Wednesday, February 1, 2017

5 Times Your Brain Goes on Parenting Auto-Pilot

Parenting doesn't just change you: it hijacks your brain. We just can't seem to help ourselves from being moms and dads, even when our kids are nowhere near.

Can you hold a grocery bag on your hip without swaying if you've had children? No way, and I bet you also do the rest of these, too.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

You know your brain went on parenting auto-pilot....

When you swayed gently while holding a grocery bag on your hip.

Years of bouncing, shushing, and jiggling a cranky child has ruined my ability to just stand there. Once I caught myself in mid-sway while running errands, chatting with a friend I ran into at the drugstore. It wasn't until I forced myself to stop that I realized she'd been doing the same thing, and neither of us even had children along. It was just two grown women, facing off and swaying side to side like dandelions in the breeze for absolutely no reason.

When you asked another adult if s/he needed to go potty before leaving.

Or when you announced to your co-workers that you had to go potty. Or basically whenever you said "go potty" in adult company at all. But maybe that's understandable since the first 3-5 years of a child's life are basically a 24/7 master class in pee and poop. No wonder we don't know how to talk about anything else.

When you gave your kids commands that made no sense.

I never noticed it before, but now that I'm a parent my mouth spits out authoritative phrases like "Brush your teeth" or "Buckle your seat belt" at random times, like when I want them to clear their places at the dinner table or when I'm trying to hurry them out the door for school in the morning. Speaking of school, I also regularly say 'good night' instead of 'goodbye' as they head out to the bus stop at 7:17 AM. I can't help doing this.

When you accidentally used a baby product in a non-baby application.

Blame it on sleep deprivation, but there isn't a parent among us who hasn't grabbed the diaper rash cream instead of the toothpaste in the blurry wee hours of the morning. Or expressed breastmilk instead of coffee creamer. I will admit to being in a rush to get out the door and trying to put my adult-sized coat on my 5-year-old, or slip my size 7 feet into my preschooler's shoes.

When you started driving to the bank and somehow ended up at your kid's school.

Between pick ups, drop offs, school concerts, emergency deliveries, and emergency calls from the school nurse, my minivan has made more trips to the kids' school than there are grains of sand on the seashore. I know the route like the back of my hand and could get there without giving it a single thought. And if I'm not paying attention when I'm driving around running errands, that's exactly what I'll do.

They say that parenting changes you, and they're right. I know because my husband just gave me a bite of his ice cream and then automatically wiped my chin with the spoon like he was feeding the baby.

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Unremarkable Files


Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, thanks for a good laugh! I think I started the sway when I was pregnant in an attempt to stay comfortable if I had to stand for any period of time, and still find myself doing it from time to time despite definitely not being pregnant and my kid being 2 years old. :)

PurpleSlob said...

So funny!! i was laughing all the way thru!! Because I've done most, if not ALL of these!

Lee Orlian said...

This is part of what happens every single day! It so funny and I really enjoyed reading your post Sometimes auto-pilot kicks in and we can't help it, but it's all good when you have a sense of humor and you share your experiences with others. You are doing a great job here and I'm thankful that I read your post!