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What Makes a Parent

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I'm member to so many parenting groups on MySpace (not to mention, I moderate six of them). But one that I'm most active of is a group called "Young Parents" - which is basically what it sounds like. The ladies in there are as young as 15 and as old as 30 (the 30 year olds are either there to be bitches and judge, or they were once a young parent as well). The group has a few trolls - people who use fake profiles simply to come in and stir trouble, but for the most part is a rather productive group.

We've had our share of stupid people in the group. I have been a member for two years now and I've certainly seen my share. But what came up last night, takes the cake for me.

There is a 19 year old girl in the group (we'll call her Bri) who has no children, has never had children, and will not be having any children in the near to distant future. She works in a day care, and actually believes that working in a day care makes her qualified to give advice to people about kids. She's made this claim before, and the mod asked her to leave the group a whole year ago (she didn't ban her..in case she ever did have children).

But last night, things got "worse" if you will. Bri actually suggested that she is raising the children she watches at work a few hours per day. You're joking..right? Let's examine her first thought...

"I have to say that there are some jobs out there that are harder than taking care of a child. I'm not saying taking care of a child isn't hard, it is. I care for alot of children everyday. The nice thing about not working outside of your home, is you get to work in the comfort of your own home. There are children annoying me all day. LOTS of children. If I am alone w/o help, I can't pee whenever I need to. You can at home though..."

First off, there is NO harder job in this world than raising a child. There just isn't. Not only is physically demanding, but it's mentally and emotionally demanding as well. We are shaping people...REAL PEOPLE. We are teaching right from wrong and literally raising the future of this world. There is no harder job, and there is no job more important either. Being a parent is the most fulfilling job I have ever known and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

We don't get to just pee whenever we need to. Either someone is trying to stick their little fingers under the door to wave at us, tries to go in the bathroom with us to "help" or they sit outside the door screaming while you just take 2 minutes to yourself to do your business. Before you are a parent, you don't even realize how precious alone time in the bathroom - even for a couple of minutes, really is.

So then, this girl starts ragging on stay at home mothers as well, basically suggesting that we have it the easiest of all. Oh, how very little she knows.

"I am sure I could handle being a stay at home mom and I still wouldn't call it a harder job than someone else's. It depends on the job. Yeah, it's a hard job, but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier and you adjust."

Oh really? I don't recall it getting any easier. Being at home all day with our children means not paying someone else to take them for even a couple of hours each day. We have them ALL day, which means very little time for ourselves. Don't get me wrong..I adore being a SAHM, but it doesn't just get easier. It gets harder, because the children grow up and the job is always changing. It's not like working at McDonald's where every day in the same and you simply get used to the routine. No..children make every day completely different from the last!

The next issue will make you laugh. A woman told her that raising children is a lot different than taking care of children like day care workers do and her response was just hilarious.

"We do raise these children. We teach them everything. We teach them how to walk, talk, use the potty, etc. It's more than just taking care of a child. This isn't babysitting for a couple of hours where you sit on a couch and throw some toys on the living room floor until the parent(s) come home."

Well, I don't know what kind of babysitting she's been doing, but I sure as hell never sat on the couch and simply threw the kids a few toys, waiting for the kid's parents to come home. That part of her comment makes me wonder what she really thinks of being a parent, and if that's what she thinks we really do all day.

As for "raising" the kids in day care. Um..I don't think so! You are NOT raising those children!!! That's what they have parents for! You are simply paid to watch over them, change them, feed them and keep them safe while their parents are out earning money to be able to support their faimilies. Watching a kid a few hours each day is not raising them. Oh boo hoo, you had to change a diaper or clean up spilled juice. That is not parenting!

Here is what it means to be a parent (Thanks to Lindsay for a few of these).

You know more about medicine than most doctors.

You discover your parents were right, damn it.

You find yourself doing and saying things your parents did and said to you despite your childhood vows to the contrary.

8:30pm seems like an ungodly hour but 5am does not.

There is a three letter word that beats sex: bed.

You can hold a conversation, monitor 360 degrees around you, eat, hold a baby and think it all normal.

You can spot another parent without speaking or even knowing them.

The idea of a good night is no phone calls, all errands done and everyone in bed before 8pm.

You miss hangovers.

The sight of vomit/blood/poo/pish/drool and any other bodily fluids have no impact on you whatsoever.

You can video, take a photo with a separate camera, sing happy birthday and blow out the candles at the same time.

You can patronize your single and childless friends with "just wait until you have kids"

You realize what non-returnable really means.

Adult interaction consists of reading emails...including spam.

The thought of watching kids sing old songs out of tune for an hour fills you with excitement and pride.

Juggling looks easy.

You can actually be not two but three places at once.

You can hand out advice like this.

You can watch your kids make and do all the same stupid things you did.

You can listen to your kids going through the same with their kids as you went through with them...and laugh about it.

You can sing the theme songs and know the characters of 72 different kids shows and movies.

Your TV is permanently set on the cartoon channel.

When you have to drive 30 minutes to go get a teddy bear you forgot because your 3 year old WILL NOT sleep without it at 2 am, then you are a mom.

When you HAVE to buy an extra ice cream because Billy (the imaginary friend) needs one too.... and you do it because it's just easier, then you are a mom.

When you are playing "ariplane" and laughing because your precious little child is laughing too and all of a sudden you have a mouth full of baby vomit without warning, then you are a mom.

When you are up until 1 am with a sick baby and you finally get them to sleep... 10 minutes later you go in to check and the diaper has exploded 5 different shades of brown and green shit ALL over the place... Now you are washing sheets until 3 am because they won't sleep without their favorite blankie, then you are a mom.

When you just finished mopping the kitchen floor and your lovely child drops the gallon of grape juice and watches it spread like wildfire under the table, fridge and stove... then says "Ohhh pretty purple!", then you're a mom.

When you wake up to giggling in the kitchen to find your child has 18 eggs cracked all over the table, chairs and floor (don't worry, one is on the plate) and the eggs are mixed with chocolate syrup... you're little chef looks at you proudly and says "Mommy I made breakfast for you" and you just smile, then you are a mom.

When your kid puts the cat in the toilet because they need to wash the marker off before you find out, and now you are kissing kitty scratch boo boo's covered in toilet water JUST to stop the crying, then you are a mom.

Until then... you are NOT a parent. And you have no idea what being a parent is.

And this is one of my favorite little stories about C.A.A.D.D.


Recently, I was diagnosed with C. A. A. D. D. - Child Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decide to do the laundry. As I start toward the
basement, I notice that there are cheerios all over
the floor and my car keys are in the cereal bowl.

I decide to pick up the cheerios before I do the
laundry. I lay my car keys down on the counter, put
the cheerios in the trash can under the counter,
and notice that the trash can is full. So, I decide to
take out the trash.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the
mailbox when I take out the trash I may as well pay
the bills first. I take my checkbook off the
table, and see that there is only one check left, my extra
checks are in my desk in the office/playroom, so I
go to my desk where I find a sippy cup full of
juice. I'm going to look for my checks, but first I
decide I should put the sippy cup in the
refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the sippy cup a
vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye --
they need to be watered. I set the sippy cup on the
counter, and I discover baby wipes that I've been
searching for all morning. I decide I better put
them back in the bathroom, but first I'm going to
water the flowers.

I set the wipes back down, fill a container with
water and suddenly I spot the TV remote, one of the
kids left it on the kitchen table. I realize that
after school when they go to watch TV, I will be
looking for the remote as they fight over who lost
it, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen
table, so I decide to put it back in the den where
it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.
I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it
spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back
down, get some paper towels and wipe up the spill.
Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I
was planning to do.
At the end of the day: the laundry isn't washed,
the bills aren't paid, there is a warm cup of juice
sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered,
there is still only one check in my checkbook, I
can't find the remote, I can't find the wipes, and
I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done
today, I'm really baffled because I know I was
busy all day long, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try
to get some help for it, but first I'll check my

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