I can honestly say that I never pictured myself as a parent. I mean, not for real. There was always the traditional expectation that I would grow up, get married, have kids, & (naturally) stay at home with them like moms are supposed to do with their kids. Right? (sanctimonious tirade) I always swore up & down that I just wouldn't have kids if I couldn't stay home with them. I mean, what kind of mother would dump off their kids in daycare anyway? (/sanctimonious tirade)
I discovered as I grew into my teen years & early 20s. I didn't really like kids. They're noisy, poorly behaved, & just generally obnoxious. And that kid in the restaurant who's running around & screaming? Why is no one smacking that kid?
Fast forward to 2005. I'm now 27, a few months out of a relationship with a crazy psycho stalker & have now learned a lot about restraining orders. About 3 weeks after a little too much tequila during Cinco de Mayo I discovered that I was expecting. I knew this before the pregnancy test did. The father was pushing me in a direction I wasn't comfortable with, & when I made it clear that I wasn't going down that road, he promptly left the state.
I spent 9 months worrying if I would even be a good parent. I had done the practical things I needed to do to prepare, even going so far as to get a 2nd job so I could afford the baby stuff I needed. However, I never did feel that amazing sense of bonding during pregnancy that I thought was just magically supposed to happen. After my son was born in 2006, I had an amazing sense of "OMG, what the hell do I do with him?"
I have since learned a few things.
First, not all obnoxious kid behavior is a result of stupid, apathetic, or otherwise bad parents. Kids, no matter how wonderful they are normally, at times are just straight up obnoxious little critters.
Second, If you smack a kid, you pretty much have just taught the kid to smack you back when you do something they don't like. My babysitter discovered this after she decided to give my son a "tap tap" for every little behavior she didn't like (as explained to me, this was supposed to be a gentle tap on the hand for extreme misbehavior). She calls me upset that my son had tried to hit her when he was mad at her. She said she gave him a tap tap for it & he did it again. She tells me "he just doesn't learn!" I managed to control my laughter...but wasn't quite able to control the "No, actually, I think he did learn" that came out of my mouth. She didn't get it. Personally, I think it serves her right for smacking his hand over inconsequential things (I didn't know she was doing this until he started hitting her back & she got a little less careful about hiding how often she tap tapped him...he is now starting preschool in a week)
Third, I have learned that whenever I really get rolling on a sanctimonious tirade, I'm so karmically asking to be beset with just those circumstances. I am slowly learning how to keep my damn mouth shut...or at least start talking mad crap about rich, happy, healthy people with extremely intelligent & well-behaved children.
Fourth, most moms who put their kids in daycare don't want to. If they want to actually feed said kid (and maybe even themselves), working is often necessary.
It didn't take long for me to develop a love for my son that I have never experienced before. And frankly, it continues to scare the crap out of me. I still don't know what the hell I'm doing, but I have become a lot more sympathetic to kids who are just genuinely tired (I mean, really, why is your 2 year old at Walmart at 10 pm?) and fussy. Kids don't behave the way I think they should...& for the most part, I'm ok with that...except for the running around in the restaurant part. Your ass is going to sit & wait in the car (with me, dammit) while the civilized people finish their dinner!
...besides, that "civilized" facade is getting difficult to maintain....