When I was younger, I had an idea of what it would be like when I was older and possibly a parent. I knew being an adult required some responsibility and a little work. But now that I'm here, I'm often overwhelmed by just how much responsibility and work is required. There were also a number of things I never even expected to experience as an adult. Here's a list of 10 of those things.
1. I didn't expect that I would need to tell my kids more than once to do something. I didn't realize it would involve whining, screaming, crying, and other tantrum-y things. And that's just me. Apparently, it takes like 250 or 250,000 times of you repeating it for them to make it a habit.
2. I didn't expect that I'd be so frequently violated by a child's hand. Whether it's being woken by a fist in my rear end, or a random squeeze and twist to the buttocks in the kitchen, I didn't know it would be this frequent and bring my children so much joy. It's funny that this surprises me, considering that when I was a kid, walking up the stairs behind my mom, I would gently bounce my fists off her butt in a milking motion and say I was "milking her cow." Actually, I still do that.
3. I didn't expect that I'd be so sore the day after such rigorous activities as opening a jar of pickles.
4. I didn't expect that I'd be woken five out of seven nights a week by my three children for reasons ranging from being scared, to needing cream on an itch, to wanting a drink, to needing help getting Hello Kitty's enormous head through the hole in a different doll's stupid pink dress.
5. I didn't expect that I'd enjoy gardening. After all those weekends whining about working in my grandma's yard or mowing our lawn, even going as far as mowing a giant F-word in it, I'm surprised by how much I enjoy gardening, yard work and all things dirt.
6. I didn't expect that peer pressure would turn into judgment would turn into peer pressure. I thought peer pressure was done when I left high school. It's a bit easier not to give in to it now, but it's still there, rearing its ugly head in the form of Mommy Wars and keeping up with the Joneses.
7. I didn't expect that there would be this thing called the Internet where I'd be so excited about writing and reading jokes in 140 characters or less. I also didn't anticipate having friends I chat with on a regular basis across the world while at the same time not even knowing my neighbors' names.
8. I didn't expect that I'd despise talking on the phone so much. Considering the number of hours I spent on the phone as a teenager, with the cord extended into the closed-door bathroom, I never guessed I'd find myself hearing my phone ring, then staring at it, willing the ringing to stop... until it does.
9. I didn't expect that I would have so little time for myself. I didn't know how much work three kids would be, and how parenting is a 24-hours-a-day gig and sleep doesn't always happen. When I was single and alone, I didn't realize that I would crave time alone as much as some pregnant women crave Welch's grape soda and liverwurst.
10. I didn't expect that I'd be listening to all my favorite sweet jams on MP3s. I could have saved a lot of money not buying that entire collection of Time-Life Singers & Songwriters "never seen together like this until now" CDs. For real. I bought those.
There are a lot of things I didn't expect to experience when I grew up, and I definitely didn't think it would be just this hard. But I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out... so far.
What have you found to be the most unexpected part of being a grown-up?