Whether you want it to happen or not, parenting introduces a whole new world. This world puts you in positions you never imagined you could be in. It introduces you to sights, sounds and smells you never wanted to experience. It is a nonstop rollercoaster that brings a new laugh, a new headache or a new heartache at every turn.
The longer you spend on this ride, the more you become accustomed to it. While the new experiences are still new, they are no longer a shock to your system. Instead of, “How did this happen?!?” you say, “Well, this may as well happen.” Instead of, “What in the world?!?” you say, “Yep, this is my world.”
And thus, you start adapting to the new normals of parenting. These are the norms that only other parents can understand. You become so entrenched in these norms that you don’t realize how out-of-touch you are with non-parents.
1. Time and again, I forget that other people are not awake at 5:15 a.m. and do not appreciate text messages before the sun is up.
2. I find myself saying things like, “Excuse me, I have to go to the potty.” To adults.
3. Wait, most people don’t crayon all over the walls of their homes?
4. When someone says they need to run out to the grocery store, I assume they will be gone for two hours and come back frustrated, tired and holding several half-eaten packages of food.
5. “What do you mean, you AREN’T excited about ‘Frozen 2’? New songs! New scenes!” (Yes, I’ll eventually tire of watching it over and over, but at least it’s a break from the first one.)
6. I have a friend who does not have children and, up until a few months ago, she had never heard, “What Does the Fox Say?” Meanwhile, I have it saved in our favorites on YouTube. We both think the other is super weird.
7. It’s not normal to leave the home with spit-up on your clothes. It’s not normal to leave the home with spit-up on your clothes. It’s not normal to – oh, whatever.
8. There are people who sleep through the night! They go to bed when they want, and they wake up when they want. This happens here, on Earth, in our country. Amazing.
9. I have a little boy. I just assume every dinner table conversation eventually turns to penises. Not true.
10. “You want to meet at 1:30? In the afternoon? Isn’t that in the middle of naptime for you? Oh, right, you’re an adult, and your children stopped napping 20 years ago. My bad.”
I assume that at some point, I will transition back to the way the average adult thinks. I won’t approach weekends with concerns over babysitter cancellations or mid-event meltdowns. I will be able to hold conversations without having a second train of thought going through my head, nagging me about child-related tasks I have yet to complete.
Until then, you’ll have to excuse me for approaching you with a baby wipe when you have something on your face, or asking you 10 times if you want to use the bathroom before we leave.