1. Teach them to respect women. Not as a pretty object on a pedestal, but as fellow subway riders who deserve respect for their autonomy, wits, and personal space.
2. Carry on the same humorous conversations you’ve always had, especially on a stroll through the woods or while snuggled up on the couch. How many pieces of buttered rye toast do you think you could eat if it were for charity? he might ask, only to look appalled if you answered ten. “What? at least twenty
3. Love them for sleeping late. Sleeping in is a given, so you can’t really hate them for it. It’s a tiring process, but every day they add several centimetres of new human flesh. (Keep in mind you were pregnant.) In place of the passive-aggressive “Good AFTERNOON” that all of our parents used to say when we were kids, you can simply ask, “Did you have a good sleep, my love?” when they come out of the house at 2 p.m. with man-sized arms and legs and sleep-creased baby faces. And perhaps the simple pleasure of hearing “I did” followed by a relaxed grin and a satisfying stretch.
4. Be kind to your child, even if it seems like he doesn’t notice or care. Indeed, he does. Donuts, a barbecue, a warm smile, some tea, and the benefit of the doubt would all go a long way in making his day. You’re allowed to burst with happiness when he lays down in your bed to be close to you and the cats. The purring of the cats is more than enough to keep you company while you read.
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5. Anticipate grumpy inquiries like “Is the ham all gone?” to come from the refrigerator once it’s opened. “Did we run out of steak?” Just be cheerful and upbeat in your response. “It is!” You devoured it! You should remind your son that he is free to replenish the fridge whenever he wants.