3 things zombies have taught me about parenting

What’s the deal with zombies these days? They’re everywhere, and jokes about the zombie apocalypse have gone mainstream. Some think it’s a post-9/11, climate-change obsession with apocalypse, others believe it’s because smartphones and other technology are literally eating our brains.

All I know is that the first few years of parenting, zombies had a lot to teach me:

1. The dead can rise and walk around – but it’s not good for anyone
Sleep deprivation is no joke, and lots of women are trying to tough out breastfeeding and sleep disturbances and 6 month growth spurts on their own. But lack of sleep really is like a flu or another health problem. Don’t turn into a zombie; get help. (Top 12 sleep solutions for kids, right here.)

I fully support everyone out there trying to do all the night feeding, but one of my huge regrets about life with my eldest son as a baby is that I didn’t either pump or try a supplemental bottle of formula now and then so that his dad could take a whole night and I could get more than 3 hours of sleep in a row.

2. The ones who survive are the ones who lock themselves in the bunkers early
In pretty much every zombie movie it’s the people in denial who end up eaten first.The parenting equivalent for this in my life has been to realize up front that I had to triage what my family could handle. And by that I mean what my family could really manage, and not what I hoped they could.

Example: I had sworn to myself that I was not going to be one of those parents who turns down all the invitations. My thinking was “we grew up falling asleep at my parents’ friends’ houses and then coming home late and night, so I’ll just bring my child along.” As a tiny baby, and again around grade one, that worked for my son. In between, any change to his bedtime made our lives crazy because he wouldn’t sleep or go back to sleep, and then he would throw tantrums for two days while the sleep sorted itself out. So, I started saying no up front. (Ten strategies for tantrums!)

3. Plan ahead for the zombie apocalpyse
Just as we should all have emergency kits in our front halls and in our cars, having some bags packed and ready to go for our kids can be helpful. In the car, I keep a couple of bottles of water and some snacks. At home, I keep a bag in the front closet for trips to the ER with water and snacks, and some never-seen books and toys for occupying sick kids, along with any relevant information.

What lessons have you gleaned from your favourite media obsession?

(Photo: iStockphoto.com)