There are some things that hit you from day one and others you learn gradually in your first year as a new mum! These are the little wisdoms I’ve picked up from the front line of parenting …
1. There are two kinds of 4.30am. The one where you are falling out of a cab with one shoe on, clutching a kebab, and the one where your day is only just beginning and you’re expected to be nice to the tiny alarm clock and even make it breakfast!
2. Whilst we are on the subject of drinking. It’s barely worth going out anymore. Arranging a suitable babysitter, bribing the kids to stay with them and writing a 14 page instruction list is a military operation in itself. Then you have the task of trying to make yourself look presentable, squeezing all your wobbly bits into spanx and trying to find clothes without baby sick on. Only to get out and get absolutely smashed after 2 wines because you’re out of practice, bore everyone with your baby photos and then start crying because you miss them.
3. And whilst we are on the subject of going out. Hangovers and children DO NOT mix, ever. They have a sixth sense, they know and they will get up extra early and jump on your head all day like tiny terrorists.
4. The first time you hear the word ‘Mummy’ you will actually melt. Fast forward a year or so when you are hearing it 5,347 times a day and you will long for the days they were mute. ‘Mummy, can you wipe my bum?’ ‘Mummy, the baby is strangling the cat’. The only time they will call Daddy is to ask where Mummy is. Fact.
5. You will almost definitely think your child is a genius. Did you see that? He blew a raspberry. Get Mensa on the phone asap.
6. You will also almost definitely think your child is the most beautiful looking creature you have ever seen. Bruce & Brown couldn’t even afford her, so don’t even go there. Enquiries through her agent only please.
7. Tiny little clothes and shoes may be a quarter of the size of their grown up counterparts but they are not a quarter of the price. Oh no. Little darling will dragging their £45 shoes along the floor toe first while you’re chasing behind in your £1.70 primark top, looking fresh. They also grow at an alarming rate. Those £45 shoes will probably be too small in a fortnight!
8. It is possible to feel true hatred/violence towards the 4 year old who walloped your little angel at nursery. What do you mean he’s not your friend any more? Does he know how wonderful you are? I’m ringing his mum, the little shit.
9. Your child will almost definitely have a better social life than you. Between school, activities that cost more than your average bottle of wine and parties (with a bloody theme!) every other weekend, you will barely have time to shit.
10. Talking of shit, don’t expect to be able to take one in peace anymore. Going to the toilet alone is considered a luxury. Going to the supermarket alone is akin to a 2 week break in the Maldives.
11. Sorry, still on the subject of shit. You will be become a shit expert. You will become familiar with all the colours, smells and textures available. Sweetcorn and grape skin combo variety is a particular favourite. Sniffing someone’s bottom in public also becomes acceptable. As does cheering and doing a poo dance when they land one in the potty.
12. It may feel like it but yours isn’t the only baby who doesn’t sleep. Ignore the smug bastards on Facebook whose babies sleep 7-7 and speak Japanese, they’re probably lying. Everything is temporary, everything is a phase. Go with the flow, sleep when you can and drink loads of gin.
13. If you bottle feed, you will be judged. If you breastfeed, you will be judged. If you go to work, you will be judged. If you stay at home, you will be judged. If you dress your child in designer clothing, you will be judged. If you dress your child from charity shops, you will be judged. Moral of the story is, you may as well do what the fuck you like.
14. On the subject of opinions. Everyone will have one on everything to do with your children, even strangers. ‘Ooh are you going to get his hair cut soon?’ ‘She needs a good smack, kids weren’t like that in my day’ ‘You give him fruit shoots?! Well aren’t you the devil parent from hell’. Nod and smile.
15. Going out for a nice family dinner sometimes seems like a good idea. It rarely is. They won’t sit still, you will have to bribe them with iPads, they will need to go the toilet 14 times just to play with the hand dryer, they will spill your wine and put their hands in their drinks to get the ice out. You will then have to cut up loads of really expensive food they won’t even eat and by the time you’ve done all that your own food will be cold. Stay home, order dominoes and let them run around like the feral little beasts they are.
16. You will ALWAYS buy them too much at Christmas despite your good intentions and then feel really shit about it. Especially when you’re eating beans on toast for all of January and stepping on fucking bits of Lego (more painful than childbirth, by the way).
17. Holidays are no longer relaxing. You can no longer pack light. People won’t want to sit next to you on planes and don’t even bother bringing a book, you will not be reading it. Save your money, you will need it for ALL the ice-creams. Don’t get me started on school holiday prices. Bye bye Barbados, hello Butlins.
18. When you put them to bed you will really feel like staying there yourself and have to have an internal battle with yourself. Early night or an hour of crap telly with a glass of wine? Go with the wine. It’s really important to have time to yourself, it keeps you sane.
19. Being a mum is the hardest and worst paid but most rewarding job in the world. They will push you to the edge of sanity most days but all will be forgiven once they’re asleep because they are so FUCKING cute. See point 6.
20. Time passes really fast. Too fast and before you know it your chubby baby with no knees and two teeth will be all grown up with hairy legs and BO. Enjoy every moment, even the really bad 4.30am ones, you will miss them. The housework will still be there tomorrow, make the most of them whilst they still think you’re cool and want to spend time with you.
*Disclaimer. I do really love my kids but it isn’t half as funny writing about all the wonderful bits and I don’t want to sound like one of those smug Facebook bastards.
I’m a London-based mum of two crazy boys. 33 going on 17. Snap Happy Foodie, Ginnie and Gobby. Just winging it (aren’t we all?) juggling all the balls and trying to raise gentlemen. Peace out.