The brilliant Heather Armstrong writes:
I am constantly surprised at how different my child is than what I thought she would be, and therefore I am SO MUCH MORE understanding of people with children in public. So when Beth mentioned that she was going to bribe her boys to sit still for the picture, I thought, WHATEVER WORKS! The old Heather would have said, “Ok,” with skepticism dripping from her voice and would have thought silently LIKE A TOTAL FUCKING IDIOT, “I will NEVER have to bribe my children.”
Katie and I were married for nine years before we had kids, and throughout that pre-parental period, I would occasionally make statements about what I would and would not do as a parent. Whenever my father-in-law Harold heard these proclamations, he would just snicker quietly and shake his head, which usually prompted an “I’m serious. Really!” from me.
Now that I’ve been a parent for over ten years, I am beginning to understand Harold’s responses. Parenting is life’s most humbling experience. Pretty much every conceived notion I had about raising children has been stomped on by little feet and flushed down the toilet (only to stop it up!). In my more reflective moments (approximately once every 4-5 years since having children), I think this is a good thing. I’m coming to realize that a life well lived is all about questioning everything.