Parenting 101

The Otey Kids-AJ, Jace, Jonacye, Jacqueline and Isaiah

Parenting. It’s one of the most important jobs a person can do in their lifetime. It’s an awesome, rewarding, life-changing experience that is not for all but a dream fulfillment for many. I love being a parent. My children bring me so much wonder and joy. Every day that I have them in my life is a day that I cherish. Now, that being said, becoming a parent is so much more than the dreamy violin playing moments that so many images portray. You know what I mean. The cute little baby commercials where the baby is laying there peacefully, wearing nothing but his birthday suit, sucking a thumb and looking into the camera. Or how about the one where the mommy is running through a field, wearing a flowing dress, flower petals everywhere, her wonderful offspring running along beside her, little curly hair flying, looking like the only joy they have ever experienced in life is running through that field. Oh no, parenting is not always so pretty. Sometimes it’s more like a hard rock concert, you know, a lot of noise, a lot of screaming, and a banging headache when it’s all over. This blog is my attempt to share every part of being a parent; the good and wonderful moments as well as the not so joyous occasions. If you are a parent already, I hope you can relate. If you are not yet a parent, then it is my duty to make sure your anticipation is chock full of reality because no one should enter into this arrangement with a misunderstanding of what’s to come. So, in order to help you prepare, here is my Top Ten list of things you may want  to do to get ready for parenthood…

1. WRITE A CHUCKET LIST. It’s a lot like a bucket list but instead of writing down things you would like to do before you kick the bucket. It would be a list of things you want to accomplish before you have a child. If you can scratch of just one of these items you will have a wonderful memory to cling to when you are spending your days and nights in a sleep depraved fog trying to remember pertinent facts such as your name and date of birth.

2. BABYSIT. And make sure you get a good mixture of children because having a child is like playing roulette. You never know where the ball is going to land. You could have a mild mannered quiet child or a hot tempered little piece of work. Either way, babysitting will get your nerves ready for the endurance race of a lifetime.

3. PRACTICE COMPLETING YOUR DAILY TASKS WITH LITTLE TO NO SLEEP. If you are used to getting your eight hours in, stop it. You are setting yourself up for failure and misery. Even the easiest of babies do not sleep more than a few hours at a time. Your best bet is to wake yourself up every 2-3 hours per night for several months and see how you like them apples.

4. VISIT A PEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE. Just sit there for an hour and watch. This is a good way to see sick kids in action. They aren’t happy campers and neither are their parents. Oh, and you may want to clear your visit with the people in charge first, weird childless people who are hanging around sick children and their sleep depraved parents are just asking for trouble!

5. BOOK A TRIP, ANY TRIP. Pay for it and schedule a few days off work. Then, the day you are supposed to leave, don’t go. It’s gonna suck, you will be angry and unable to figure out why you even bothered, but you will be better able to deal with the disappointment when you pack your minivan for the trip to Disney only to have your child projectile vomit as you’re backing out of the driveway.

6. START EATING MCDONALD’S. Even if you don’t like their food, have a happy meal. I don’t know what it is but kids have their own advertising network. I think they learn about mcnuggets somewhere between the womb and the hospital nursery.

7. SPEND A DAY WATCHING TV. Don’t pick those fun adult shows that you can discuss with your coworkers at the water cooler. Instead, immerse yourself in the joys of Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, Blues Clues and whatever other kid shows you can stomach. Oh, and make sure you watch the commercials. It will help you know what fabulous trinkets and gadgets you will need to keep your little mini me happy for years to come.

8. GIVE PARENTING ADVICE TO SOME EXPERIENCED PARENTS. Make sure they are sleep depraved and frazzled before you provide them with your opinion on some new innovative ways they can raise their children. You will likely anger them and there is no better way to get the truth out of someone than to make them mad about a topic think they are an expert in and you know nothing about.

9. DO LAUNDRY CONSTANTLY FOR AT LEAST A WEEK. Even if you just finished washing your clothes and towels, do it again. As a matter of fact, don’t even wear them. Just wash and dry them over and over again until all you want to do is take them out back and light a match to the whole bundle. Then wash them one more time…

10. PUT YOUR DVR TO GOOD USE. Use your DVR to record your favorite TV show or movie. Then sit down, grab some popcorn, and start watching. Then every 2 minutes, pause your show for thirty seconds.  It should take you about four hours to watch a 30 minute TV show. This will prepare you and help you limit your favorite shows to maybe one since that is all you will have time to watch any way.

Now this list is just a starting point. Master these few things and you will be ready to enroll in the advanced class sometime in the near future. Happy parenting!

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