You know how you have one of those things you’re always going around saying, I mean writing on your blog, and everyone nods and is like “Yeah, obviously” but then nothing ever changes because we as a society hate change or something? Well, my favorite one of those things to say is that pre-baby preparation is so totally unhelpful and probably even counterproductive, because almost nothing you “prepare” in those months before you have a kid is really at all useful beyond the day you give birth. I mean, God, if I could take back all the time I spent pondering strollers and car seats, I would shake my former self, instruct her to buy THE FIRST ONE IN THE AMAZON SEARCH and then move on to other pre-kid tasks that actually are important like compiling a list of amazing and available babysitters or DRINKING A LOT OF WINE.
You know what’s even worse than stroller and baby bootie shopping? Baby showers. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely baby shower thrown by some of my favorite people in the world and I am in no way saying that I wish I had not had that baby shower. What I am saying is that my past self would just also like ANOTHER baby shower, one that was not just a cutesy last adorable and calm moment of my life but more of a realistic school of hard knocks version of the same event, where all the moms on the planet, or at least about 20 of them, sit around a table drinking hard liquor and doling out tips, advice, and the link to a Google spreadsheet with Cliff Notes-like summaries of every parenting book ever written. Why, you ask? Because I legitimately do not know what I am doing most of the time as a mom, and that is because I have not STUDIED PARENTHOOD the way I have studied nearly everything else in my life, and no one WARNED me before having a kid that I would not just suddenly and organically know what to do when my kid refuses to sit in his car seat or eat beans. I don’t want to be a permissive parent. I absolutely try to set limits and get that firm mean tone to my voice whenever my one-year-old tries to stand up in his high chair. I just secretly think my kid can see right through me.
A friend recently asked me, “So what are you doing, you know, for discipline?” I stared at her like she’d asked me to explain the Cuban missile crisis. She then gently prodded, “You know… time out? 1-2-3…?” That’s when it dawned on me: I am woefully behind the eight ball on this particular issue. The main thing I know about disciplining a child I heard back in 2005 on an episode of Dr. Phil where he explained that if your kid has a tantrum at the grocery store, you MUST LEAVE THE CART WITH ALL THE FOOD IN IT, whisk the child up, and go immediately home.
You know that class you took to prepare you for childbirth? It really only preps you for one 36-hour block of your life, a block of time that will be painful and difficult no matter what you do but will result in a baby at the end which is awesome and happens whether you “get the epidural” or give birth with dolphins. Meanwhile, I don’t even want to COUNT the hours I’ve spent trying to get my kid to hold my hand while crossing the street. It’s more than 36, that’s for damn sure. Where was the class on that?! The next baby shower I go to, I’m going to give a gift basket of books all about disciplining your kid, only first I need the names of those books because I don’t know what any of them are. So please leave me some of those names in the comments below, or feel free to describe your disciplining techniques: excruciating detail is encouraged.