Children are amazing aren’t they? Such interesting little people, full of the wonder of the world, so loving, bright, busy, funny and cute. This is of course what we focus on when we decide we want to create a family, but there’s also the other less fluffy side of parenting that we all have to deal with…so you may want to read this…after all, forewarned is forearmed!
- Your children WILL at some point embarrass you in public. Whether it be a screaming tantrum in the middle of the shopping centre, as you try with the elegance of a rhino to prize their small but powerfully strong fingers off the children’s ride you just spent £4.00 indulging them on, or loudly commenting on the size of the lady standing next to you in the queue, children don’t hold back when it comes to expressing their thoughts or feelings no matter what environment they are in. Expect lots of stares from passersby but try not to make eye contact.
- They will completely ignore you until you need to make a phone call and then they will talk incessantly at you whilst you try to talk.
- They don’t care that you’ve only had 3 unbroken hours sleep or that 5 a.m. is NOT a perfectly reasonable time to get up. They ignore the fact you’ve spent hours pouring over the Gina Ford sleep training book or that you’re so exhausted you don’t know what day it is…because let’s face it folks…neither do they.
- If you fix yourself a snack and your children are nearby, fully expect it to be taken from you.
- Babies and toddlers cry a lot. No matter how much love and attention you shower them with, little people cry EVERYDAY. It’s not your fault, it’s just what they do. It doesn’t matter that they’ve just spent the last five minutes in a delirious fit of giggles at the HILARIOUS way you said ‘sausages‘. Things can very quickly change without warning or reason. A baby or toddler can experience a wide range of emotions in only a very short space of time which goes something like this…very happy, happy…uh oh, angry…very angry, now sad…..very sad…AND…back to happy again..Yey!!
- Oh and guess what, you’ll cry more too! There’s the tired tears, the worried tears, the frustrated tears, the ‘I need a dark cupboard to stand in’ tears, the guilty tears, the lonely tears, the ‘what’s happened to me’ tears, the happy tears, the proud tears. Yes ladies, you’ll be ‘crying a river’ in no time.
- Expect regular invasions in the middle of the night from your younger child who will somehow manage to occupy two thirds of your kingsize mattress. Problem is, you’ll be too exhausted to remove them and will instead settle for a foot in the face or sleeping diagonally across the bottom of the bed.
- Although YOU think you are there to nurture, raise and develop this beautiful human being you’ve created…in your children’s eyes, you are actually there to serve them. When you are upstairs folding laundry in the bedroom and they shout loudly and urgently for you from the lounge because their teddy fell off the sofa and they can’t be bothered to lean down and get it, you may feel a little resentful and say something like “I’m not your servant”. Well, the reality is YOU ARE…You may as well call yourself ‘The Butler’ and be done with it.
- Guilt will become part of your DNA. Guilty that they’re not eating enough vegetables, guilty that you left them screaming at the day nursery, guilty you’re not spending enough ‘quality’ time with them, guilty you were impatient with them…yup, guilt is the one dish you’ll be eating ladles of over the years. Bon appetite!
- You will also worry more. You may even have sleepless nights ‘worrying’ about your child, their safety, their health, their happiness, their development. You’ll worry your baby doesn’t sleep enough, then you’ll worry it’s slept too long. You name it, at some point you’ll worry about it.
- Children also have lots of bad habits. These include: (most offensively) nose picking and wiping it either on their sleeve or any available surface (or sibling), teeth grinding, thumb or dummy sucking, head banging and nail biting. Before potty training also expect pooing in the bath.
- It will usually take you 3 attempts to get them to do most things. Yes that’s right. Most children have fabulous selective hearing for starters. If they hear something that stops them from doing what they are enjoying at that moment then they hit the mute button. “Clean your room, get dressed”…”nope, sorry, can’t hear you”. “Do you want a biscuit?” “Heard that and YES PLEASE!”.
- You cannot escape Peppa Pig. Accept it.
- Apart from when they are sleeping, expect lots of noise and mess…lots of mess. Your house will become invaded with bright plastic toys that litter every corner of your home. Some of which will never get played with as it seems your toddler would rather play with the TV remote, telephone, utensils out of the kitchen drawer, plug sockets or the contents of your handbag. However, when they do take an interest in the toy cupboard, expect them to pull out every toy ever bought and distribute them evenly throughout every room in the house, before losing interest and reverting back to the TV remote again….
- Although you think that playdate with your new friend from the toddler group will involve a nice afternoon drinking tea…think again. The reality is young children can only play well together for so long. After that, expect tears, tantrums, fighting over toys, constant interruptions, unfinished conversations…and cold tea.
- Try not to get sad or offended if that wonderful, nutritionally balanced meal you just spent the last hour lovingly preparing gets the ‘URGHHH’ treatment from your kids. Children are often suspicious of trying new foods and you may need to cook that dish up to a dozen times before they finally accept it (if at all)…not that that’s soul destroying or anything…
- They will draw on your furniture and walls with colouring pens or crayons. Yes it seems even the most careful of parents aren’t immune to this little treat. Leave a rogue crayon, biro or worse – marker pen – laying around and the minute your back is turned…boom, it’s party time for your little Picasso…remember, every wall’s a canvas.
- Getting out the door to do anything will feel like a military operation. Ahh, you’ll soon be reminiscing over the ‘good old days’ when all you needed to do was pop your shoes on, grab your keys, coat and handbag and off you went…Not so easy once children arrive. I’m afraid your stress levels are about to get a whole lot higher. If you have more than one child, it starts to feel a bit like herding cats. There will usually be a toddler running around with one shoe on, someone that forgot to go to the loo, a nappy that needs changing again, the search for something you just had in your hand but because you’re being constantly distracted, now can’t find, a little bit of shouting, possibly some crying and a child that thought it a good idea to go sit down and put the TV on again…Think of it a bit like a storm warning…only go out if you really HAVE to.
But don’t let this put you off kids. They really are the silver lining….just a shame about the big ‘f’ off cloud that comes with them… 😉
(Image sourced from: Essential Kids website)