parents

"The 9 things I said I would never do when I became a parent."

Bern

BC (before children), I had some fairly solid views of what kind of parent I was going to be. Or should I say, what kind of parent I wasn’t going to be.

I wasn’t, for instance, going to hog the footpath with my megapram and obstruct the path of pedestrians. I was never going to refer to my husband as ‘Dad’ when I spoke to him as his WIFE.

I was also NEVER going to be that mother that handed her daughter a Chupa Chup at the checkout so she would just STFU (shut the… you get the picture).

Because dear readers, I was, at this stage, still yet to be a parent.

Here are some other beliefs I held before I had children.

1. I was never going to turn into my own mother and say the following:

“Do you live in a tent? Shut the door behind you.”

“Because I said so!”

“Stop it or I’ll pull this car over and you can walk home!”

“There are children in Africa who are starving. Eat your dinner!”

“If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you?”

Turns out that these idle threats words straddle generations and are used within almost every family unit. I remember wondering, quite seriously as a kid, how I could package up my brussel sprouts and somehow get them to Zimbabwe. You need to know that your kids are thinking the exact same thing.

True dat?

2. I would not talk freely about bodily functions.

And yet here I am. I have a low tolerance, generally, for discussions about blood or poo or projectile vomit. Yet I have had intricate conversations about the consistency of my son’s bowel movements. “Was it runny? Did it have a certain odour? Was the colour not unlike that of mustard?” Who knew that these conversations would not only take place, they’d be a little enjoyable.

Prepare thyself:

3. I was not going to have drugs or pain relief when I gave birth ‘naturally’.

Oh yes. I had *quite* the birth plan the first time around. It involved Enya, and it involved lavender oil, and it involved a fit ball.

I was also fairly adamant that my birth would not include drugs of any kind. And in the end, it didn’t. This is only because no one would give me any. I COMPLETELY abandoned my ridiculous plan three contractions in. The fact that my husband was still sexually attracted to (and talking to) me after that day is a credit to him.

Oh, and if I ever happen to see Enya, I’ll tell her exactly where she can ‘sail away to’.

4. I would not ever swear in front of my kids.

Bern said she wouldn’t swear in front of her kids? And now, to that she says ‘bullshit’.

Bullshit. Look, I don’t swear at my children, but I’ve been known to *cough* drive and get frustrated. This has involved, at times, unsavoury words towards morons driving like, well, morons. It is inevitable that they will exposed to this.

5. I wouldn’t wear matching outfits.

Oh God, this happens almost unconsciously. It’s like one minute you’re your own person and then some inner demon takes over and you find yourself at a social event wearing matching lilac slacks and aubergine polo shirts.

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This will happen. Just accept it.

6. I won’t use my kids as an excuse.

Oh, man, it used to shit me when friends who were parents would be like, “Oh, I’d love to but Harriet has pink eye and we can’t come out”. I knew Harriet was totally fine and they were totally using her faux eye infection as an excuse because they didn’t want to come.

But now? Well, now I understand. Kids are the ultimate excuse. I mean, sometimes you just cannot be arsed going out and children are your best currency in this situation.

7. Call my partner “dad”.

This was a bit of foreign concept to me as I mostly grew up without a father. So when my mother-in-law would refer to her husband as “dad” when she spoke to him, it was always weird. And I vowed that would not be something I would take on as a parent.

Yet now, I hear myself yelling out, “Dad, can you help Jack find his joggers?” This is the man I married and still have sexual relations with.

8. Use TV to babysit the kids.

Despite thinking that, as modern-day parents, we are pioneers in this field, I still remember my Mum planting me in front of Humphrey B Bear and Romper Room each morning so she could get some ‘Betty time’.

It’s not new, yet it is indoctrinated into us that it is less than positive to be doing this. I’ve got to admit, I never  thought that I wouldn’t be using the TV/ipad/screen medium to keep my child entertained. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at how often they have opted to throw a ball or run around outside when given the choice between the two.

Before kids, this was bad. Now…

9. Allow them to have junk food or lollies.

Every Thursday, we have “shit night”. It is a night where we all get to take turns at selecting which fast food restaurant we’d like to drive through and dine from.

As a young, idealistic mother, I swore I’d always be home cooking my children’s meals and for the most part, this still happens. But can I tell you, you will soon lose your will to live if you don’t get a night off from feeding those ever and over consuming mouths.

For a start, they are SO ungrateful. They don’t care that you have just spent the last 3 hours making an amazing chicken and mushroom risotto that would and should gain the attention of those on Masterchef. Nope. To them, your mushy rice dish is never going to touch the Holy Grail that is the forbidden fast food.

They will, in time, appreciate your culinary artistry, but for now, give in, like I had to, and feed them questionable “chicken” nuggets and soggy chips.

The thing is, being a parent is all about compromise and, also, realising that the job is much bigger than you could ever anticipate. It’s hard to admit that maybe your own idea or ideals aren’t reality.

I think to admit we are forever learning is a great character-builder, and a process.

What did you think you wouldn’t do before you had kids?

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