Oh boy, yesterday was quite simply one of those days. You know the ones. The mummy meltdown days. We had what I like to call Whine Fest 2013 at my place and although we had only one attendee he made up for it with gusto and enthusiasm. And to be honest I seriously thought to myself a number of times “I didn’t know it was going to be like this”. I’m not sure why I am so surprised. They are little humans after all and can get out of bed and have a crap day like anyone else. And clearly I was having a crap day too as it seemed my supply of patience had all but run out and that’s not every day me either. So while I was wallowing in self pity about my crappy day I started to think about what else I missed the memo on when it came to parenting. It certainly has its fair share of surprises. Here are the ones that I was completely clueless about.
1. The extent of my involvement with poo. Yeah yeah so we all know there are poopy nappies to change. I got that part. No problem. But I had no idea that said nappies were not always successful at containing poop. I tried every major brand on the market when my kid was a newborn and still he pooped on me at least once a day for at least a month. Once he also projectile pooped off the change table all over the white blinds and carpet of our beachside rental. Next time you see a strange mustard coloured stain somewhere, you know what it is.
2. That breastfeeding would be difficult and I wouldn’t like it. Breastfeeding came reasonably easy to me but it still wasn’t easy and I still didn’t love it. And if you are demand feeding then you seriously have a baby attached to your chest the majority of the day every day for weeks on end. It almost killed me. Going to that 6 week weigh in made it all worth it though. I got lots of ‘wow good for you, your breast milk must be awesome for him to have put so much weight on’ which made me think that maybe I overdid it a bit. But how are you supposed to know?! I’m still at a loss.
3. That this parenting gig is relentless. I still remember my first mothers group when bub was 8 weeks old. They had a social worker come and speak to us and we had to go around the circle and say the one thing about being a new parent that we weren’t prepared for or didn’t realise. I honestly can’t remember what I said so it can’t have been too earth shattering but I do remember that one of the others said “I just wasn’t prepared for the relentlessness of it” and I thought oh my god she nailed it, why didn’t I say that? So yeah, it is relentless. And it doesn’t get less relentless either but it does get more fun (just thought I should put that in there before you start crying about your choice to fall pregnant).
4. That I would have to negotiate with my toddler to get dressed and he isn’t even 2 years old. I wasn’t expecting this to be an issue at all. I have a boy for crying out loud. I thought boys didn’t care about clothes? Turns out I was wrong. My son frequently brings me clothes he wants to get changed into and starts taking off the ones he is wearing in preparation. He also doesn’t like to sit still to get dressed. We have to have a game of chaseys some days. If we aren’t in a hurry I just undress him and walk into the loungeroom with the new clothes. Eventually he runs the energy out of him (for the next minute) and rocks up to get his clothes on. Sometimes that happens. Never all the time and not yesterday.
5. The fact that I have no authority whatsoever a substantial portion of the time. I remember a friend telling me that their 3 year old son ruled the household (I was pregnant at the time) and I laughed and secretly thought to myself some judgemental thing about parenting and how my child wouldn’t be like that. Well he is. He runs the show. I attempt to run the show and some days he lets me some of the time and other days he just decides that the sound of my voice is boring and tunes me out. *sigh* It happens to the best of us.
6. That sometimes my kid would make me so mad that I would really really want to spank him. I never thought I would feel this way but damn my son can push my buttons. And it makes sense right. Your kids are with you a large proportion of the time, if not all of the time. They know better than ever how to push those buttons of yours. This is why they really invented time out. It’s for mummy and daddy as well as naughty children. Everyone has time to cool down and there’s no crazy smacking. Even if you do decide that a smack is ok for your child if they are really naughty you don’t want to be doing it when you are angry. You aren’t in control of yourself and will likely hit the child much harder than you intend or is warranted. Take a breather, talk it over and reassess. I guarantee that 99% of the time you will decide that smack isn’t necessary.
7. That when people say they work from home with a young child they don’t actually mean when then child is awake. I thought the birth of my child was the perfect opportunity to do some work and study from home. And that’s what I’m doing and I am loving it. Yay! But it’s not like I can sit around all day doing it whenever I want. It’s sleep time only baby. That’s it.
8. That for some time to come I would be going to the toilet with an audience. I was reading some stuff online about toilet training the other day and people are suggesting that you let your kid in to watch when you go “if you can stomach it”. If I can stomach it? Ummm I’m sorry but who out there is getting a choice about whether or not their child attends their toilet visits because I’m not. This is my son’s dad’s biggest complaint too. He was not at all prepared for this. Thankfully they grow out it if…eventually. Hopefully before they can remember the experience for all eternity.
9. That there would be an endless amount of crying/moaning/whining over completely insignificant things. This is what happened for us yesterday. Master S cried like he was being abandoned over a number of things. Here is a selection:
- I refused to let him keep playing with the car keys (I used to let him and he lost the spare which is going to cost me $169 to replace so no more car keys)
- He dropped his cup of water
- He couldn’t get all the sultanas out of the sultana box when he shook it
- I ate a piece of fish off his dinner plate
All very serious things as you can see. There is a dad who documents his son’s crying episodes on tumblr. He also accepts submissions from other parents these days! I should have taken some pics yesterday! Anyway it is brilliant and captures this thought exactly. Check it out!
10. That despite things being much harder than I expected I would totally love it anyway. So yes some bits truly are more shit than I thought they’d be…but the other bits are much much better than I ever imagined they’d be (thank God). As much as it’s a cliche all I want to say here is that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well it’s a cliche and it’s also untrue. I would have it without the whining.
What about you? What were the things you weren’t prepared for as a parent!!! Go on, leave a comment and tell me all about it!!!