parent opinion

The sippy-cup graveyard, and 8 things you just accept as normal after you become a mum.

Before I became a mum I had imagined what parenthood would be like. 

Not imagined as in dreamt about just the cute, squishy, good bits - I felt in my mind that I knew it wasn't going to be all teeny-tiny onesies and toothless cooing babies. 

No, I had a grasp on the reality of motherhood. I knew there’d be poo-stained clothes to soak (hello, Strucket, the best purchase I’ve made in 2020). I was aware there’d be blurry-eyed 3am feeds. I was almost excited for plastic crap to fill my house! 

But it’s not until you’re actually welcomed into the world of motherhood by way of a human busting out of your body that you come to learn there’s a whole parallel universe of little rituals, unspoken happenings and idiosyncrasies that pertain to being a parent.

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Trying to avoid the danger nap.

This most commonly occurs in the car, frustratingly when you’re five minutes from home, where your child would have a much better sleep in their own cot (and you’d be able to get sh!t done). 

So instead of letting your heavy-lidded little one drift off to lalaland, you reach back with your left arm and lovingly, but rather firmly, bop your kid on the head so they don’t fall asleep. All while keeping the other hand on the wheel and eyes on the road. If you’re really close to the danger zone you might choose to pair this with winding their window down and/or loud singing.  

Assessing shades of snot colour.

It’s not until your child starts daycare that you learn to hone your skills in being able to tell the difference between marigold, butter-yellow, lime and grass-coloured snot. Because a child with yellow or green snot cannot attend daycare, whereas a bit of clear snot is allowed. 

You find yourself asking...does green come before or after yellow? When it’s yellow are they getting better? Is that clear or does it have a tinge of yellow? CAN I SEND THEM BACK YET?!

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Wasting money on more sippy cups than you care to count.

Drinking water is, for all humans, essential. So it’s funny (and not ‘haha funny’, trust me) that while a baby gets the hang of drinking milk from a breast or bottle fairly on, drinking water from a sippy cup can take more practice. It’s the sucking motion they struggle with as they quickly learn the laws of gravity, yet somehow have already developed a killer right arm pitch, being able to lob said sippy cup at high speed against any hard surface. 

The sippy cup graveyard in our house is a large plastic tub full of B Box, Tommy Tippee and several other brands that spent more time being aggressively bashed on the tray of the highchair than they did providing any form of hydration.

Learning that trying to stop them sharing sippy cups is futile.

When they finally get the hang of a sippy cup (It’ll be the B Box. It’s always the B Box) and you then go to a playdate or Mother’s Group catch-up, your sweet little one will pick up and suck on everyone's sippy cup but their own. You’ll stop them the first few times before admitting defeat. Because let’s face it, they're all there with clear snot anyway.    

Having stupid songs ingrained in your psyche forever. 

Before having kids you probably told yourself your child will just listen to your music and become a Queen or Beyonce fan, right? (kinda like how you told yourself you’d be able to avoid bright colours. Ha. Hahaha).

But actual music aside, it’s the other noisy things like toys and TV shows that seep deep into your brain and get stuck there, without you even noticing.

Like the cube with five sides (meet the animals, beat the drum, the cube is fun for everyone!).

Or when Ryder and the pups are needed to save the day (Marshall, Rubble, Chase, Rocky, Zuma, Skye. Yeah! They're on the way!).

Or any of the jingles by Didi and B, those phallic-looking furry finger puppets (I love cheese, I love flowers, I love looking at clouds for hours! Bananas!) 

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Parenting hack: Puppy Dog Pals makes every kid love a haircut. 

Developing the ability to drown out any unwanted noise.

This, ahem, skill, shall we call it, develops slowly. Think back to when you get your tiny fresh newborn home from the hospital and you’re on high alert, noticing every little cry, jumping to attention to tend to their needs immediately.  

Now think of when your one year old cries, and you only notice because your friend who’s visiting (the one who doesn't have kids) points it out. “Why’s he crying?” they ask. “Huh? Oh. No, he’s not crying. He’s playing you. He wants your chocolate bar. Ignore him.” 

Or when you’re trying to concentrate on the 6pm news but there’s a faint noise in the background making it difficult, so you eventually pay attention to it to discover your gorgeous little one has been bashing his green block into the door of the microwave at full force for the past seven minutes. 

You consider taking the block away but you know he’ll just use the yellow one on the oven door in that case so you just turn the TV up a bit instead. 

Listen to Me After You, Mamamia's podcast about life after a baby. Post continues after audio.

Learning to enjoy dinner at 5.45pm.

Remember that friend who visited, the one who doesn't have children? The one who is always like “let’s do dinner Friday night? 7.30pm? Bring the baby!” and you have to politely explain for the fourth time that dinner out these days has to happen while the sun is still up, at a restaurant that has no Chef’s Hat or notoriety, and you have to scoff down your meal faster than the battery can run out on the pre-loaded-with-Peppa-Pig iPad. 

Thinking you’ve come up with the best invention ever.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and never do more ‘things’ become necessary than when you become a mum. I swear I’ve invented about 764 genius ideas in the 14 months I’ve been a parent, only to Google them and find out some other clever mum or dad has pipped me at the post. 

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Except for my ‘human doggy door on the baby’s room’ idea. You know the scene all too well - you’re laying on the floor of the baby’s room, patting and shushing through the cot bars. They’re finally asleep but now you’ve got to get out somehow. The opening and closing of the bedroom door is some Mission Impossible stuff, right? Well it wouldn't be if there was a human doggy door flap you could crawl through. Are you with me?? Should I start product development ASAP?!

The best part of your day is updates from daycare.

You couldn't drop them off at 8am fast enough, and despite all the snot and poo and lack of sleep and financial stress and marital strain and random saggy body parts and nipple hair, when that picture comes through from daycare of your little bestie in a painting smock smiling wide with a big blue blob they painted (it’s a whale) you screenshot it and text it to your partner and say “he’s a genius. He’s the smartest and cutest and best kid ever born. Look what we made.” 

What glorious mess has become the norm for you since you became a parent? Tell us in the comments! 

Feature image: Supplied.


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