Self-improvement classes held in the l&d ward daily. Results nearly guaranteed.

There’s this scary aspect of having kids in that it forces you to be a better adult.

Not a better parent, just a better person overall.

You can’t grab a bag of chips for dinner, lest your kids take note and develop their own crappy eating habits. You can’t whine about your weight lest your kids develop their own self-esteem issues around weight. You can’t yell fuckwad! at the screen every time Sean Hannity opens his mouth. Occasionally you have to you turn off the TV altogether and open a book.

You have to make the bed. (Well, at least you probably should.)

You have to watch your language when you smash your head on the couch. Hard. You can’t talk about your neighbors/teachers/parents/kids’ friends behind their backs. You have to make good on promises. You have to make good on threats.

And probably, most daunting of all, you actually have to wait until the big red hand becomes the white walking person before you cross the street–which could only be more annoying if there were zero cars coming, and not the single 1992 Lincoln going 5 miles an hour that’s still six blocks away.

There are definitely times I don’t know that I’m up for this. Even three years later, it all seems like a huge freaking personality transplant, like all my insides and vital organs have been sucked out my ears then replaced entirely with new stuff that’s programmed to set examples actually worth following.

Parenting is hard.


43 thoughts on “Self-improvement classes held in the l&d ward daily. Results nearly guaranteed.”

  1. Yes, talk is cheap. It’s easy to tell our kids what to do, but our actions speak volumes. I still worry that my daughter’s reluctance to read is because I—the once-voracious, check-out-11-books-at-a-time book reader—spend most of my “reading” time staring at a computer screen. But, I do make my bed.

  2. Amen sister! I have spent the holiday POTTY TRAINING a two year old boy. Without screaming curse words.Don’t they give out trophies for this kind of stuff? You can read all about it at!

  3. I was going to write, “Amen, sister!” But someone beat me to it. I have all boys, so not only do I have to curb my normal behaviour, I have to remember that any burps, farts, or other body functions do NOT need any discussion, thankyouverymuch!

  4. So true. So true. Sometimes I can’t wait for them to go to bed so I can curse, drink Diet Pepsi and eat popcorn for dinner.

  5. You left out the part about waking up in the middle of the night worrying about crap you couldn’t have cared less about before kids because Oh My God! Your actions affect the future of your children now and while before it was just a vague notion, now it’s a reality you look in the face every single day. It is HARD. But totally worth it!

  6. It is so much harder than I thought it would be, and I even thought it would be hard! I love them dearly and wouldn’t trade this life for anything, but Holy Crap, it is SO HARD!!!!! (That’s what she said. Hee Hee!–see, you can’t even say stuff like that around kids!)

  7. As someone who had a lot of explaining to do when her 4 year old exclaimed “Oh, dammit!” at Thanksgiving dinner I can say yeah, I understand how you feel.

  8. And when you know that you have a packages of tasty snack on a high shelf, but you can’t eat them until after kiddo bedtime because it would be setting a bad example? That drives me nuts!

  9. I know, I know, OH GAWD I know: it’s damn hard. I want to be me but crap on a stick, I’ve got to be better than that, and it’s hard.

  10. Ha! After I told Lucas that “dessert is just a special treat that we don’t necessarily have every night” I never wanted Oreos more. As for jaywalking, I’ll never forget MetroDad’s post about his daughter telling the large African American man on the sidewalk to “Wait for the white man.”

  11. The hardest moment for me was realizing that my language needed a major overhaul. No longer could I settle on “fukc” as the favored all purpose adjective/noun/adverb/exclamation. Pre-baby, I NEVER asked for things from my husband with a kind “Please” and rarely issued a heartfelt “Thank you”. So not only has motherhood made me a better person, it’s also made me a better wife.

  12. I keep saying things that are, apparently, inappropriate in front of our little ones, and when rebuked, say, “well, they can’t speak English yet!” Only now, the 2-year-old is starting to speak English and mimic. Damn.

  13. You got a point there lady. ; )P.S. I don’t make the bed but my mother ALWAYS did. So maybe my sons will, since they may do the opposite of me…. yeah… probably not.

  14. Oh, I forgot to add one of the most liberating things I read lately: You are NOT SUPPOSED to make your bed! Dust mites feed on body moisture (bluuuurggh), so you are supposed to fold the sheets back and air out your bed each day. I’m allergic to air, so I know a thing or two about battling dust mites. Now sleep tight and try not to think too hard about leetle buggies.

  15. That’s the real reason we left New York – our inability to curb our jaywalking habit.And what the hell are you doing watching Sean Hannity anyway?(Word verification: valises. It’s telling me to pack up and move back.)

  16. i ALWAYS wait for the white walking dude to cross the street. i have convinced myself that this excuses me from making my bed.

  17. maybe i am not the only one who thought last night, thank god school starts again tomorrow. after 4 days home with my toddler and baby i am so ready to go back to work.

  18. I KNOW. I still don’t make the bed though. But I DO clean up my act in countless other ways that it’s almost impossible to fathom when I actually sit and THINK about it.

  19. It’s kind of cool how it works… how being a good parent can help you to be a better person by stopping bad habits, or at least curtailing them a little bit. It’s a big responsibility! Hopefully in the future we will see our efforts pay off in how our kids turn out.

  20. You are a wise woman. It’s true that having kids forces us to do away with many of our life-long bad habits (or at least hide them very very well). I’m stunned when I hear parents breaking all the rules smack in front of their kids, and thinking that their kids are either a) deaf and blind or b) too dumb to understand what they’re saying and doing. What we do is not easy but hopefully it will make us better people and give us a whole generation of non-swearing, health-food-eating, law-abiding, avid readers (snore.)

  21. Oh ho ho! I was just thinking about this today after I was driving with my daughter and I yelled a terrible curse at a motherfucker on the road…I’m going to have to stop that soon.

  22. True – sometimes when I fall short I just come out with the truth. I tell them that hey, I shouldn’t have said or done that but I made a mistake. Try harder next time. And then I sort of quote Dumbledore telling Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix that we all have the potential to do good or evil but it’s our choices that make us who we are and out ability to learn form mistakes. And then I anxiously wait for them to fall asleep so I can blog about this stuff. 🙂

  23. Oh honey – you don’t have to teach your kids to be perfect. They need to know you are human too. They will learn by your example but they need to know that you can’t try to do everything in the best way 100% of the time without burning out. Indulge with them; have an afternoon of candy and DVDs without guilt once a month – they’ll treasure the memories. Make the beds with them and watch them mess up everything and make a den with the sheets. Show them how houmous is made and dip some low fat potato chips in it as well as carrot and cucumber sticks. Explain to them the concept of personal space while you take computer time and watch their imaginations develop as they entertain themselves without TV. Show them baking skills that involve lots of melted chocolate. Make home-made pizza with lots of lovely fresh mozzarella and bought bases as well as healthy veggies. You can have your indulgences as well as your medal 🙂 I admire you and love your blog!

  24. I’m not a mommy but I do take care of my little cousin (4 years) a lot.It’s hard, even just for the 9 hours or so that I have her [once a week]! Watching your language (so many times have I hurt my self and shouted out “sugar” or “flip” instead of swearing!), eating healthily (or not!) and also the stuff you watch on television. LOST is just not suitable viewing for a 4-year-old who would much rather be dancing along to High School Musical!Children pick up EVERYTHING so they’re bout to swear sooner or later – we just ignore it and they never say it again. Don’t think they’ve learnt that from home either…out in the city, they’ll hear it and even at kindergarten/nursery.

  25. The one thing that I have completely given up on stopping is swearing. I tried when he was younger(he’s 9), but he picked it up anyway, so the rule since he was 2 has been that he can curse, as long as he’s not at school and not in front of his grandparents/family. He has never failed at that, which just proves to me how intelligent and polite he really is.I really don’t understand why it’s such a terrible thing for children to curse. It is not the sign of a small vocabulary, as is so popularly bandied about, and is actually a source of great creativity at times, when we are thinking of things to plug into “Holy ______, Batman!”

  26. I agree, Parenting is really, really hard! Why does no one tell you this in all the baby books? It does have it’s rewards though, such as when we talk about what meladdo wants to be when he grows up whilst I hold his little hand in mine. 🙂

  27. Funny. We sent our 3-year old to her grandparents house for a week and tonight I had pumpkin pie with a side of fried mozzarella for dinner.

  28. I am completely with you on the crosswalk thing. My daughter is 3 1/2, and she always asks why everyone else isn’t waiting for the “walking guy.”All I can come up with is that we’re careful and following the rules, and won’t be hit by a car. And yes, if the other people are hit by a car, we will help them.Being a parent is hard, in strange and unexpected ways.

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