10 things I told myself I would never do before I had kids
Before I was a mum, I had a certain vision of what motherhood would look like.
(And to be honest, it kind of looked a lot like one of those really nice Pinterest boards called something like "Family Life" or "I Am Blessed" or whatever....)
I had vivid internal pictures of my future family sitting down to our organic, dairy- and sugar free dinners, Sunday walks in the park dressed in trendy non-mum-like outfits and quiet moments of reading fairy tales to my angelic blonde children while the iPad collected dust in a drawer.
Sounds amazing, doesn't it?
The thing is, reality never really match up with fantasy, does it? So now, a few years and two children later, let me tell you that my real experience of motherhood isn't quite identical to what I had picture. (And by not quite I mean like really – really – far off.)
To give you an example, here are ten of the things I swore I would never do as a mum – that I absolutely have done. (Some of them on a more or less daily basis...):
1. Letting my children eat sugar
Back in my pre-child life, even when I was pregnant, I would state (to anyone who would listen) that giving children sugar is literally bordering on child abuse and a fast-track to a life of obesity and rotten teeth.
Now? OK, so I am still trying to limit sugar, but let's just say that my children are not strangers to frosting laden cupcakes and choc ice or Kinder Eggs or luminous blue ice cream...
2. Letting my children eat junk food
Healthy, wholesome snacks are great, but the reality is that my kids just aren't that fond of roasted chickpeas...
I mean, we try to eat very organic and plant based most of the time, but there have been days where I have bribed them into oblivion with some curly fries from McDonald's – and didn't even feel the slightest bit guilty about it. That's motherhood for you.
3. Leave the house without make-up
Some days, when you have to choose between putting on your tinted moisturizer or actually having time to put on pants, you choose pants. Clearly.
4. Skip morning showers
I was convinced nothing, not even motherhood, would make me ever face the world with limp, unwashed hair. Now? Now I always keep some dry shampoo nearby and pray nobody are really looking at my roots...
5. Let the kids sleep in our bed
The truth? Co-sleeping, I thought, was for those weirdo hemp-wearing hippies, not us, cool, urban couple that we were. Wrong. In the end, you just do whatever feels right, and ensures the whole house sleeps.
Seriously; co-sleeping saved my sanity for the first couple of months. I could breastfeed on demand and fall back to sleep relatively easily during the night. Meaning I was not sleep deprived and screaming at my other half by the time he walked in the door in the afternoons. Win/win.
6. Let my children wear outfits that weren't carefully edited by me
When my little girl came along, I spent hours trawling the internet (and lovely little boutiques) for the cutest, most neutral coloured, organic cotton baby clothes you could lay your hands (and credit cards) on. I was so obsessed with her wardrobe that I even brought back gifts that had any brass colours or Hello Kitty figures or anything I deemed tacky or just plain ugly.
Now? Now my seven-year old loves nothing more than when she is given anything neon coloured, sparkly or leopard printed, and preferably will put it all together in one outfit. Part of me cry inside at the thought of all the money I have spent on (in my opinion) amazingly curated outfits for her, the other half of me can't help but admire her fashion bravado. Carrie Bradshaw; eat your heart out.
7. Consider putting my child on a leash
Now? I have a boy. That leash has saved his life (and my sanity) on many occasions.
8. Use an electronic device to defuse my child
Taking a toddler to a restaurant is an experience that will likely leave you shaking in a corner watching your dinner freeze to death slowly as you try and corral the hurricane that is your child.
The answer? Throw your iPhone at them. Thank you, Paw Patrol. Thank you.
9. Get angry (and shouty)
In my little I'm-gonna-be-the-best-mum-there-ever-was moments when I was first pregnant, I bought a book called something like Buddhism for Mums (or something along those lines), telling me how nothing would ever be solved by shouting or anger. Well, ladies, let me tell you this: There are days when both shouting and anger are totally unavoidable.
Arguing with a toddler is not one of my finer moments, but some days are hard. And toddler's just don't know when to quit. (That said, they are also so freakin' cute you literally can only be mad at them for eight seconds, and that is despite that they coloured on a Missoni cushion with black marker...*sobs...)
Also, no matter how crazy it gets, I always make sure we end the days with some serious snuggles (Usually in my bed. Also see point 5.)
10. Resort to bribery
Prior to motherhood, I always felt that bribes were the lowest form of parenting. I secretly judged all the "if you are good, you'll get ice cream" mamas, and internally gave them a lecture on how bribery was just not a very good way at getting your children to behave.
Now? I bribe to beat the band, on a daily basis. Hell, I throw rewards at them for managing to let us have brunch in peace/not kill each other in the back of the car/eat their dinner/get up off the floor in Tesco/act human while navigating Ikea on a Saturday. You name it, I have bribed my children about it.
The thing about motherhood, I have learned, is that it is one of those things it is so easy to have an opinion about, but until you are actually there, in the trenches, 24/7, you have NO IDEA what it will take to get through the day. Not one f**king clue.
What things did YOU swear you would never do (but totally ended up doing anyway)? Send me an e-mail at Trine.Jensen@Herfamily.ie and let me know.