I owe you all an apology. I am so sorry for all the things that I silently thought as I watched you go through your day to day lives. I am sorry for the judgements that I passed, aloud, behind your backs. Clucking my tongue, shaking my head, and declaring the infamous, “Well, I’d never…”
I’m sorry I was such an asshole.
I’m sorry, I beg your forgiveness. And if you have any sway with the universe, can you let them know that the karma has sufficiently been dished out? My lesson has been learned.
Parenting is the worst.
Children are the worst.
No, toddlers are the worst.
I wish that I could go back in time to when I knew everything that there was to know about parenting… you know, before I actually became a parent.
It wasn’t you, it wasn’t your bad choices or your lack of knowledge of better ways. It was the kids, man. They were the problem, not you.
Tonight as I put my daughter to bed…
Let me start over.
Tonight, as I attempted to put my daughter to bed… and I say attempted because I had to stop before I even got her into her bed because the sheets were wet…
I pulled off the sheets and discovered that the mattress pad was wet too. As I balled up the sheets to throw them into the hamper I noticed a huge orange stain. Upon further investigation I discovered a pile of soggy pizza flavored goldfish crackers laying in the cracks of the bed, resting along the yellow and gray bed skirt.
Why was the bed wet? Why were the fish soggy? Toddlers, that’s why. Not because I was neglectful. Not because I was a bad mom with a messy house. Because of toddlers.
Earlier in the day my daughter had absconded with a fist full of fish and her cup. Apparently, between the time she left the living room until the time I caught up to her she spent a glorious two minutes taking massive gulps of water, then spitting it out in a cascade of drool and H2O onto a pile of unsuspecting crackers.
Maybe she was trying to return the fish to their preferred habitat, maybe she wanted to see what would happen if she spit water on crackers, maybe she’s just an asshole… we’ll never know why. All we know is that it happened. And instead of getting my daughter ready to sleep I had to completely change her sheets, spend a fruitless three minutes trying to cram my hand between the slats of her crib to reach the wayward crackers, explaining everything that I was doing to my husband as I went.
Before I could get any further in our bed time routine I managed to step on a wayward Cheeze-it that was half hidden under the rest of her bed (we like our cheese based carbs in this family). I spent another few minutes pulling crackers from under the front of her bed and picking up tiny crumbs to throw away.
All the while my daughter, who was supposed to be minutes from sleep, was racing up and down the hallway with a toy phone yelling at the top of her lungs. Actually, yelling is not the right word, it was more like a shrill battle cry that echoed back into her room where I was currently wrestling with the world’s smallest fitted sheets.
I stopped at that point, looked at my husband, and said the words that I have said many times over the past two years, “I take back everything I have ever said about people with kids.”
Yeah, I judged your messy houses. Yes, I rolled my eyes when you said you wanted to get home to tuck your kids in instead of hitting the happy hour with me after work. I wasn’t having your excuse that you were an hour late coming over because you “just couldn’t get out of the house.”
But now, now I’m having it all, and I apologize.
I have crushed Cheerios imbedded (maybe permanently) into the souls of my slippers. I had to call my daughter’s pediatrician to tell them I was going to be five minutes late last month even though we had started getting ready an hour before we had to leave in order to get there twenty minutes early. Somehow we didn’t manage to actually walk out the door until 10 minutes before we were due to be at the pediatrician’s office.
So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for everything. I fully accept my karma payment. My “what goes around” coming around to bite me on my perfect parenting ass.
I think that the real truth is that no matter how much you try and explain to someone how hard parenting (especially parenting toddlers) is, you can’t do it justice. You’ll never be able to perfectly articulate why the couch is wet or how getting one additional person ready in the morning quadruples the amount of time it takes to get out the door.
Maybe it’s because as non-parents we can’t fathom the millions of things that can happen in any given moment when you’re dealing with someone that is brand new to everything in the world. Maybe it’s because we want to think that we’ll be so much better at it. Our kids won’t eat carbs with abandon, our kids won’t have food anywhere other than the kitchen table, our kids won’t refuse to put their shoes on for twenty straight minutes.
We’ll do better because we’ll be better, we’ll know better.
Yeah right. We’ll do the same thing every other parent in the world is doing, which is the best that we can.
Hopefully we’ll all have the grace to apologize for all of the things we knew so much more about, you know, before we had the kids.
I am so sorry.
Please make it stop.