So let’s talk about PARENTING. I have a lot of experience. I have given birth to four children. I am a stepparent to five. We had a close call when Conner arrived three months early and Adrian seriously almost put an eye out, but I am proud to announce I haven’t lost one yet. In fact, the two oldest are launched into the world and making a more than reasonable run at being responsible adults.
I get asked for advice all the time. I do my best to help, but in truth there is only one hard, cold lesson I have taken away from the experience. Whatever theory you study, whatever psychology you use to make sense of the experience, whatever totally unique personality God sees fit to entrust to you, there’s just one thing to do…prepare to be hated.
There is not one thing you will do in your life that can prepare you for this job. Nothing else will ever bring you such soaring joy or all consuming pain. You will be proud, confused, irritated, tickled, tormented, tortured entranced and amazed. What you will never be…is sure of yourself.
If you work you will think you should be home and there will be people (mostly your children) telling you should be. If you stay home there will people telling you to GET A JOB (mostly your kids) so they have a college fund. If you spank you should use time outs, if you use time outs you’ll be “sparing the rod”. You won’t be right… ever…that much I know for sure.
These people, who you went to the trouble to give life to, will look you straight in the eye and tell you exactly why and with clarity just why you suck and why you are the stupidest human being on the planet. They will lie, cheat, hate each other and make you crazy all in the same hour. They will also learn, share, love and achieve greatness. But not without doing their best to make your life miserable first.
I leave you a few moments of clarity I have lived for myself…
Don’t be fooled, children are NOT born innocent. If fact an infant’s brain is situated somewhere in the vicinity of their heiny. You will spend the next 20 years or so beating it up into the skull where it belongs. I use the term “beating” loosely. Don’t hit, it doesn’t help.
You are not doing your job if you don’t hear, “I hate you!” once in a while. Don’t worry when they say it. They will wreck the car and their love for you will come flooding back.
When your son pees in his own eye, don’t laugh where he can hear you.
Your parents were always right, but you won’t know that until it’s too late.
The kids won’t know about Chuck E Cheese or sugar cereal unless you tell them or some wretched kindergartner rats you out.
There is not a single, crappy, no-win job on the planet with better benefits.