Before I had kids, I was a
brilliant expert parent. I was so good at it that I dished out my judgement left right and center (in my head of course, it’s only the right thing to do) while observing other people with their kids.
Point is, I used to say “When I Have Kids, I will Never _______” all the time… and now, as life is going by and I encounter these obstacles that I was such an expert on – I realize that I was a bit of an idiot. I keep having these “AH HAA, now I get it” moments and can’t help laughing when first time/non parents say these same things… silly people, they just have no idea.
You can usually very easily identify these people – they are the ones who do not have dried pro-nutro in their hair. Not yet anyway. Rewind +/- 5 years…
- When I have kids, I will never take them on airplanes or busses. I mean… how selfish can you be bringing your noisy child on a enclosed space with other passengers? There is nothing worse than a crying baby on a plane.
After: Um… what else are you supposed to do exactly?? Hope they learn to swim long distance? Or do you have a teleporting machine to get them where they need to go?
2. I would never stop going out and seeing my friends. That is what babysitters are for right?
After: Wrong, and turns out I like hanging out with my kids more than my friends anyway. After being at work all day long all I want to do is spend time with them. Also, where the hell am I supposed to find the energy? Do you even KNOW how tired I am? My tired is tired.
3. My husband and I promised each other we would NEVER be one of those couples who called each other “Mom” and “Dad“. Now we do it all the time and it is pretty gross.
4. When I have kids, they will eat whatever I give them. My kid is going to love to eat vegetables – and not vegetables with cheese either, but raw ones!
After: Yeah… It does not work out very well for future me. No matter how hard I tried, Mikayla is the pickiest toddler in the world! If she passes on peas and carrots and chooses to inhale mini pizzas or fish fingers – it’s an moment worth celebrating. At least she is eating something! I always toss in a juicy bag and some creche guard twice a day, this is how I live without guilt. Knox, on the other hand, eats everything he sees – brocolli, pumpkin, butternut, carrots, toiletpaper, dirt, bugs…
5. When I have kids, I will never let them sleep in bed with me. I love my sleep and therefore, any child of mine would get a good night kiss at 8:00 pm, put to bed and would stay there until the morning.
After: I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to sleep through bloodcurdling screaming. Anyway – Knox falls asleep in my arms every night, in my bed – after that I put him in his own cot and we get all the sleep we need.
6. I would never let my kids watch TV! Unlike those lazy parents who just leave their kids in front of the TV, I”m going to keep my kids occupied by visiting museums, taking them to the park once a day and teaching them to speak a foreign language. Pretty impressive – way to go, future me!
After: What the hell was I thinking when I made this declaration? During these rainy Cape Town winters, when your family is one raindrop away from full-fledged cabin fever, TV is a sanctuary. A magical box that emits irresistible sounds and colors that buy me at least 15 minutes of motionless activity or going to the loo alone.
7. I would never say “because I said so!” How much effort does it really take to explain X, Y, or Z to a small child? After: It turns out it takes a lot. Because I said so.
8. I would never let my kid wear a harness/kiddy leash – they aren’t dogs.
After: I probably still won’t, but I get it…. boy do I get it!
9. I would never be that mom that has nothing to talk about but her kids… I mean, how annoying?
After: Looking at my Instagram account and my blog (which is pretty much entirely about them) – you tell me how I am doing with that one? I used to go over to my “previously cool” friend’s place and think how sad it was that her house was overrun with sippy cups, mismatched shoes and Mickey Mouse crap. Now I lay in bed reading bedtime stories until my brain turns to jelly and they fall asleep. Then I look at their perfect little faces and wonder how I ever lived without them. What better thing is there to possibly talk about?
10. I would never shout at my kids, I will always stay calm. How hard can it possibly be?
After: When this does happen I feel exceptionally guilty, but I have raised my voice with my kids – more often than I care to admit. Sometimes, afterwards, I initiate a game of hide and seek that I don’t tell anyone else about and hide in places where a 4-year old would never think to look – like inside the broom cupboard. And I eat chocolate.
11. I would never let my kids throw tantrums or act out in public. I mean, can’t these people control their kids?? It is as easy as teaching them no!
After: Yeah… so it turns out that you do not always have a choice. I am lucky that my kids hardly ever throw tantrums or act out in public, but on the rare occasion that it does happen – I react the way any sane person in my situation would. I ask random people “are these your kids?” or I’ll whisper to the people next to me “I’m the au pair”. Occasionally I just stand back and admire how their bodies are able to thrash and contort in ways that defy both human biology and physics.
12. I would never be that mom that does not dress up every day and look fabulous. I mean, how hard is it to look fabulous after having a baby?
After: Well, turns out it is pretty fucking hard to do your make-up perfectly after the 4th night in a row of broken sleep – I also can’t remember when last I did not have some kind of food stuck on my clothes or in my hair. It’s not that I don’t care about how I look, but a lot of times I actually forget to do things like brush my hair, put on a bra or wear two of the same shoes. I have, however, never forgotten pants.
There’s nothing more humbling than becoming a parent. There’s no experience in life that challenges your character, patience and endurance like raising children. What are some of the things you swore you would never do?