Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Tell You’re No Longer a Rookie Parent

With a 6 year old and a two and a half year old, I’m not a veteran parent. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve moved out of the rookie stage. This doesn’t mean all of the pieces have fallen into place or that I’ve suddenly achieved perfect parent status.  Yet,  there comes a time in your journey through parenthood when you finally feel like, Hey I’ve got this….at least until you reach the teenage years.  Here are a few ways you can tell you’re not a rookie parent anymore.

You Can Handle the Dreaded Stomach Bug: If you have kids, at one time or another, it’s likely your children will catch a stomach bug.  The first time it happens, you might cringe when you see the barf.  You might want to close your eyes and hope it’s just a dream.  But it’s not.  A veteran parent is so used to the norovirus, rotavirus, or the too-much-dairy upheaval, that he/she takes it in stride.  This doesn’t mean I don’t immediately wash all of our sheets and clothing in scalding water and spray every bathroom fixture down with bleach.  However, I do it with a Mary Poppins-esque ease.

You Don’t Care What People Think: When you are out in public with your kids, there is always going to be someone who gives you “the look” of disapproval.  It might be because your baby’s sock fell off in the 80 degree weather (Oh, aren’t his feet cold?) or your child is throwing a tantrum in aisle seven at the grocery store.  As for unsolicited parenting advice, I just smile, nod and keep walking.

You Can Multi-task Like No Other: My life is about multitasking….except when I drive.  Doing squats while I brush my teeth.   Walking on the treadmill while I watch television.  Pulling weeds while my kids play in the backyard.  Soothing my toddler while I throw in a load of laundry.  And, at the end of the day when the air is still and my house is finally quiet, I feel good knowing I’ve checked off 75 percent, okay 50 percent, of the things on my to do list.

You’ve Chilled Out a Little: I’m pretty uptight when it comes to the food my kids eat.  I still worry when my kids have a high fever.  However, I’ve stopped sweating the small stuff.  For instance, I realize my kids are going to get scratches and bruises.  Sometimes, toddlers drop food and then eat it off the ground.  I’m not going to pretend this doesn’t bother me but I’ve definitely chilled out a little.  Likewise, I’ve learned what battles to fight with my kids and if I’m feeling stressed out I know an extra 24 minutes of "Care Bears" (We have Netflix)  isn’t going to make their brains turn into mush.

Did I miss anything?

Check back with me in about 10 years when I’ve got two teenagers and I may be right back at rookie mom status.  Until then…..

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