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The secret parenting behaviour no one ever admits to.

I wasn’t always like this, I swear.

There are things I do now, that I would never have done before having kids. Never.

Since having four kids, I’ve changed.

Carrie Bradshaw, from Sex and the City, had Secret Single Behaviour. Maybe I did too, once upon a time. Not anymore. Nowadays, I have Secret Parenting Behaviour.

1. I’m a wannabe hermit.

Before kids, I used to go stir-crazy if I stayed in the house too long. Of course, back then, popping out for fresh air was as easy as grabbing my bag and keys and shutting the door behind me.

Now, it involves at least 90 minutes of sweat and tears (literally, from any number of us) and once we’re out, it’s not exactly relaxing. So when I’m offered the chance to potter about all day in my comfies and no make-up, I grab the chance. I actually get a bit of a thrill from not knowing what the weather’s like.

2. I swear this was clean when I put it on.

I’m not a disgusting person. I shower daily, and wash all the clothes in the house regularly.

Yet somehow, everything I put on is filthy. I very often leave the house in clothes covered in smears from small people. You’d think denim and black would conceal dirtiness but they don’t. I’ve got used to scheduling in a quick sponge-down in the kitchen just before I leave the house now, but it’s not always successful. Whatever. Take it from me: if I’m out of the house, I’m doing well. End of story.

3. Sometimes tantrums are funny.

Every now and then, the sound of my kids having an outright tantrum gives me the urge to giggle. Especially if it’s over something I’ve done to them, like told them it’s bath time or clean-up time.

So before I put on my stern face to approach the situation, I have a quick chuckle in the kitchen while I finish my cup of tea.

Tee hee

4. The grooming thing.

Sometimes when I'm in the shower, I consider giving my legs a quick seeing too with the razor. Then I think, 'nah, that'll do'.

It's summer - I wear shorts and dresses. All day long, I catch glimpses of my hairy pins. And I just can't muster up a care factor. Pre-kids, this would be unacceptable.

5. My pyjamas are my house clothes.

As soon as I get home, my regular clothes suddenly become tight and uncomfortable. They have to go. So I put my pjs on. Even if it's 3pm. That way, I'm ready for bed, and have cut myself out the extra chore of changing out of my house clothes and into my pyjamas later on.

I don't even feel embarrassed if someone knocks at the door.

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6. The local will do.

Despite everything I've said, I still like getting out for an evening. But my days of heading into the city or going anywhere further than ten minutes away are done. The local pub = going out.

They serve wine, right?

7. Sometimes I don't have a tissue handy.

So when someone's nose is running urgently, I use my t-shirt to wipe the snot away. Hmm, hang on....maybe this is why my stuff is always dirty.

8. I've got no idea what's happening in the real world.

All I have time to deal with is what's happening immediately within our chaotic little world. I used to watch the news. But why is it on during the mad-hour? How does any busy parent have the energy for the news?

By the time we're done with dinner, baths and bedtimes for them all, I'm in need of a glass of something, and some mindless TV trash, STAT.

I'm a multitasker.

9. Oh no, the hot water's run out!

When the big kids shower, sometimes they have so much fun playing their games with the shampoo bottles, that they won't come out. So I flick the tap from warm to cold and wait for them to realise the change in temperature, before exclaiming, "oh no, the hot water's run out!" Is it wrong that I kind of enjoy that?

10. Returning your texts.

I always read text messages straight away. Same for emails. I welcome the alert that someone from the outside world is trying to reach me in the cocoon.

Yet for some reason, it takes me a week, sometimes ten days to reply. I don't know why I let this happen. I think I spend a lot of time in my head rehearsing what my reply is going to be. Your patience means a lot to me.

11. I sleep on the couch.

Not because hubby and I are arguing. No, he's right there beside me, camped out on the living room floor. One of our babies has residence in our bedroom, and  has done for months. We're too scared to sleep in there, in case we wake him up. One day I'll put the twins together in their proper bedroom. But after a year from hell, everyone is sleeping now. I can't risk messing that up. The couch is lumpy and uncomfortable, but sleep is sleep. I'll take it.

12. Secret cuddling behaviour.

When I'm at work, or somewhere without my kids, I miss the feel of them in my arms so much that I cuddle myself. I wrap my arms around my body and squeeze. I think I even close my eyes. It's a weird security thing.

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