Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life Lessons You Never Dreamed You'd Have to Teach (Until You Had Kids)

Something they don't tell you about parenting is that kids aren't born knowing anything. One of the most important jobs of a mom is to explain basic social norms to our little people so that maybe one day, they can function in polite society.

But oh, the life lessons and the teaching. I don't think I've gone a day without putting a palm to my face and muttering in disbelief, "Did I really just have to say that out loud?"

And the answer is always yes. I did.

Something they don't tell you about parenting is that you'll need to teach life lessons like how to flush a toilet. Multiple times.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

So dear children, here are some of the life lessons I've needed to teach you in the past. Please refer to them in the future to refresh your memories. Because everyone knows that moms also need to repeat themselves a lot.

Life Lesson #1: Don't eat things if you're not sure what they are.

I'm not sure what's so irresistible about crumbs of questionable origin you find on the counters, floor, and in your car seat, but if it hasn't been served to you or recently retrieved from the fridge or pantry you should probably pass on eating it.

Even if it was once a tasty snack food (and that's assuming a lot right off the bat,) it might not be the best idea to put it in your mouth 6 months later when you find it in the deepest recesses of the sofa.

Life Lesson #2: When someone is running away from you screaming, it means they don't want you to hug them anymore.

Decoding the subtle nuances of human interaction can be tricky. But in general, someone who is desperately trying to escape from you while shrieking "NO! NOOOOO!!" wants to be left alone.

Even if you're not being mean, per se, you may be violating this little thing called personal space. What? You don't know about personal space, either?  Well, that makes sense.

Life Lesson #3: It's considered rude to cough in someone's face.

More on the personal space thing. You get some leeway on this when you're a baby, but as you get older people will be less and less thrilled to be covered in your spittle. With a little practice, you too can learn to turn your head and cover your mouth instead of hacking directly in someone's face whenever the urge strikes you.

The same goes for sneezing at people, wiping your nose on their clothes, or farting in their laps. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Life Lesson #4: A trip to the bathroom isn't complete without flushing.

Now, I enjoy looking at your poop as much as the next person. Which is to say, not at all. I'm considering installing self-flushing toilets in our house like the ones in some public restrooms, but until then, please acquaint yourself with the silver handle on the side.

On a related note, we also don't have doors that automatically close behind you or lights that turn off when you leave the room. You have to manually do all of these things. It's hard, but you can do it. Dad and I believe in you.

Life Lesson #5: It's bad form to compare someone's cooking to dog excrement.

Sometimes you'll be served food with a taste, texture, or general appearance that doesn't appeal to you. At these times, it might seem like the right thing to do is warn everyone in yelling distance that it smells or looks like dog poop   including, or maybe especially, the person who prepared it.

But this news isn't usually received well, even if you add "Well it only looks like barf, but it probably tastes okay." Try to keep it to yourself.

Life Lesson #6: You do not have to announce to the entire world when you farted or noticed someone else fart.

Most people are happy to know as little as possible about your bodily functions. If you pass gas in public, a follow-up announcement usually isn't necessary. If anything, a discrete "excuse me" is more than adequate.

Also, I know you feel like it's your public duty to raise the alarm when anyone else in the room cuts the cheese, but this is one area where nobody likes a whistleblower.

Life Lesson #7: Don't deface other people's property.

I can see why you'd think adults would appreciate your artwork on the wall, living room sofa, and TV screen just the same as your artwork on paper, but unfortunately that's not the case.

And while we're talking about vandalism I should point out that using a rock to scratch your name into the family car is a bad idea, both from a moral standpoint and a practical one.

Life Lesson #8: Your clothes will not magically fold themselves and fly into your dresser.

This is a hard one to grasp, kind of like the automatic toilets thing. But no matter how long you leave the clean laundry I've provided for you lying in a crumpled heap in your room, it's going to stay exactly where it is.

It doesn't matter if a predetermined time, day, or phase of the moon has come and gone, your laundry will stay there for the rest of all eternity until you fold it and place it in a drawer.

Life Lesson #9: Generally speaking, people aren't pleased when you inform them that they are fat. 

Here I go again with the public service announcements. I know you're short so people's stomachs are right at eye level for you, but still try to refrain from yelling that the person in line in front of you at the grocery store is "sooooo huge."

Also, if you get a baby sibling in the future, please try to remember that your mom doesn't want to be told every day for a year afterward that it looks like there's still a baby in her tummy, okay?

Being a mom is no easy job, but one day you'll look at your grown son or daughter and feel an overwhelming satisfaction. Not just because of the way they turned out; it's also because it's their turn to teach a little person of their own not to drink water out of the dog's bowl.

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Crystal Green from Sharing Life's Moments said...

These are all things that seem pretty common sense to adults, but kids definitely have to hear them. The toilet one is a very common issue in our home too.

AnneMarie said...

hahaha these are great and so true! In fact, I'm seriously considering ditching dresser drawers in lieu of baskets or something like that when my son is old enough to put away his clothes.

Jenny Evans (sister, not author) said...

Yup, you're raising Evans children! Farts must be called out, others must bend to your will if you want to hug or play with them, and calling someone fat is always acceptable . . . at least until you reach the age where common decency makes sense. Unless it's farts, those must always be commented on, just make sure you're not in mixed company when you do so.

Anonymous said...

Oh no!! I missed one!

Jenny Evans said...

We use wire shelving from Target (the kind college kids use in their dorm rooms) for a long time.

Jenny Evans said...

It's shocking, really.

AuntSue said...

And after flushing, Wash Your Hands!! Unfortunately that pile of clean clothes will end up in the dirty clothes the next time child is forced to clean their room.
I raised 6, I know!

Jenny Evans said...

You know, my oldest 3 do their own laundry and they STILL do that. I say, "You know that instead of taking 2 seconds to just put it in your drawer, you're creating the work of taking it downstairs, washing it, moving it to the dryer, bringing it back upstairs, folding it, and THEN putting it away, don't you?" They just shrug and continue doing it.