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The MOST Important Requirement For Parents-to-Be

super funny face gay dog lying on back on green grass and laughing out loud

If you’re pondering that age-old question about having kids, and you think that you do want to, here’s an important question to ask yourself:

Do you have a sense of humor?

If the answer is “no,” then do not pass go, do not collect any money and do not even think about continuing down the path to parenthood.

If you’ve decided that yes, you do have a sense of humor in tough situations, and yes, you can survive sleep deprivation and yes, you have a lot of love to give, then by all means, get to it.

The sense of humor. Oh, is it ever necessary. Here’s a rundown of my birthday, which is/was Friday, as I’m writing this. After a more decent night of sleep, I woke up in a puddle. A big puddle of pee. “Happy Birthday to me! I’m in a puddle off pee! I get to do laundry/so my bed’s not stinky!” I may have sent a Snapchat of me singing that song to Jenn and Tish.

I stripped the bed for an all-day laundry marathon and carried on with my birthday. I’ll briefly mention the quick meltdown because I wouldn’t let my 3-year-old have croutons after breakfast; I’ll glaze over his refusal to wear a jacket and the ensuing mini tantrum over the jacket not being on. (The 3-year-old logic. Also: Must have patience. Lots of buckets of it.) I’ll also only casually mention the anger that occurred when I didn’t let him snap his own car seat buckle because I want to get to the fun part.

At our school, we do a curbside drop-off. It’s great: I open the door, the kids unbuckle and get out and run right up to school.

But not this day. Not this day. Not on my birthday.

Avery jumps out, but Owen refuses to let me unsnap him. Then once I do, he refuses to get out. Keep in mind, this is an efficient system, but when someone bungles the line, it causes a major backup. And you’re THAT PARENT who can’t get your kids to cooperate. The teacher’s aide is trying to cajole him; I’m begging him. But alas, it was not to be. I had to drive up, park the car, get him and the baby out and walk him up to school.

My sense of humor was missing on the way back to the car. I might have cried a few birthday tears before 8:30 a.m. But in the retelling, of course it’s funny. And one day when we’re out of the Terrible Threes (any day now, right?), I’ll retell these stories and laugh. Shoot, even a couple of hours later, I’m retelling the stories and laughing. But damn if kids don’t care if it’s your birthday.

I asked my daughter if she knew the one and only thing I wanted for my birthday. Her response? “Respect.” I laughed, but it was true, I just wanted a little respect and cooperation. She gave me honesty: She told me that I looked older than my husband.

Ever feel like you can’t catch a parenting break? Kids make no distinction in days: They’re the same whether it’s your birthday or you’re sick with the flu! —Erin

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