If you are like me, you consider yourself incredibly unprepared to be a parent. What I’ve found though is that life has a funny way of preparing you for things. Really, anyone who has spent time with a college roommate or in a military barracks has at least some experience with child rearing.
The similarities are so striking that I am surely not the only one to have made this connection. Taking care of a toddler is A LOT like taking care of college friends or military buddies on a Friday or Saturday night. Sure they usually have 18 plus years on the toddler but they act surprisingly similar and this can be helpful when transitioning into parenthood.
Don’t believe me? Lets play a game. It’s called college kid, marine or toddler. A young man was running around the house naked. They peed on the floor and threw up on me. Then, they slept with my girlfriend while I was made to sleep on the couch. What were they? This was Charlie, our toddler.
Round 2? We got home late one night. I had to very carefully get them out of the car, carry them into the house and put them to bed. I knew that if they woke up they’d probably be up all night but that they really needed to get some sleep. What were they? That was a college friend.
And none of them can be trusted alone for very long. Once, while in Afghanistan, I was taking a nap and was woken up by a marine, “hey Doc, you might want to get your med kit ready.” Never what you want to here when you wake up. I arose to find two marines playing a “game”. To this day I’m not sure what the objective of the game was but it involved throwing knives at each other. Now I know, not to take my eyes off my toddler for even a second.
I even find myself using the same phrases. “Get out of the road!” “Don’t eat that!” “Why are you crying?” Even, “did you poop your pants?” Had I not spent time with marines and college kids these would all be situations for which I would be completely unprepared. Nothing can prepare someone for parenthood, but if you’ve been to college or spent anytime around the military at least you’ve had some practice.