1. Internet lists are a whole bunch of bs. Yes, even this one (well, really it’s more snark, but wev). We’ve all seen those [Random Number] Things I Wish I’d Known About Raising a Girl/Boy/Girl lists, right? Guess what. Bullshit. I can honestly say that I’ve experienced all 19 of the things listed in the Girl and Boy lists from Today.com at least once between my two children. Not according to the breakdown there, though.
2. Kids are different.
3. No really. Even identical twins.
4. If you go into parenthood thinking that any one thing is going to determine your child’s personality, you are in for a world of disappointment. Now, I know this is hyperbole (at least I hope it’s hyperbole), but egads.
5. Trucks and automobiles and teddy bears and glitter and flowers are in your future. Because almost all kids like these things. You know when they especially like them? When we get the hell out of their way and let them learn for themselves what they love.
6. A trip to the ER is in your future. It may be because your child is 11 weeks old with a 102 degree fever (my first trip with my son), or because your child has fallen and cut themselves on a dollhouse (my second trip with my son), or because they tripped while wildly playing and fell off playground equipment (my first trip with my daughter). But you will almost certainly have some sort of emergency that requires medical attention at some point in the first 10 years of their lives. Not because they are boys or girls. Because they are kids.
7. Your kid may be way more or less gendered than you expect. You may have a kid who loves pink. Or a kid who loves blue. Or who loves tutus or dressing up like a superhero. Or who loves playing with Star Wars toys or My Little Pony. Your kid may like catching frogs in glittery shoes or tucking their baby doll to bed in cowboy boots. Or every single one of these things depending on the day. Because all of these things are super cool and fun. Or, no matter how egalitarian your household, you might have a kid who picks up on every gender stereotype and runs with them.
8. Your kids will challenge you. No matter who your child is, even if they are your mini-me, they will rock your world in ways you never thought possible. Just when you think you have a handle on bedtime or favorite foods or how to get your long haired child to let you actually brush it for once, they will throw a wrench into your well laid plans.
9. Parent the kid you have, not the kid you thought you wanted. So, damn. I said I was going to be all snark, but really, there is some serious stuff here. If you take anything away from this, please let this be it. Love your kids for who they are. Encourage them, sure. Share your dreams with them, fine. But don’t live through them. Live with them and love them for who they are.
Featured image by flickr user cavale.