Last night I had dinner with one of the funniest women I know – we were cracking up before we even started drinking our Margaritas. It was one of those dinners where the belly laughs were so huge that I was sneaking glances around the restaurant to see if any paramedics happened to be eating there, in case we both needed the Heimlich maneuver.
When were done talking about our husbands, jobs and all those riveting subjects, oddly enough the talk turned to our kids. We began laughing, ok – howling, about how hard we tried to do everything right when they were really little, and how far we’ve fallen from grace after a few years of reality.
I confessed in a previous post that I had sunk so low that I lied to our Pediatrician about how much TV SB (Small Boy) watched. Dr. Perfect, AKA Dr. What World Do You Actually Live In? told me, with a straight face, that SB shouldn’t watch more than ½ hour of TV per day. Hello? Have you been to our house? In the beginning I tried so hard to stick to that ½ hour goal, and then I realized that no one had eaten in a week, the house looked like the slums of Calcutta, the pets were starving, and we reeked because the laundry hadn’t been touched.
In order to not wind up behind bars for child abuse and animal cruelty, I relented to one hour a day. The pets started to plump up and every now and then we’d actually be able to eat real food, rather than suck on frozen dinners for nourishment. And now, one year later, SB can watch shows in the morning and evening. Balance has been restored and we can actually go out in public without being shunned.
There are so many unrealistic expectations out there for parents – diet, how to discipline, teaching nice manners, etc. I’ve slowly come to realize that we have to cut ourselves some slack. This parenting stuff is hard – it’s not like our kids were squeezed out after 382 hours of labor clutching little owner’s manuals. I’ve also discovered that trying to do everything right is boring. I certainly don’t want to listen to a perfectly fit, self-righteous mom drone on about her kid’s balanced meals, good TV habits, and perfect manners while I’m surreptitiously wiping wine stains out of SB’s filthy clothes and digging frantically for the remote…do you?