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The Parenting Fine Print

Today, as I was hunting for my mailing tape for the eleventeenth time I began muttering under my breath about how nothing stays where I put it any more because of those kids. And that led to this list.

The Buried in the Fine Print Not-So-Good

  1. Nothing is off-limits. Your kids will touch everything. They will move everything. They will break lots of things. Your packing tape, chapstick, stapler, glue, remote controls, phone…. all will disappear and reappear in the most unlikely would-never-think-to-look-there locations.
  2. You will have an audience in the bathroom, in the shower, in the bedroom.
  3. No amount of hand-washing can counteract direct germ-to-mucus-membrane contact. You will catch every cold they do because they will sneeze and cough straight into your eyes.
  4. The volume of laundry will triple with a new baby. You will no longer be able to re-wear a pair of jeans or a favorite shirt without washing out the spit-up, blow-outs, and baby snot first.
  5. Kids are pros at food-flinging. Your dining area will never be the same.
  6. They will carbon-copy every bad habit and character flaw you have.
  7. You will never find the last Lego.
  8. Bad things happen. Life doesn’t look like a 30-minute episode of “A Baby Story” on TLC. Kids get sick. They are born with incurable conditions or life-threatening diseases far more often than anyone wants to admit. Children get hurt. You’ll spend far more time than you dreamed possible sitting in waiting rooms somewhere, talking with specialists of some sort, facing at least one of your worst fears.

But then I remembered that parenthood surprises aren’t all terrible. And since I’m a parent and that’s irreversible, I better focus on this list instead.

The Unexpected Unquantifiable Good

  1. Little arms wrapping around your neck in a tight squeeze will carry you through days of grueling sick-duty, tantrums, and flying food.
  2. Seeing a little person master a new skill after countless failed attempts is far more fulfilling than making a big sale or nailing a presentation.
  3. Catching your child showing compassion to another when they don’t know you are watching feels as important as peace in the Middle East.
  4. You will laugh til you cry and cry til you laugh.
  5. You will never be the same again, and that will be very very good.
  6. Even when the bad things happen, you can find something to be thankful for and someone else to encourage, if you make the choice to look.

I need to accept the good with the bad and accept the sacrifices required to be a mother. And enjoy the good things.

What would you add to these lists?

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