When I look back to ten years ago, or even 8, before I was a parent, the world was a different place. I know they say that parenting changes you, that you will never feel that single, care free person again, but I’m not sure I was really prepared for exactly how much parenting changes you.
If I could sent a message back in time to my ‘before mother me’, this is what I would try to explain to myself.
Children are Noisy.
I know you know children are noisy, you’ve heard the school play ground, you’ve seen them as you walk past a park but this is different. This is your own personal, very efficient noise-generation-machine that lives in your once-peaceful home. It has no sound limits and knows no time zones. It is quite amazing how much noise such a tiny creature can make from the moment it is born.
As it grows, it just seems to gets louder.
You will Never be able to Wear the Same Piece of Clothing Two Days in a Row.
You know those times when you put on the same jumper, skirt or jeans for the second or third day in a row? You brush it off and think “yeah! that’ll do!”.
When you have kids, don’t even let that thought scurry past the outskirts of your mind.
You’ll pick up a sweater, think it’s alright, put it on, look at yourself in the mirror and realise there’s a large lump of porridge/snot/crayon on the shoulder.
Or worse, someone will point it out half way through the day.
Take the easy route. Put on totally clean clothes EVERY SINGLE day.
They’ll only be clean for 5 minutes anyway.
You will Face INFINITE RAGE and/or INFINITE FRUSTRATION Every Single Day.
Before I had kids, I had a reasonably stressful job but on a daily basis the most stressful things was facing the morning rush hour. Rush hour traffic is a breeze compared to kids.
Take this morning for example. I ask Celeste what she wants to take for school snack. A banana. I put a banana in her bag. “Me don’t like banana.” (She does.) She asks for a clementine. I hand her a clementine. “Me not want clementine.”
She finally decides on an apple.
“No biggie!”, my pre child self thinks, “let the girl take a clementine!”
Try it on repeat every 10 minutes, when you have 2 minutes to get everyone to school and then see what you think.
Or last week when Galen hid Dante’s shoes and then left for school without telling anyone where they were.
Your patience will be tried every single day. You will spend your spare time working out how to be a calmer and more tranquil parent.
I’m surprised they don’t give out meditation classes with your first pregnancy.
Your Child Cutting their Finger will turn you to Jelly.
I know you’re a doctor right now. You have stitched wounds in heads where you cut put your finger in and touch their skull. You have drain an abscess in someone’s buttock that was so large you could put your fist in. You have seen maggots in someone’s face where they should have had an eyeball.
When your child cuts their finger, your heart will pound, your legs will go wobbly and you’ll feel sick.
Get used to it, it doesn’t get any easier.
You will Never have a Perfectly Tidy House and the Laundry will NEVER be done.
Tidying, cleaning and laundry is always a work in progress. Even on those rare occasions that you’ve just put all the clean clothes away, you’ll find yourself looking at a large pile of dirty clothes.
If you get your house resembling “nearly tidy”, cherish it. It will last approximately 30 seconds after the children walk in or wake up.
You will Find Unlimited Supplies of Love.
After your first child, you’ll be scared to have another. What if you don’t love that one the same way or as much? Surely you’ve used up all your mothering love on one child?
Turns out it doesn’t work like that. Each child comes with their own limitless supply of love.
Mothering Love knows no bounds.
Leaving the House will become an Activity in Itself
Right now, the only things you need to leave the house are yourself and a key to get back in. When you are a mother, you’ll need spare clothes, nappies, food, toys, wipes, various other “essential” items.
Did I mention children?
Even if you do just want to walk around the block, you’ll still need to get four children with shoes on to the front door.
Sometimes, we step out of the front door. Pat ourselves on the back and return the way we came.
Ditto with the Car
You may think that taking the car is a quick and easy. You get in, turn the key and go right?
With kids, you need to get them and a camel’s worth of “stuff” to the car. You need to get everyone into the car, in a seat, buckled up. You need to go back for a forgotten item, to take someone to the toilet or just for a 5 minute rest.
When you get to the other end, you need to do everything in reverse.
Thinking about taking the car? It’s probably as quick to walk.
The Words “wee wee” and “poo poo” become Every Day Vocabulary.
As adults, we rarely talk about toilets.
Not so with kids.
“I need a wee wee!” or just “wee wee!”
“You smell of poo poo!”
“Mummy, Galen said I smell of poo!”
Not only that, you’ll spend considerable amounts of time sitting next to the toilet, holding someone’s hand whilst they dangle their little legs over the side, teaching them how to wipe from front to back, or just keeping them company.
Then you’ll spend 5 minutes convincing them that they do want to flush the chain, roll up their “leaves” and wash their hands.
You never knew there were so many toilet related activities.
Nothing Can Prepare you for ParentHood
Even if I could go back in time and tell myself all these things, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
I wouldn’t have been more prepared.
I wouldn’t have “known”.
I don’t think anything can truly prepare you for becoming a parent.
You just have to close your eyes, hold your nose and dive right in!