeper already, The Dictator didn’t sleep through the night until 18 months of age.
He/She will never cry in public. They cry in public, sometimes for the dumbest reasons (today it was because The Dictator wanted a Ninja Sticker, WTF???).
He/She will never have a temper tantrum in public. Thankfully full-on tantrums in public are rare. Bad behavior and not listening is much more common.
I will never take him/her out in public wearing pajamas. I have left the house with The Deuce in jammies once. Only once. The Dictator has never gone out in jammies, not even as a baby. I really am not cool with my kids wearing pajamas all day. But that is just me.
My child will not be addicted to any one TV show. I know almost every episode of The Backyardigans by heart. The Dictator loves The Backyardigans (so do Stewart and I) and also Finding Nemo. He also loves TowMater from Cars but will not watch the movie – go figure. Having a go-to show for a kid is a necessity and a sanity saver for a busy parent who likes to shower somewhat regularly.
There will be a minimal amount of toys in the house. There are A TON OF TOYS in my house. Hence the new playroom in the basement and the copious amount of toy storage on the main floor. I am in desperate need of a garage sale but since there is one more kid to use these toys I don’t see that happening any time soon.
No soothers. It took forever for me to get the courage to take away The Dictators soother. The Deuce – sadly – is not so keen on having a soother and much prefers my somewhat non-functioning boobs for soothing.
No McDonalds or fast food lunches. The Dictator will only eat potatoes if they come in the form of McDonalds fries. Needless to say he doesn’t eat potatoes very often…
I will cook everything from scratch – free range or organic if possible. I do make many many many many meals from scratch, including breakfast and lunches. Not free range and organic at all though – groceries are expensive enough as it is.
They will eat what we eat at meal times. The Dictator seems to think I am a short order cook and doesn’t always eat what we do. it is getting better though and now he eats modified versions of our meals most nights.
I will involve them in classes to help them learn. I did some classes with The Dictator – they were too expensive. Like Gymboree. 140$ to run around 45 minutes a week? GAH! I learned playing with my kids teaches them much more then any class could.
I will shower each and everyday. I will shower every second day at this point. And be thankful that I did.
I will not be that Mom in yoga pants and a ponytail at the grocery store. Dude, I need a Lululemon closer to me – since that is all I wear now. Ponytail? Yes! I still have long hair and not enough balls to cut it yet.
What I want to know is what expectations did you have before having children, and what is your reality?