Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

By Veronica

1. When I was pregnant with my first child, I visited a friend who had two kids. She had a lovely home, and a dining room set that still looked like new. So new, in fact, that the upholstered seats of the chairs were still covered in their original plastic. She kept it on so they were easier to clean.

And I thought to myself, “That looks tacky. I would rather clean a chair a hundred times than leave plastic on the seat like someone out of Mama’s Family.”

Now that I have four small children, and have scrubbed and scrubbed the upholstery of our dining chairs a hundred times, I want to say to my old friend C, wherever she is: I wish I had left the plastic on my chairs. You were a wise, wise woman. I was a fool.

2. Every time you think you have finally become used to the stench of soiled diapers, it gets worse. The progression of hellish stink goes like this: breastfed infant < formula-fed infant < infant who eats solids < infant who eats meat or cheese < infant who drinks cow’s milk < multiple diapered kids.

You have been warned.

3. You may think that tv show you love has nothing inappropriate in it, but the first time you watch it with your children around, the plot will take a sudden swerve to include the murder of a prostitute by a foul-mouthed, racist, embezzling schoolteacher with herpes. The big networks plan it that way.

4. A brontosaur is no longer called a brontosaur. If you call it that, your dinosaur-loving children will look at you like you are speaking Martian, and you will lose all credibility with the four-year-old set.

And what about you? What have you learned the hard way?

Veronica can usually be found documenting her steep learning curve at Toddled Dredge.

31 Responses to Things I Have Learned the Hard Way
  1. Sandy
    June 30, 2009 | 12:53 am

    I have learned the hard way that just when you think you have something figured out (like a sleep routine), everything changes. I just posted about my struggles to get my four-month-old to sleep better. I will never judge parents of problem sleepers again.

  2. Mozi Esmes Mommy
    June 30, 2009 | 1:28 am

    Parenting does sound pretty grim! What I’ve learned is that all the work I’ve done on my career track has no relevance here. Who cares how many times I was manager of the year – with baby in the picture, I am a dribbling idiot without a clue… Self esteem has to come from a whole new area.

  3. Musings of a Housewife
    June 30, 2009 | 7:42 am

    LOL. This is great. I can relate to EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

    What have I learned the hard way? Hmmm… Plenty, but nothing is coming to me at the moment. Mama needz mo coffee.

  4. Sherri K. Edman
    June 30, 2009 | 8:01 am

    I’ve learned a LOT of things the hard way, but at least half of them could be grouped together under the general heading of O Crap, It Turns Out The Rules Do Apply To Me, After All.

  5. Heide Mueller-Hatton
    June 30, 2009 | 8:12 am

    I think just about EVERYTHING I’ve learned as a mother has been the hard way. I always tell my preggo friends that you can try to gather as much info etc before-hand, but there is just NO way of truly preparing for parenthood or knowing what will happen. You just have to live it to learn it.

  6. Karen
    June 30, 2009 | 8:37 am

    I have learned that it really is next to impossible to keep a really clean home with two little ones. Unless I have a nanny, a housekeeper, or am willing to miss alot of precious moments with my babies. I was a little too smug as I kept an extremely tidy home with one baby. I now see the error of my ways.

  7. Emily E.
    June 30, 2009 | 8:38 am

    ok- let’s just back this train on up. What exactly are we calling Brontosauruses these days?

  8. Heather of the EO
    June 30, 2009 | 9:07 am

    Trying to stop boys from making a gun out of everything from sticks to bread, and then “shooting” everyone is a total waste of time. *sigh*

    This post cracked me up, by the way. Your hilarity is hilarious.

  9. Veronica
    June 30, 2009 | 9:13 am

    Emily, what we used to call a brontosaur has been divided into more species, none of which is called a brontosaur. Try apatosaurus or diplodocus.

  10. Sherri K. Edman
    June 30, 2009 | 9:13 am

    I thought of something else I learned the hard way:

    NFP is hard to get right. Exhaustion-based birth control, on the other hand, seems to be pretty darn effective.

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  12. Tonggu Momma
    June 30, 2009 | 9:36 am

    It’s not worth the battle to dictate what your child wears out of the house. As long as she’s clean and dressed appropriately for the weather, who cares that she’s wearing rain boots with a Princess dress and five different colored necklaces while carrying a wand?

  13. Miche
    June 30, 2009 | 1:48 pm

    Um, I’m going to sound REALLY dumb here, but what is the brontosaur called now? He was my favorite dinosaur! At least I did catch the news that Pluto is no longer a planet, which is sad since that was also my favorite planet…

  14. Beck
    June 30, 2009 | 3:27 pm

    No kidding about my favorite tv shows all becoming horribly inappropriate! My kids think Murder She Wrote is about a nice old lady who rides a bike and hangs out with Amos Tucker in her kitchen. The rest? I change the channel.

  15. Jennifer
    June 30, 2009 | 5:36 pm

    THEY CAN HEAR YOU. And they hear everything.

    Sleep is sacred.

    Never expect thanks from a child.

  16. Carrie
    June 30, 2009 | 9:12 pm

    Oh, my. Everything. Just today a college-age girl was talking about a friend’s preschooler who apparently gives people nasty ‘looks’ on a regular basis, and she made the comment, “My child will do that once, and not get away with it again.” And after just 18 months of parenting, it was all I could do not to laugh in her face.

    There are no perfect parents, just those who daily rely on God’s strength and grace to do their best (and, hey, that’s not me EVERY day). 🙂

  17. Happy Geek
    June 30, 2009 | 11:37 pm

    Every time I get something figured out, it changes.

    Never leave a potty training child alone on the potty when they are mad at you. NEVER.

    Parents of small boys say p*nis at least ten times a day. Ie, leave it alone, don’t wave it at your brother, aim it at the toilet, not the wall etc.

  18. Liz
    July 1, 2009 | 1:39 am

    Um, I learned the “new” names for Brontosaur but I didn’t think I was “young” enough to have new info for things like that. I mean, Pluto was certainly a staple in my styrofoam solar system. Hmmm, I’m going to have to rethink this…

    And what have I learned the hard way?

    A few here:

    girls can pee or poop (when infants) as quickly and with as much damage as the boys with “hoses” – be warned.

    when you think, “This moment is so precious I want to remember it forever” be prepared for God to take of that. Maybe with a baby finger up the nose and subsequent bleeding.

    i did not recover my body after nursing. apparently it still belongs to my children and their hurling, weighted, running hugs. the 5 and a half year old is quite strong… is this what they mean by love hurts?

    but it’d learn it all again.

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