Everyone knows that there are quite a few standard parenting skills you need to get through day-to-day life with kids. These skills include but of course aren’t limited to diaper changer, booboo kisser, meal preparer, housekeeper, multitasker, cab driver, yeller (just kidding…but not really), tutor, personal shopper, wrangler, organizer and on and on… Whew! I am tired just listing these but you get the point. However, there are some skills that parenting requires you to master that you never planned on needing.
1. Sensory Analyst. Yes this is an actual skill and it involves smelling things. It starts with the baby diapers when you can take a quick sniff of their tushy to decide if you need to change that diaper. It then evolves into the ability to expertly locate diapers abandoned in the car, food rotting in your kids room or secret dog popping spots in your house. And when you have teenagers, one sniff will give you a pretty good idea if they have been up to anything that may be considered illegal or inappropriate.
2. Wrestler. Children have super human strength. Anyone that has ever tried to put an uncooperative toddler in a carseat knows this is absolutely true. And I know I am not the only one that is out of breath and sweating after trying to diaper my toddler who swears I am torturing her? It's as if she suddenly grew 4 more appendages. Just last week my 5 year old had to get blood drawn and it took 3 adults to hold him down…Three!
3. Translator. We all know that we have to translate for our little ones but most of us don’t think it will go past the preschooler phase. But kids live in their own worlds and expect everyone else to get. So when my 5 year old goes on some long rant about carrion, coprolite and herbivores and his unsuspecting audience turns to me with a look of confusion I can translate the plot line of Dinosaur train. Even if they don’t care to hear it because, frankly, I don’t want him to repeat it to me again.
4. Marketing and Sales. I am sure when you had kids, you didn't realize that selling merchandise would be part of the deal. But I don't know a single parent that has gotten a kid through grade school and hasn't gotten stuck selling a ton of crap to all their poor family members and coworkers...wrapping paper, popcorn in a tin, the "worst" chocolate in the world, cookie dough, raffle tickets…Ughhh! Can I please just write the school a check and call it a day.
5. Detective. If you ever want to find that missing shoe, binky or lovey your kid can’t sleep without, you need to up your investigation skills. They will also come in handy when there is a broken coffee table in your living room and all parties involved are claiming innocence. And don't even get me started on the investigation skills you will need to keep up with your kids as they become preteens and then dreaded teenagers. At that age, they pretty much just grunt or roll their eyes at you if you so much as ask how their day went.
Whether you like it or not, parenting is a never-ending learning process. I would say it gets better but the truth is it just changes as your kids get older and the worrying never stops. But that’s our job as parents.