sometimes parenting can make you feel just a little crazy


When you are preparing to become a parent, it is easy to believe your life will be completely unique, that there never has and never will be any set of kids like yours.  Friends and family who already have children will try to give you advice in response to which you will smile and nod, but only half-listen to.  You will know that you've got this.  Sure, it will be hard at times, but it's a baby.  Correction, it's your baby and everything will be never-before-seen!  Your friends are going to marvel at your parenting triumphs and Mom will start taking parenting lessons from you! Not really.  See, even if you understand that everything is cyclical and it all really has been seen before, it will be new to you.  Still, after a while, the eyes you rolled at the words of wisdom from veteran parents will now look full of awe and understanding.  There really are some clichés that turn out to be true.

Parenthood Cliché #1:  You really do think that your own child is the most beautiful in the world.

Even though you will ooh and aah over other people's babies, you're just being polite.  Sure, the baby is probably cute, maybe even really cute, but yours is definitely waaaaaaaaaay cuter.  You will be convinced that your pictures are works of art and that your baby is a sure winner in that online contest.  Pottery Barn Kids catalog has nothing on your My Pictures folder.  You may even be looking at your best friend's baby, but you will lie like a rug because there is nothing ever so strong as your own flesh and blood.  A very close second might be a niece or nephew, but even then, yours is still better looking.  Your baby could have a nasty diaper rash, a snotty nose and be crossed eyes, but she will beat out the Gerber baby any day because she is yours.

Parenthood Cliché #2:  You will know your baby from his smell.

Each baby brings that certain baby smell.  It can carry a hint (or a wallop) of diaper cream, spit-up and poo that only a mother can love.  To an outsider, the sour milk-soaked onesie may induce vomiting, but a mother wears it like an expensive perfume.  Literally, the mother usually ends up wearing it all day.  Also, a mother thinks nothing of shoving her nose in her baby's rear end to determine if a diaper change is needed.  The delicate nose which used to sniff glasses of pinot noir now goes "Bottom's up!" with new meaning.  All of these scents combine to create the most heart-melting aroma known to a mother.  This relates back to Cliché #1.  Everyone else's stinks, while yours always smells the sweetest.

Parenthood Cliché #3:  You will sound like your own mother/father.

There is no escaping this one.  "Don't you say no to me!"  "You are going to get it!"  "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."  These are usually stated with a finger pointing in the direction of the young offender and a hand on one hip.  You may begin parenthood with the best intentions of doing things differently and no doubt there will be some things that will be.  However, nurture has a way of showing its hand.  It will happen quietly, just a little bit at first and then eventually like a tidal wave you will realize that you have turned into your parents!  The worst of it is (oh yes, it gets worse), you will thank them.  You will realize that, yes, they were insane for a period of time of their lives because that's how you feel right now.  You will thank them for raising you to be the person you are today and ask for their advice.  They will play with your children, give them candy and then laugh in your face when you beg them to babysit and instead leave to go on a cruise.

So go ahead, embrace the clichés.  Much like death and taxes, they are for certain and things will go a lot more smoothly once you've realized resistance is futile.