Tag Archives: parenthood

My Kids are Computers

I pretty much have to congratulate myself on this one: when my kids were born, I checked off the box that said “Computer module.” I really didn’t quite understand what that would entail, but boy, did I make the right decision!

These days, behavior, morals, even chores—you know what? All of parenting is just not the hassle it’s made out to be! All I have to do is enter my input:

Environment.church {
behavior: reverent;
volume: 10%;
default-position: seated;
thoughts: Jesus;
}

And BAM! My kids are the most reverent at church! (It’s important to beat other people with your reverence, too.)

At home, it’s just as easy:

Operation.chores {
complaining: none;
enthusiasm: 85%;
competence: 100%;
willingness-to-see-it-through: 200%
}

Entitlement? A problem of the past!

Operation.gifts {
response: gratitude-sincere;
attutide: positive;
asking-for-more: please;
if-no: whining-off;
}

Uh . . . YEEEEAH. Right. My kids aren’t computers, and I’m betting neither are yours. For some reason, it’s sometimes hard to remember this, but kids are people. They come with their own preferences and penchants and personalities. Their default settings are the same as any adults’, really:

Default {
selfish: yes;
self-centered: yes;
ungrateful: yes;
minimal-regard-for-others: yes;
}

I kind of think they’re that way by design. The whole job of parents is to teach kids otherwise (hopefully so thoroughly that our defaults as adults aren’t the same!). But it takes a lot more than one line of code to change ingrained, inborn behaviors for a lifetime.

That’s why parenthood is so hard. It doesn’t matter how many times you teach a child to be grateful/not whine/not throw a tantrum because they don’t get something they want, they’ll probably do it again.

THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU FAILED. It means your child is still a person and probably wants some control over his/her life. It means you have to keep teaching the same lessons you’ve taught a thousand times, probably a thousand more times—basically until your kids grow out of some of the behaviors. (I’m sure there are a few you can legitimately extinguish. Biting, maybe?)

And even then, even adults slip back into these natural-man behaviors. OVERCOMING THESE ID TENDENCIES IS THE BATTLE OF LIFE. I believe one of the major reasons why we came to earth is to learn to control our bodies, our urges, ourselves.

It starts in childhood with external instruction from our parents, but it never, ever ends. Neither does the battle of parenthood.

We will teach our children the same things over and over and over again. And they’ll still not learn it, or they’ll still act up, or they’ll still be people.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because I didn’t sign up for computers. I signed up for kids.

What do you think? Are your kids computers? Are you glad? Why?

Computer monitor photo by Brian/David

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5 ways parenthood makes you really, really old

I swear, parenting seems to age me faster than anything else—in more ways than one!

Pregnancy, etc.
Aside from the fact that pregnancy brings all kinds of aches and pains that you’re not supposed to get until you’re much older—persistent heartburn, perpetual lower back pain, high blood pressure, etc.—your body then has to bounce back from the stretching and the pounds—while possibly getting used to nursing, needs and next to no sleep. I swear, every pregnancy adds like 3 years to my body’s age. Three kids—that’s like ten years!

I want to be HOOOOOWD!
My 3-year-old, a classic middle child, has a favorite wail: “I want to be hooowd!” (Hold). (Sometimes I really think that even if she were an only child I wouldn’t be able to give her all the attention and affection she wants!) Whether your kid is fifteen pounds or fifty, the constant carrying wears on your back and arms and hips. All. The. Time. You’d think the exercise would help burn of those persistent pregnancy pounds. Ha. Ha. No.

Now I want to be HOOOOOWD!

Hello, ER!
Basically about the time they decide they don’t want to be held constantly, they start getting into everything dangerous you can imagine, whether that’s the stuff under the sink or jumping off the couch—or the roof. When you’re on a first name basis with the ER staff, you know you’ve earned every one of those gray hairs.

And you thought your blood pressure was high during pregnancy? Ha.

*Scoff!*
Perhaps even before they finish the I-have-no-idea-what-safety-means! phase, they move on to the I’m-waaay-too-cool-for-you phase. As if the attitude weren’t grating enough, even subconsciously they remind you that you’re so out of touch with what’s cool you seriously can’t tell hip from hokey. (But seriously, they think they look cool? Maybe you should pull out pictures to show them what was “cool” when you were 14—if you stand the eye rolls and “Mom/Dad, that was never cool.”)

Fortunately, by now you’re usually old enough not to care about the “cool-o-meter” of a fourteen-year-old . . . but that doesn’t make you feel less old.

Time doesn’t stand still
And probably the most bittersweet of all, children become a measuring stick for how much time has passed. You might feel like you’re the same age as when you started having kids, but now they’re six—or sixteen—so obviously your math is a bit fuzzy if you still think you’re 22 or 32 (or 16!). In this crazy time warp of parenthood, it feels like just days or mere weeks since you held that new baby, taught that toddler to walk & talk, or helped that kindergartener to read (and each time, wondered if this phase would ever end). And now they’re finishing high school or college, becoming adults, getting ready to start families of their own.

Every day, I swear parenthood makes me older and older—but I know that all too soon, this phase of parenthood will be over.

And then I’ll be a lot older.

What do you think? How does parenthood make you feel older?

Photo credits: tired mom—Jason Sewell; baby rolling eyes—nerissa’s ring

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