15 important parenting rules that the books just don't tell you
From the minute you utter the words "I am pregnant" or "We are having a baby", most people will tell you how, from that day forward, are bombarded with advice.
Anyone and everyone (lady in the dairy aisle in the supermarket, stranger on the luas, mother-in-law etc.) will offer you their 10 cents worth of wisdom when it comes to all things baby-and-child related. ("You know co-sleeping can kill your baby?" "You HAVE to breastfeed," "You need to get rid of the cat NOW.")
Then there is the written word. Hundreds and thousands of books and blogs and leaflets, oodles of important information on how to keep your baby alive, healthy, sleeping, safe, developed, fed, clothed and transported.
But then there is all the other stuff. Everything else that comes with having and raising a baby or child that the books really won't tell you. As it turns out, parenthood, like most other things, is best learned from actual field experience. Books and manuals can only get you so far, so here are some of the other vital things you need to be aware of to get through parenthood with your health, house and sanity somewhat intact:
- If a milk-filled sippy cup has gone missing, drop everything else and just focus on finding it. Because if you don't, you will forget all about it and only remember when the stench is getting so bad you have to consider moving out of the house.
- Never EVER leave a marker unattended. Or crayon. Or pen. Or for God's sake, a paintbrush. You've been warned, so don't come crying if you do.
- Never serve spaghetti and sauce on any other day than cleaning day. If you serve it right AFTER you cleaned the house, you have just wasted two hours of your life.
- Never trust a child who has been quiet for more than three minutes. Especially if they are also out of sight when this is happening. It's almost certainly never a good thing.
- The later you go to bed at night, the earlier your children will wake in the morning. Always.
- Just forget everything you promised yourself about not resorting to bribery. Or empty threats. These two will become your greatest weapons for survival in the coming years.
- Always have lots of plasters on hand. Sometimes even invisible boo-boo's will need one to get better.
- The day you leave the house without any extra nappies is the day you will need them the most.
- Always buy more milk than you think you need. And wine. You will need both in equal measure.
- The later you are for something, the slower your kids will move.
- Never wear white when in the presence of children.
- Just because your child loved meatballs yesterday, it does not mean he will like them today. This also goes for any type of fruit. And vegetables. And breakfast cereals. In fact, don't ever take anything for granted when it comes to your kids.
- If you serve the kids raisins and other snacks in the car, you will still be picking raisins out of the back-seat 6 months (and 4 valet services) later.
- The phrases "quickly run to the shop" and "bringing your child" never mix well. Children in supermarkets will make everything take twice as long. Fact.
- Never under-estimate how quickly they will find things you don't want them to find. (This goes for a lot - scissors, matches, your iPhone, the chocolate bar you were saving for later, anything).