I'll be the first person to admit that, in our society, parents are often put on a weird, unfounded pedestal. Not all the time, mind you, but sometimes people expect you to just know things because you happened to pop out a kid or two. Meanwhile, us moms and dads are feeling just as clueless as anyone else... we're legally responsible for small, helpless creatures. Still, there are being a parent will make you an expert in, and that can be pretty damn cool.
For the most part, we become experts in little things; things that, on the whole, come down to the fact that you're pretty constantly engaged in a relevant situation all the time. Not to mention, alternative to becoming an expert is, literally, everyone running around screaming all the time. You'd be surprised at how much needing to be an expert can make you one, and with literally no other related preparation.
It's also beneficial to remember that this specific kind of expertise is non-transferable outside of your own personal parenting situation. Like, I'm an expert in how to get my kid to go to bed, but someone else's kid? Well, I have no idea. None. Drawing a complete blank. Still, here's some of the infinite wisdom you can expect to revel in parenting your own kids:
How To Do Everything In Absolute Silence
I know what some of you non-parents or expectant parents are thinking: "When our baby arrives, we're not going to change our volume at all. We're not going to coddle them. They'll deal. You're creating your own monster if you insist on quiet every time they sleep."
Hell, I thought that before my son was born. And then he arrived and I realized I would do literally anything to preserve even an hour of unbroken sleep. My husband and I kept pretty quiet when he was snoozing so, as you can imagine, we got really good at doing basically everything silently. It was like A Quiet Place, without the weirdly designed CGI aliens.
Is that a pain cry? A pissed off cry? A rambunctious, raucous scream? Every now and then you'll panic and be thrown for a loop, but on the whole you'll be able to decipher the meaning of assorted and ultimately wordless cries, shouts, and babbles with ease.
Telling Real Tears From Fake Ones
I'm all about doing my best to validate and honor my kids' emotions, so I don't mean to say that I want to ignore when they're legitimately upset
But when you're little, you're still learning how to do everything, including having and handling emotions. So there are times when their reaction is a lot more about what they think their reaction should be versus how they actually feel. As a parent, you get to tell the difference between genuine emotional responses and playing at one... and how to shut down the latter with either a withering look or distracting them with a joke or, yes, a small bribe.
Your Child's Favorite TV Show
Hey! Do you know about Pokémon? Do you want to know about Pokémon? Because I know all about Pokémon. I didn't want to, but I do, to the point that I've actually referenced Pokémon in conversations with other adults, who certainly do not know or care about Pokémon, and what even is my life?
Preparing The Five Foods They Willingly Eat
If your kid is like most kids, they will at the very least go through a phase where they're picky eaters. Mine have been in this phase for about four years now.
The silver-lining, however, is that you will be able to whip up a couple of dishes in your sleep with your hands tied behind your back and, I gotta say, there's a certain pride in that.
Determining When Sick Is *Actually* Sick*
It's easy to do the whole "when in doubt keep your kids home" thing, but, seriously, if I kept my kids home for every sniffle, cough, or runny nose they literally wouldn't leave the house between the months of October and June. There's always something going on, even with healthy kids, and as a parent you become an expert in telling the difference between the stuff you should take seriously and sending them to school with a pack of tissues.
Parenthood means doing way more laundry than you ever imagined possible. You wouldn't think so, but between their clothes (which they're constantly pooping on when they're babies and generally schmutzing up when they get older), towels, and linens, in addition to your stuff (which, incidentally, is also constantly getting schmutzed up on account of the little one), you'll feel like you're drowning in a sea of cloth.
But you get good at two things: figuring out how to manage it all (even if that means learning to live out of several unfolded baskets of laundry) and learning how to hold off on laundry until the last possible minute.
I'm brilliant at the latter.
And I mean both at determining whether your child is lying to you (something will always give them away) and lying to your children. Yeah, I said it: lying to your children. It is necessary and IDGAF if that makes me hypocritical. Parenting is hard and sometimes you just need to lie.
"I'm sorry, honey, there are no Chuck E. Cheese restaurants around here."
"That truck playing music with pictures of ice cream on it? That's the music truck. Isn't it nice? Yeah, no, I have no idea why they have all those pictures of ice cream on it. So weird."
"If you pee in the pool the water will turn red behind you and everyone will know you did it."
I ain't sorry.
Sleeping On Three Inches Of Mattress
"Oh I don't plan to bedshare," you say.
OK. Your kid has not agreed to this and there will be a time when they come into your bed (if they're like mine, in the wee hours of the morning) and shove you to the absolute edge of your mattress where you will develop some truly impressive core strength as you teeter precariously on the edge until your alarm goes off.
Spotting Danger Wherever You Are
I don't mean to condescend the child-free folks, but the truth is you can't understand what kind of danger a child can get into until you are constantly responsible for one and can see that they're all apparently cruising around with a death wish.
It's just a weird genetic thing that happens. I don't know what the evolutionary purpose bad puns and unfunny jokes serve, but the instinct to make them is so powerfully strong that I feel like there must be a higher purpose we just haven't discovered yet. Generally this is stronger among dads than moms, but do not be lulled into a false sense of confidence that'll you'll retain any coolness whatsoever in this regard.
Keeping Your Sh*t Together (Or Appearing To)
It doesn't always feel like you're doing it, but you are. You're an expert on how to run your life! Even if it's not going the way you hoped it would, no one intrinsically knows how to do things better than you do.
I know it sounds precious and corny but it's true and, honestly, it's really damn cool to be an expert on someone you love so much.