You have lofty ideals about what you will and won’t do with your imaginary children. Then the reality of parenthood nappy-slaps you off that pedestal.
Things I promised my pre-baby self I’d never do:
Employ TV as my babysitter.
Ok, so I’m not saying dump the babes in front of Sky Movies and skedaddle for the night. Think ‘mother’s help’ not ‘full-time nanny’. Just 30 minutes of (insert mesmerising electronic activity) lets me catch up with urgent stuff like making dinner, showering or (ahem) Twitter. For the record, my kids also read books, enjoy fresh air and do occasional crafting. But if switching on CBeebies means I can u-n-p-l-u-g for a bit, then pass me the remote control.
Smear my child’s face with saliva.
I loathed being effectively spat on as a kid and swore I would never inflict it on my offspring. Now, as a mum of 2, you can’t keep my tongue away from my thumb. Baby wipes are dandy but spit-cleaning is faster and more satisfying on a primal level. Call it marking your territory: Dogs pee. Mamas lick.
Treat my kids differently.
Equality’s a noble concept. Sadly the average parent invests way more time, interest and cold hard cash on Child One, while subsequent kids survive on fast food and hand-me-downs. I’d like to prove this theory wrong but the photographic evidence (12 pics of my youngest, compared to the 1.2 million I took of my firstborn) is staggering.
Suffer public outbursts.
What was I thinking? Like this is something in your control. As if every child comes with a panic button that will eject one or both of you from supermarket meltdowns. Guess what? That’s not been invented yet. But if you can keep your head between two bawling babes on a plane, while covered in puke and a hundred strangers’ eyes shooting poisoned darts into the back of your neck – then you’ll be a Mum, my girl.
Live vicariously through my children.
Right. Of course back then I had no idea that after kids my life as I knew it would be effectively OVER. It’s not all bad – I’ve managed to parlay having babies into a new set of friends, shopping for cool clothes (size zero? More like 0-3), running a media empire (alright, a blog) and having a jam-packed social calendar – even if most of the action happens before 6pm!
Judge other mothers.
As a rule, I respect my comrades in the trenches. I couldn’t care less about stuff like whether or not you breastfeed or Montessori or co-sleep. But there are moments when it takes every ounce of willpower to bite my tongue… like when I see a newborn guzzling Coke from a bottle or a grown-ass kid in a pushchair or camel toe on the school run…
Resort to saying ‘I’m going to count to 5’!
I felt the Ghosts of Pissed Mamas Past shudder through me when I first whipped out that chestnut. Does anybody actually know what terrible punishment comes after you reach 5? I don’t and I’ll bet my mum didn’t either. It’s old school magic. Don’t mess with it.
Give up sex.
In my fantasies I’m strutting around in Agent Provocateur instead of baggy maternity undies, being whisked away on regular date nights and dirty weekends. In reality… zzzz.
So, did motherhood make a liar out of you? Confess!