The Unofficial Parents' Manual (Volume 1)
Probably one of the most uttered things regarding parenthood is the complaint that kids don't come with manuals. "I wasn't given a manual on how to raise you" is said often, and it is true. Children are horribly manual-less.
Sure, there are books upon books upon books written by different people about parenting in general, but there are still so many things that are left out or not discussed. So I asked you to give me examples of what should be included in the much-needed and often-sighed-about Parent's Manual, and so many of these were unflinching and horribly true. We should probably call this Parenthood: Welcome to the Shitshow -- Chapter one:
Babies are people.
"...babies are so very human, with wants and needs and likes and personalities that are all their own. And that you'll need to navigate your relationship with them the way you do any other human, by guessing and trying and being wrong a lot. And that you'll do things you don't want or hate doing just because it makes them smile."
These things will often include funny voices, visits to places you may not like, and watching the same show or movie so many times that you start feeling as if you recreate it word for word in your sleep.
You know nothing.
"No one has this shit figured out"
Seriously. No one. Most of the people who say they do are just really, really good at pretending.
It all depends on the day.
"So often you find yourself questioning if you are "doing it right", and then there are also those days where you're over the moon happy to be a parent and feel on top of the world. Some days you feel a lot of guilt, other days you feel like you've got this. Some days your kid is an angel, some days you're pretty sure that demon-possession is real due to your kid's behavior."
As if our emotions aren't enough to balance after birth, by having a child we also take on the emotions of a whole 'nother person. This little person will at times be as emotionally unstable as you are while your hormones are balancing out. Which brings us to the next bit of wisdom...
Go ahead. Cry.
"You don't HAVE to be happy and perfect everyday. It's okay for moms to have bad days, too. It shows your children that you're human."
Kids don't want robots in place of their parents. Well, they do, but for like a day. Then they want someone who understands what it's like to cry, to have to pee, and to have a bad day. Let them know that you're that someone, and that it's okay if they are sometimes, too.
Don't forget to be you.
"...you don't have to be a mom 24/7. That it's OK to want to be you for an hour a day. That you were someone before you were someone's mother, and you are still that someone. That "mother" is not the all defining term for who you are."
Motherhood can be a part of who you are, but it's not all you are. Don't forget to dance, draw, rock climb, or watch trashy TV if that's something that gives you extra life. The more complete you are, the more complete your children will be. No one has fond memories of being raised by half a person.
Wanted: Friends who love play dates
"It's so so so so isolating. I think I had this image in my head of play dates and vacations and trips to f'ing chick fil a with all my new mom friends but in reality I just sit at home alone and watch Super Why with some trips to the park mixed up in there."
Moms aren't very good at making friends. More on this another time, but if you're wanting friends with kids and you don't have any at the moment, it calls for a little more bravery than you're used to. But you should still do it -- there are tons of people out there who would love your friendship just as much as you'd love theirs. Get out there (or use an app to "get out there" -- whatever works)!
Your shirts will suffer.
"Never buy nice shirts bc you will either leak through them; or your child will destroy the neckline"
You need help. We all do.
"Let. People. Help. Especially in those first few months when people actually offer. They won't offer for long."
As sickening as some of those "mommy villages" can get, they have their place. When you need for something, be it company or food or support, remember that you aren't alone. There are a ton of us out there who know what it's like to yell and then immediately hate yourself for it, or to wish that you could just this once eat food that you want, rather than chicken nuggets that your toddler turned away from after begging for them for hours. We get the struggle of wanting to be a whole person but never having the time. We know that sometimes, you just want a hug and SILENCE. And we're here to give it; all you have to do is remember to ask, and it's so incredibly easy most days to forget.
There were so many other great suggestions and it couldn't fit for this week. What would you suggest for the Unofficial Parent's Manual? Leave a comment and we may include it in the next volume!