I have been doing this whole mommy-ing thing for more than 15 years.
In career land, that would probably make me a professional.
A professional mom or, dare I say, an expert?
According to my stint on Answers.com as the Parenting Expert, then yeah, totally, I am that.
But, based on my children’s inability to leave a room without turning off the lights, flush the toilet consistently, or make it an entire day without being wildly inappropriate, publicly embarrassing, and/or somehow bloodied, I’m gonna go ahead and say, yeah, not so much.
Expert parents don’t exist.
But, decent ones that are trying hard to learn from their mistakes do.
I’d like to consider myself an aspiring try-hard parent. Meaning, I am, um, trying hard to try hard.
And, I’m what you might call an eventual learner. All of these mom lessons will eventually catch up with me.
Expert Mom Tips for the Non-Expert Mom
1. There are places that you should make a vow to NOT be slow at. Off the top of my mind the car rider line at school and the babysitting sign in line at the gym come to mind. Don’t block those lines. Moms get pushy and mean when you are holding up the ditching of their children.
2. Don’t take your kids to the grocery store with you. You deserve time alone to think about the one thing that haunts you daily: what to serve for dinner.
3. Meal plan. It’s such a freaking pain in the butt. But, not knowing what to serve for dinner every night will make you want to drown yourself in the toilet, and we’ve already established that your children don’t flush. Ever.
4. Buy convenience foods. I know, fresh things you have to cut and dice and freeze yourself are healthier. Whatever. Sometimes, not having to make mama carrots into baby carrots before school will save your life. And, sometimes, convenience foods aren’t that bad. Like shelf safe milk. We discovered this little gem a couple of years ago when I was looking for an alternative to sugary juice boxes. Shelf safe milk, is the same nutritionally as refrigerator milk. It comes from the same utters (or almonds if that’s your bag). They just package it differently. FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. So you can slam it into your kid’s lunch box while you yell at him to brush his teeth before school and not have quite so much to feel guilty about.
5. And, now that you mention it, stop feeling guilty. Total waste of time if you’re a try-hard mom. You don’t deserve that crap.
6. Learn to be sneaky. No one is saying you have to give up swearing or eating cookies for dinner. Just do a better job of hiding your bad habits from your kids. Otherwise, you’ll earn a little time with #5 and, when your kid yells, “What the HELL, mom?!” across the soccer field, you’ll also have some explaining to do.
7. Say what you mean and mean what you say. I am a No-er. Pretty much always. The Dudes will ask me something and I pretty much always just say no. Why? Because when I’m distracted by all of the things going on all of time, it’s generally the safest answer. But, every now and then they will ask me something, I will give my requisite response, and then, when I take a minute to play it back, I realize I probably shoulda just said yes. Because, why can’t they go to the bathroom in the basement? Or, play outside in the yard? Or watch TV quietly while I fix dinner? BECAUSE I SAY SO. That’s why. Even though I shouldn’t have said so, I did, and I have to stick to it. Because kids love a wishy washy adult to mess with. You don’t want to be messed with.
8. Listen to your children. If #7 teaches you anything, it’s this. But listen deep. Listen well. Listen like you want to hear, not like you want to speak. You will learn so much that way.
9. Learn to say sorry. It’s good to admit you’re wrong from time to time. Not every time, but sometimes. Just to show them that you’re part human while also being really amazing.
10. Give good hugs. Especially if you’re a Dude Mom. Dudes need to be better huggers. This one lesson could mean the difference in getting a daughter-in-law who lets you have all the granny time with your grandchildren you want and one who hates you from the inside out. Just do yourself a solid and teach your little ones the fine art of the full body hug. Everyone will love you for it.