The 9 Milestones of Parenthood: How Many Have You Reached?

Nine "I'm-so-totally-a-parent-now" moments that mean you've definitely earned your mommy stripes.

There are those Kodak-ready milestones you read about in the parenting books – the gummy smile, first day of school, the lost tooth – and then there are those moments that you don’t so much enjoy as endure. Just because they weren’t fun doesn’t mean we’re not chuffed for having handled them. Here are nine parenting badges you should wear with pride.

When Your Kid Throws Up
The only thing we enjoy less than our kids puking is heaving ourselves. However, at least we are sensible enough to usually deposit said barf in the toilet. Kids, with their still-developing sense of body awareness, not so much. You may live in fear of the puke, but once it happens, even if it happens ON YOU, you realize you can get actually get through this. Somehow, instinct takes over and you clean up, bathe and comfort your kid. It’s only after you’re done when the PTSD kicks in and you wait in horror for the next vomitfest -- or for it to hit you next.

When Your Kid Has a Tantrum in Public
Sometimes you just have to hold firm, even if it means your child going to totally lose his shizz in front of what feels like the whole world. You’ll endure dirty looks, name-calling, kicks to the shins, sweaty pits, and possibly eardrum damage but the satisfaction you’ll feel from not giving in will be worth it.

When You Have to Change a Diaper without a Changing Table
Everyone was a baby once, so why wouldn’t every single restaurant and store owner think to install a comfortable spot to change a diaper? You walk back from the restroom defeated, with a terrible choice: change your babe on a chair in public view or lay your babe on the nasty restroom floor. Handle this one – and quick – and you’ll be able to tackle normal diaper-changing situations in your sleep.

When You Have to Nurse in Public
You’re all about your right to not be a shut-in just because you’re choosing to breastfeed your baby, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel a little awkward whipping out the boob, especially when baby’s looking around and leaving you exposed. Do it once – chanting to yourself that your baby has a right to eat wherever and whenever – and stare down anyone that throws shade. Next time it will be easier.

When You Have to Rush Your Kid to the Hospital
It could be a broken bone or something more serious but that drive to the emergency room will be the longest trip of your life with your child in pain in the backseat. Somehow you’ll remain calm, get there safely, and make the medical decisions that need to be made.

When Your Kid has an On-the-Go Blowout
Before you had a baby, you never knew so much of your time and energy would be spent on poop management, but here you are. Despite the best planning, a massive bum explosion can happen when you’re not at home (and wearing a white shirt, and low on wipes). Make sure you pack an extra shirt for you in your diaper bag, and lap up the kindness of stranger mommies, who will come running to your aid.

When Your Kid Says Something Totally Inappropriate and Embarrassing
Mommy, why is that woman so fat? Is that man missing his legs? Few moments make you wish for a hole in the ground more than when your little lamb drops a totally inappropriate truth bomb. Move away from the object of curiosity, cross your fingers they have a sense of humor, and write the anecdote down for the wedding toast in 25 years.

When You Lose Your Kid
You told her to hold your hand but then there was a bird/water fountain/shiny object, and all of a sudden she raced off and you can’t find her. Is it possible for your heart to actually enter the math cavity, because that’s pretty much what you experience as you replay of all the horrible news segments you’ve ever seen involving children. You will find your kid -- and you WILL need a drink later -- and hopefully the experience will freak your kid out enough to stay close next time.

When Your Kid Says They Hate You
Wear this one with pride, as gutting as it is to hear. Most kids say it at some point, and all of them think it (didn’t you?), but it doesn’t mean they actually hate you. What “I hate you” really usually means is “I sure hate it when you love me by placing limits on my behavior even though I really need it.” Tell your kid you’re sorry to hear it, but you’ll always love him – no matter what.

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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