Do you know when I knew the MOST about parenting?
Before I was a parent.
How easy it is to be an onlooker and declare without a shadow of doubt that you will never have your kids in your bed or cuddle them to sleep or forget to feed them. Only me? I doubt it.
Becoming an actual parent has changed every preconceived notion I had on the subject – it took my opinions and covered them with sleepless nights and crying induced vomit.
Seriously, parenting is one big learning curve and to save you time (and pain) in learning the hard way, I put together a nifty little list for you. Now you’ll be one step ahead of them *cue evil laugh*
- It’s just not possible to love a second (or third, or fourth) child as much as I love my first, right? WRONG. Your heart does this crazy weird thing where it just gets bigger. It’s science.
- I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again – do not be precious about anything – it will get ruined! Case in point.
- Silence is a lack of sound. I’m just clarifying that, because like me, you may not have experienced it in yonks. Except for that time your toddler was giving your phone a drink of water from the toilet.
- You think having pets will prepare you for children. It will not. NOT. Generally speaking, pets don’t need something from you every single moment of every day
- Parenting works in seasons. Tiny baby, awkward baby, toddler, diva. Maybe this season is not for you – but there will be another season that you will absolutely smash! Don’t be hard on yourself about it.
- Your children are not naturally inclined to be little obedient versions of themselves. Discipline is possibly the hardest part of being a parent, but it is NOT optional. Unless of course you want to be excluded from every playdate ever.
- There is always one that’s not listening and then there is always one that will do everything that you say and more. Again. It’s science.
- Dads looking after their kids while the mother is not there is called parenting. It just is.
- I can’t tell you how many times I looked at Mothers with screaming kids and thought, “Just make them stop”. Oh sweet, ignorant self – you were an idiot. Making a child just stop having a tantrum is like trying to stop me eating an entire packet of Nik Naks in one sitting – just not going to happen. Tantrums are not a result of parenting per say – your kid is struggling to express themselves and it’s not fun or even “acceptable”, but you bet your baby bag, it will happen.
- You will have the poop scared out of you on a number of occasions – most of these will be due to a toddler that crept up on you while you were sleeping and suddenly grabs your face.
- Your child’s first instinct isn’t to walk around a puddle. Ever.
- You are not going to get it right all the time. You are going to scream louder than you wanted to or react in a manner that you could never have thought you were even capable of. You’re human. You need to be able to say sorry – we make mistakes and it’s important to own it. Not only with your kids, but with your partner too. Sorry Seth.
- They watch your every move – that time you accidentally said a few choice words after standing on another piece of Lego will haunt you for years to come. Probably around the Christmas table.
- You’re not going to know everything. People often assume that I know lots about parenting because I happen to have three kids who are still in a relative state of OKness, but let me tell you, I often find myself at my wits ends trying to figure it out on my own. It’s OK to admit that you need help and then actually use the help you’ve been offered.
- The bigger the buildup, the bigger the meltdown. Hot damn. If I had R100 each time we had been talking about an event weeks before it was supposed to happen and then at the event you get the most epic tantrum, I’d be flipping rich. To this day I can remember Kyla (not one for being over dramatic) shouting “I don’t want to have a party EVER AGAIN” after her 3rd birthday. Sigh.
- Despite what every parenting guide will tell you – there is no right way to parent. Unless you’re abusing your kid or not strapping them into a car seat to transport them, then you be on your merry way.
- It’s so not necessary to “buy all the things”. Besides filing your house up with stuff that you need to find a place for, you’ll have to practice walking around it on the floor – because that’s where it all ends up anyway.
- The hardest lesson I learnt was that I am no longer then centre of my own universe. In fact, more often than not, I am Pluto. Poor Pluto. And that’s OK for a time. We all need to practice being a little more others focused anyway.
- You will inevitably be late. For most things. All the time. Nuff said.
- Since having children I have NEVER left the house without having to go back inside for something that we left behind. Whether it’s the baby bag, a toy, a jersey, or even a child. There’s always something.
- Some days are going to suck. It’s just the truth of it. You’ll be counting the minutes for bedtime to finally come and then you’ll sink into the couch with your coping mechanism (Milo, coffee, wine, whatevs) and feel guilty for wishing the time away.
- On a related note – Mom Guilt is a real thing. Often it doesn’t make sense and you’re the only one that will force this guilt on you, but that doesn’t make it any less present.
- Just like you have days where you don’t want to do anything – they will to, they are just mini versions of you after all.
- The more you slave over a meal the less everyone will enjoy it. Also, they will survive if they refuse to eat it and you send them to bed without supper.
- That spontaneous trip to the winelands to visit a play park, that surprise visit to circus, that extra game of Uno before bed may not be your first inclination, but these kinds of things will be the most remembered.
- Don’t expect your second to be like your first, or your third to be like your second. Kids are all different and that’s what makes it all so exciting.
- Go with the flow or go crazy. It’s science.