Things I’ve discovered since becoming a parent:
1. I regularly become convinced that I am going to die from sleep deprivation. So much so that I have been known to text my husband while he’s at work to say goodbye.
2. In the first 6 months or so I probably talked about poo more than anything else.
3. When I think of my former childless self who complained about being tired I laugh. I laugh a kind of hysterical desperate laugh and wish I could go back in time and punch my former self for not having a clue.
4. Social media is dangerous. Most people only show an edited version of their lives. The ‘best bits’. Images of their happy smiling children, behaving beautifully, having the time of their lives. You usually take more notice of these images when you’re having a particularly bad day and it makes you question your abilities as a parent. How are you getting it so wrong? Why aren’t other people’s children covered in dry snot and licking the television screen? Why aren’t their children obsessed with the kitchen bin?
When this happens to you search for the Unmumsy Mum blog and I promise you will laugh and cry and realise that this unrealistic portrayal of parenthood on social media is just that, unrealistic. And you will feel a whole lot better.
5. Before I had a child I never imagined I’d be saying phrases like this without even batting an eyelid:
‘Is your willy itchy? Let me see it’
‘Don’t even think about biting the cat’
‘Please don’t hit me with the hammer, that hurts’
‘Boobs. Yes those are my boobs. Yes that’s one boob. And yes that’s the other. No, please don’t squeeze them though.’
‘Let me wipe that snot before it runs into your mouth’
6. I get far too involved in children’s TV programmes and find myself asking questions like ‘Where are Ryder’s parents in Paw Patrol?’, ‘Who funds all of the Pups’ equipment?’ and in Peppa Pig ‘Why doesn’t George Pig’s name also start with a P?’
And then I found out that the woman who does the voice of Mummy Pig also does the voice of Madame Gazelle AND Doctor Hamster and I was reeling from this revelation for days.
7. On the subject of Peppa Pig, while I really despise that little brat she is also a gift from God for all parents. The pre-child me used to vow that I would never be one of those parents who stuck an iPad in front of my child in a restaurant. I scoff at that silly woman now. The only way to have a peaceful meal out and to enjoy the luxury of chewing my food is with the help of an iPad and that bloody pig.
8. Privacy is a luxury. My toddler recently watched me through the glass for my entire shower, all the while giggling and drawing ‘Momma’ on his Etch a Sketch.
9. Until I had a baby I never in my life thought I’d be in a situation where someone was being sick and it would be my natural instinct to try and catch it with my bare hands.
10. Toddlers learning to talk will inevitably learn the swear words first.
I spend an enormous part of my day trying to get George to say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ when he yells ‘MORE!’ in my general direction after finishing his biscuit, only to be met with complete silence. ‘That’s ok’ I tell myself, ‘his speech is taking its time but he will get there soon’.
Then I drop my phone and say ‘oh shit’ under my breath and he spends the next 20 minutes pacing the living room saying ‘shit shit shit shit shit’, making me both mortified and strangely proud that he’s said a new word in equal measures.
11. Baby brain is a very real disorder and once it sets in it’s there to stay. The other day in Wagamama’s I tried to drink a cup full of colouring crayons that the waitress had given to George.
12. There is no such thing as a ‘leisurely wee’ in a public toilet when you’re accompanied by a toddler. When George is in the cubicle with me I know I have approximately 4 seconds to have my wee and make myself decent again before he flings open the door and exposes me to the outside world. I am so accomplished at speedy weeing that if it were an Olympic sport I reckon I’d win Gold.
13. When a toddler gets close to your face and looks in your eyes, don’t go all gooey and be fooled into thinking they’re being affectionate, more often than not they will just stick a wet finger in your mouth.
14. This little bundle that turns your life upside down makes your heart feel love so intense that you never even knew it existed, a love that is so overwhelming and powerful you can’t even put it into words. You have a natural instinct to protect them that is so fierce you could take on the world.
You would die for them without question, without even giving it a thought, it would just come as instinct before you could even process what was happening. This love will scare you to the point that you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night panicking about what you would do if anything happened to them. You would do anything for them, give up anything, drop everything, just to make sure they are happy.
They may be exhausting and push you to the brink of despair on a daily basis, but they are completely and utterly worth it.