Eleven things no one told me about being a parent
Yeah, I knew that breast feeding might be tough. I read that I might get post-natal depression. I knew not to expect a lot of sleep.
What I DIDN’T know about this whole motherhood thing? The details. There were many, many details everyone neglected to mention.
So after three children and many surprising discoveries here’s some fine print for the parents of the future…
1. There will be some of your child’s books that really piss you off. These are guaranteed to be the ones your kid wants you to read EVERY NIGHT. This will almost kill you. (See point 7).
2. Having children does not make you a morning person. My whole life, I have never been good in the morning. Those I’ve loved and lived with have always known this and adapted their lives accordingly so as to avoid any form of interaction with me lest I punch them in the face. I assumed this would change when I HAD to get up at dawn’s crack and be a parent. It didn’t. Unfortunately (for them) my children do not have the option of avoiding me in the morning. Especially when they require breakfast from my boobs. Urgently. After more than a decade, I’m still fairly unhappy about having to wake up so early every single morning of my life even on weekends even public holidays even when on vacation, OKAY? But I’ve learned to stop growling and suck it up.
3. There will be some of your child’s clothes that you loathe. These items will have been given to them as gifts by people with no taste and are guaranteed to be your child’s favourite things to wear. Every. Single. Day. Make them disappear.
4. Friends, relatives and shopkeepers will give your child treats, making it impossible to control their sugar intake. At Easter time? Leave the country.
5. No matter how well intentioned you are about organic and non-processed and blah blah blah, you too will bribe your child with sugary treats to get them to do something you want them to do. You will. I promise. Don’t fight it.
6. At some point, you will be forced to raid your child’s wallet or piggy bank to pay the babysitter or pizza delivery guy. Leave an IOU. They can discuss it with their therapist in twenty years.
7. While reading a story aloud to your child, it’s possible to be thinking about something entirely different. Like when you’re driving. This will frequently come in handy (see point 1).
8. Going away with your kids is not a holiday and bears no resemblance to the activity of the same name in which you partook when childless. It’s simply called ‘moving the children to a different location without any of the neccessary props you have at home and making life infinitely more difficult for the adults’.
9. Kids are hilarious. Even when they’re newborns they do stuff that makes you laugh. Even their farts can be funny. And when they can talk, you will become one of those people who recount stories about the cute way your kid pronounces words. It won’t be funny to anyone else but you will tell the stories anyway because it will make your heart clench with love.
10. Playing is not fun. I don’t know why, as a grown woman, I expected to suddenly enjoy doing puzzles and the hokey pokey and making farm animals out of toilet rolls. But I did. I thought that’s what parents were meant to do. Play. I love spending time with my children and talking to them and hanging out. Playing? Not so much.
11. Parks are tedious. I used to think I was the only one who felt this way. Then I bumped into a friend and asked how she was enjoying her maternity leave with her one year old daughter. “I really need to go back to work part-time,” she said. “If I have to go to another park, I’m going to lose the will to live. It’s death by park.”
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