Inspired by Kate Hall’s post “10 Things I Didn’t Expect About Being a Grown-Up“, it got me thinking about the surprises that motherhood has sprung on me in the last four years. So here are 10 Things I Didn’t Expect as a Parent:
1) I didn’t expect to lose my boundaries. I was warned this might happen but never believed it to be true, until I had two humans yanked out of me in front of a room full of strangers (both times an emergency team of doctors and midwives, not random bystanders; just to clarify). Legs akimbo, exhausted and rambling; my sense of privacy and embarrassment have never been the same since. I’ll discuss anything with anyone at anytime…whether you want to hear about it or not.
2) I didn’t expect my children to look nothing like me. Or my husband for that matter. We are both dark-haired and with hubby being half Cypriot, we often joked about the hairy, olive-skinned, Greek Adonises that we would produce. Except out popped two blonde haired, blue-eyed boys. Yes, yes, they are his. We don’t have a milkman. And I’m far too tired for an affair.
3) I didn’t expect that starting my day at 6am would become the norm. Pre-children, I believed it to be my basic human right to get 8 hours unbroken sleep, let alone start my day before 7am. I now get woken most nights, to take Big Monkey to the loo, stop the label on his PJs from scratching him, find a lost dummy, explain why he can’t jump off a building like Spiderman or open my eyes at 3am to find he’s standing inches away from my face just staring at me. Yup. Freaky. Oh and after all of that, Little Monkey starts calling out for me anytime around 6am, ready to start the day.
4) I didn’t expect wet wipes to become my best friend. Oh my goodness, they are a miracle invention. They clean everything from a baby’s bottom to stubborn stains on the carpet. I should probably be disturbed by this fact and question what’s in them, but I don’t. I love them. The only time I don’t have them with me is at work; otherwise I’d probably start trying to wet-wipe my colleagues (refer to point #1. lack of boundaries).
5) I didn’t expect to be a nappy snob. There, I’ve said it. I have used other supermarket brands on-and-off with both boys, and they were really quite good. But I couldn’t bring myself to send Little Monkey off to his new childminder in anything other than the brand that rhymes with ‘Hampers’. I’m not proud but there it is. Please don’t judge me.
6) I didn’t expect to be out-witted by my own child. You ask them nicely to do something and they just do it, right? Er, wrong. I frequently find myself being unwittingly dragged into ridiculous negotiations and stand-offs over the simplest things with a three-year-old. That is, until I remember that I’m the adult and should take the moral high-ground and lead by example (otherwise known as yelling “For goodness sake, just do it!”).
7) I didn’t expect to have to answer so many questions. I thought was prepared for the ‘why?’ stage but when it came, my god, it came. “Why can’t I fly?”, “Why does Spiderman shoot webs?”, “Why are foxes naughty?”, “Why don’t you have a willy?” (that was an interesting one). This child asks questions from morning til night, about things that would never enter my head. I love his inquisitive mind, but being his fountain of all knowledge is exhausting.
8) I didn’t expect having a child to be a mummy-magnet. Seriously, you go to the park, the shops, wherever – when you have a small child with you, it’s licence to start talking to other mums, who are, quite frankly, complete strangers, as if you’ve known them for years. You find yourself swapping birth stories within five minutes of meeting, then cheerily waving goodbye and never seeing them again.
9) I didn’t expect to be ok without my mum. But I am. That’s not to say that there’s a day that goes by when I don’t wish she was here with me, to see the boys grow up and to ask those all-important parenting questions (like ‘does it matter if he only wants cereal for breakfast, dinner and tea?’). But in the two-and-a-half years since she passed, I’ve (had to) learn to trust my own instincts and remarkably, the boys still have all their fingers and toes, and are turning into rather wonderful little people.
10) I didn’t expect to love these little creatures quite so unconditionally. All the tears, tantrums and night-wakings aside; I adore these boys more than I ever thought possible. Everyday day I look at them I wonder how I created such amazing little people. They make me laugh, they make me cry, they fill me with wonderment and they run me ragged. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.