Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Parent Training

I recently saw this article  someone shared on Facebook and it made me laugh.  The funniest thing to me is that I had been composing a blog post almost exactly like this when I read this one. So I'll just add a few additions to the "parent training" from what I've learned in the past 14 months.

Here are the 11 steps from the article "How to Prepare for Parenthood in 11 Easy Steps" posted on The Huffington Post:
Step 1
Hire an actor to shadow you throughout your day. This person should remain no more than three inches away from you at all times. Pay them extra to sit in your lap should you attempt to get off of your feet. Bonus points if they trip you with their body when you're walking around your home. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., let them jump on your body.
"Can I close the bathroom door?" No. Hire someone you feel comfortable with, because they will be supervising your waste elimination process.
Every 15 minutes, make this person a snack.
Step 2
Call all of your friends without children. Tell them it's been lovely knowing them, but you're going away. Let them know you'll see them on Facebook.
Step 3
It's important that you get used to completing simple tasks while being a parent. Obtain a pair of handcuffs or a zip tie. Affix one hand behind your back. Go about your day.
Step 4
If you plan on driving while being a parent, borrow three orangutans (ask for strong-willed ones) from your local zoo. Put them in rear-facing car seats. Keep your eyes on the road.
Step 5
Cooking is a big part of raising a family. Buy a copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Visit your neighborhood specialty market and acquire the ingredients necessary for her famous beef bourguignon. Spend the next eight hours cooking. When the meal is done, quickly bring it room temperature. Throw the entire pot against a wall. Clean it up.
Step 6
Parenting may slightly affect your sleep patterns. To prepare yourself for this, find the most annoying ringtone on your phone. Ask a stranger on the street to set up 2-3 surprise alarms between midnight and 5 a.m. Live like this for months. If you think you'll be tempted to complain to someone, let them know ahead of time that their only response to you should be, "This is somehow your fault."
Step 7
A huge part of parenting is constant worry. Smart parents-to-be will get themselves used to living life with moderate to severe anxiety. Hire a skywriter to spell out your full name, social security number, home address and blood type over the nearest maximum security prison yard.
Step 8
Start watching children's television programming. You might hear a popping, crackling noise in your head. Don't be alarmed -- that's just the sound of your brain melting.
Step 9
You may be gifted a child who wants to sleep with you. Joy! Practice co-sleeping by having a carpenter craft a special bed for you. Tell him you want it one third of the width of a standard twin bed. Don't use a pillow or sheets. If this is too costly, you can also just sleep curled up in your bathtub.
Step 10
Turning your car into a parent-mobile is easier than you think. All you need are:
  • 18 individual non-matching socks
  • 6 clean diapers in three sizes
  • 2 balled-up pee pee diapers (you can find these in your community dumpster)
  • 6 cups of random crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of strawberry jam or any sticky substance
  • 18 broken toys
  • 2 handfuls of confetti
  • 2 empty juice boxes
  • changes of clothes for 10 children
Mix these items together on your lawn, being careful to get the jam on everything, then throw it all inside your car and mix thoroughly. Drive around in shame.
Step 11
Visit your local thrift store and buy 10 large garbage bags of clothes. Dump them in your living room. Bring in the orangutans and start folding. Enjoy.
You're now ready. Good luck.  

And now my additions:

Step 12
Train for living in an obstacle course of random toys/household items/small children always scattered around the house. Empty everything out of your pantry and kitchen cabinets. Scatter them throughout the house. Make sure to place the colander in the bathroom floor, put your bag of potatoes in shower, and the pots and pans on the floor in front of the sink. Go about your normal routine for the day without picking anything up off the floor. You can kick things around, but don't bother picking them up. If you forget and pick something up, be sure to have your husband come behind you and put it back on the floor in a more annoying spot.

Step 13
Prepare for packing to go to the grocery store. Find a medium-sized duffle bag. Place 2 changes of clothing for each person going to the store, three mismatched socks, 1/2 package of gum, a handful of food crumbs, 8 random objects around the house, 4 diapers, makeup, a pair of shoes, a box of tissues, and a bottle of hand sanitizer in the duffle bag. If you can still close the duffle bag and lift it, gather random objects from around your home and place them in the bag. Once you can only zip the duffle bag half-way and need to hands to lift it, place the bag in the car. Go back inside to turn off the oven and get in the car. Go back inside again to lock the front door and get in the car. Go back inside once more to go to the bathroom, then get in the car. Go back inside to get the car keys and get in the car. Finally, you can leave to the grocery store.

Step 14
Train for "Mommy Brain." Make out a grocery list. Shred it and head to the grocery store empty-handed. Have your spouse write a to-do list, only writing half of each entry, then try to complete the tasks. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Start folding a load of laundry. When the timer goes off, switch to cleaning the bathroom and set the timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, switch to washing dishes and set the timer for 5 minutes. Repeat until all laundry is folded, bathrooms are clean, and dishes are washed. When finished, dump all the laundry on the floor and fold it again.

Step 15
Prepare for your heart to be full. Find pictures of people, places, and events that make you happy. Scatter the pictures throughout your home. Spend the day looking through your wedding album and watching your wedding video. Watch a movie that makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Now prepare to experience those feelings in tenfold (and more). There's nothing like the joys of parenting.

While these have all been true experiences for me, I wouldn't change it for anything. I love being a parent, but it is definitely unlike anything I've ever done before. There isn't any amount of reading or training that could prepare you for what it's like to be a parent. I am constantly amazed at what I find myself doing, just for the sake of sanity, productivity, or entertainment.