Monday, June 23, 2014

The Parenting Vows

We made vows at our wedding, promising to love and cherish and honor each other in our marriage. So far, those vows have been pretty easy for us to keep. Sickness and health. Easy. He throws a washcloth and a plastic bag through a crack in the door when I am barfing. Good times and bad? No problem. No one peaces out when we get in a fight about how to hang the curtains in the dining room. Wedding vows are a piece of cake. I purpose a new type of vow. Delivery room vows. 

Your clergy or a judge comes to the hospital to officiate right before you have the baby. He or she holds a copy of What to Expect When You are Expecting that has a picture of you together from a happy pre-child time, when you are both blissful and smiling and preferably even tan and rested, laying on top. Husband and wife together place their hands on then promise the following:

  • Her: I promise not to ask you to get up in the middle of the night to watch Law and Order with me while I feed the baby, since I am the only one with the boobs.
  • Him: I promise to take a night shift when you are no longer playing the part of the human milk machine and we are using bottles.
  • Her: I promise to not put clothes that are too small back in his drawer and then yell at you when you dress him in a onesie that won't button at the crotch and pants that look like Capris.
  • Him: I promise to not ever stand outside the bathroom door while you are pooping with a crying baby. 
  • Him: I promise to not say anything if I come home from work and you are already drinking.
  • Her: I promise to not say anything if I leave you at home with the kids on a Saturday and come home to everyone taking a nap, including you. Or everyone watching TV while you take a nap. 
  • Her: I promise to change my clothes once a day and shower regularly.
  • Him: I promise to pretend I don't notice when you are still wearing the clothes (from yesterday) that you slept in when I get home from work.
  • Her: I promise to let you occasionally have drinks after work with only minimal huffing and puffing.
  • Him: I promise to let you occasionally have girl's night with only minimal whining.
  • Her: I promise to not get mad if I come home after girl's night to you asleep on the couch and the house trashed, complete with dinner dishes still on the table and water still in the bathtub. 
  • HerI promise not to gasp, scold, or scream when you allow them to do things like ride a bike on a slight incline, take group swimming lessons, or roast marshmallows.
  • Him: I promise not to make fun of your overprotective tendencies. I will respect your concerns over fire, water, stairs, and hard candy.
  • Him: I promise to tell you how much prettier and sexier you are since you had children and say it really convincingly so you won't think I'm trying to be funny. I won't make fun of your underwear, nursing bras, hairy legs, or the fact that you are still wearing maternity leggings when the child starts preschool.
  • Her: I promise not to get mad when you take initiative and get things done with the kids and around the house, even if it is not the way I would do it. 
  • Him: I promise to take initiative. I promise not to pretend I don't know how to do something to get out of doing it.
  • Him: I promise to remember and respect the fact that another being has been touching your person for the majority of the waking hours in every day.
  • Her: I promise to remember that no one is ever touching your person. Ever. 
  • Together: We promise to always try and remember the following: why we got married in the first place, that we really do love each other, and it is ALWAYS us against them. 

This is what we should be doing. And then doing vow renewals every time we birth a new one. Promising each other that we will try our best not to hate each other during the tough parts of the parenting process. That we will respect each other's ways and not judge. That we will always do our best to keep the kids away from the bathroom door when the other is in there. That we won't complain when it is our turn to play memory and school and get our hair fixed by a toddler at 6:30am, while the other sleeps in. I think these vows would set a solid base from which to become parents. Then, when things get dicey we could look at each and smile and say, "remember babe, we took vows. You promised to help me scrape the poop out of her hair when she has a shadoob so big it explodes out of the neck of her pj's." And we will hug and laugh and happily parent away into the sunset, not killing each other. 

Look at these two. No idea what is about to hit them straight up in the face.
This is when the vows need to happen. The calm before the storm.


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