Parenting is rewarding, amazing, fulfilling, and all those other things they say. Well, as much as I love my children and agree, at times, parenting is definitely a challenge. Although I was the baby in my own family, between baby sitting and extended family functions, I have grown up with plenty of experience dealing with children. These experiences did not quite prepare me for the actual madness and self-sacrifice that surrounds devoting your entire life to raising tiny egocentric lunatics who essentially are a living mirror that reveal to you all your own flaws in a walking embodiment of your inner Id. Before you call your nearest shrink or licensed exorcist technician, try these tips.
1. Play Hostage Crisis.
Before I even begin to explain this one, I will warn you that consent is what changes this from a game to actual grounds for removal of the children from your home. As long as all parties are willing participants, this could fill endless hours otherwise spent hiding in the bathroom. (Refer to tip #2.) Find any material that can be used to secure small hands, feet or bodies. Tell the child it is their job to play hostage and escape and decide how much time you need while carefully securing these materials. I have had many children take this game seriously and have much fun, even requesting to play it again. But again, consent is important as I did not find this game fun when my brothers decided I was playing when I was a child regardless of my willingness.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
In life it is good to always have an escape plan and parenting is no different. My stomach is quite well, but no one needs to know this. The bathroom is an amazing hiding spot. If you keep your bathroom tidy, you could even hide candy or perhaps a small bottle of wine in there. This is also a good time to catch up on your Facebook feed, or even to check out your favorite blogger. I may have just spent much time in my bathroom myself, coming up with new material for you.
3. Stopping Endless Questions.
Now this tip will not work if you are the type who folds easily. I often find myself fielding questions, actually the same exact question repeatedly. And with the limited vocabulary of small children, they often can’t even mix up the words a tiny bit to make it more interesting. This will drive the layman insane but if you put on your competitive cape and follow my words exactly, you could slowly chip away at the endless optimism of your small children.
As soon as you know your child is not asking to find out what you want to say, but rather rip away at your resolution until you surrender and reply in their best interests, you simply and repeatedly reply, “I don’t know. Ask me again in 3 seconds.” Believe me. They intend to do this anyway, but you simply suck the joy out of such a task this way, leaving them slightly confused and already slight defeated. Make sure that you hold out longer than them, especially the first time, as this will set the tone for all future common scenarios.
4. The Go Ask Mom Reversal.
Dad shouldn’t get the joy of deflection all to himself. Simply do what dads have been doing for decades and refer the child to the other parent. Bonus points if dad knows what you would say and follows in suite, and double bonus points if dad is not even home.
5. Help Inspire Your Children’s Choice in Friends
Let’s face it. The parents of your children’s friends end up in your social circle for a few years. Make sure you scope out the entire pool to choose from and match parent to kid. You can suggest casually that your child call up a specific child for a play date, but if that don’t work, you may have to lay down some incentive. Casually mention that Jenny has a big pool, since her mom looks like a lot of fun and Carry has a big scary dog, since her moms looks a little uptight.
I have gotten extremely lucky as my youngest is friends with a bunch of great kids who take after their awesome parents. I actually look forward to play dates as I get to enjoy the company as well.
6. Playing Favorites.
Even if you have a favorite child, keep it a secret. If they know, they may think that your decision is set in stone. You want them to think there is a chance of both upward and downward mobility. This can be a very motivating factor. This can get you better presents, good back rubs and can even improve behavior and attitude.
7. First Steps.
Most parent run to get the camera and can’t wait to share the news of their toddlers first vertical movements. I personally find this to be short-sighted and hasty and recommend pushing your child down, safely of course, so he or she losses self esteem and decides to stop venturing out. Once they walk, soon they run, then jump, then climb. It’s really just one bad path to start them on.
8. Mr. Softee.
Most parents cringe when they hear this music but this sound is music to my ears in the figurative sense as well. I have trained my youngest to believe that Mr. Softee only plays music as a consolation when he runs out of ice cream.
9. Follow Your Instincts.
Your instincts may seem a little off, but you are what thousands of years of genetic selection has chosen. You made it this far so the odds must be in your favor.
What do you think of these tips? DO you have any of your own? Please let me know in the comments.