The me of four years ago (before children) had lots of ideas about the kind of parent I'd be. It's such an important job, arguably THE most important job in the world, so I desperately wanted to get it right and do it well. I had high expectations for future me and the kind of mother I would become. Then baby arrived...
Here are a few things I told myself I would never do as a parent...
1. Use the television as childcare
Children don't just sit and play quietly like they do in movies. In order to get anything done, anything at all - like wash yourself, clean up a bit, cook food, make a phone call, even go to the loo - for most of us sticking the television on for a bit is the only way. If you have quiet, calm, self entertaining children that don't start attempting to seriously injure themselves as soon as you start folding up laundry...hurrah! If not...put Cbeebies on.
2. Feeding my children chicken nuggets and chips
Sometimes it's just all they will eat. They're in a bad mood, they're ill, they are going through a fussy eating stage, or maybe you just can't be bothered to cook... whip out the nuggets. Try them on the spinach again tomorrow.
3. Telling my kids off in public
Obviously only when necessary, but to the absolute horror of old me... yes sometimes you do have to have a rant in public...else the moment will be gone and the lesson won't be learnt.
3. Let myself go
There. Is. No. Time.
4. Look forward to bed time
It's okay to want a break from your children. And it's okay to count down til that break, watching the clock as it drags it's hands over to the magic number and allows you to yell happily 'bed time kids!'
5. Worry about everything
The slightest fever, a rash, a funny mark, a weird cry. Not walking yet, not eating much, not speaking yet. Strange coloured poop. I always thought I'd be a relaxed 'go with the flow' mother... and yet parenthood has me googling symptoms and milestones and meanings on an hourly basis.
6. Avoiding going anywhere
For most of us, going anywhere with children is pretty stressful. The number of meltdowns I have had just due to the sheer chaos a trip to the beach can cause, let alone a festival, break or holiday. I told myself I'd be exploring the world with my babies, now I dread even going to the supermarket.
7. Allow your home to be taken over
The house might as well belong to the children. There is garish plastic and a village of cuddly toys in every room, and every Christmas and birthday the mess multiplies.
8. Talk about children. All the time.
I wasn't going to be the parent that became really boring and only ever spoke about babies and children. But hello! That is me now. Now I am parenting every minute of every day it's pretty much all I get to think about, so obviously it's going to be what I talk about most of the time too. I can't help it. I am sorry old me.
9. Post loads of pictures of your kids on social media
I didn't even have social media before children. But even I knew that posting loads of pictures of your kids gets on people's nerves. But you know what, parenting is hard and long and gruelling and lovely and rewarding and life changing and beautiful... if you want to catch some of that process and share it with people then who cares if a few of them roll their eyes. Maybe not everyone needs to see pictures of your lunch every day either Susan.