Never say Never again.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time and, like all things in life, each pregnancy is different. As women, it can affect our bodies in strange and wonderful ways. From the moment you see those two lines on the test, or feel that first flutter, you know in your heart that your world has changed immeasurably.
The plans begin; names, nursery ideas, breast or bottle, prams, slings. You step into the murky world of motherhoParenting od. Your hair gets thicker, your boobs grow, those jeans feel tight, doctor appointments and more paperwork than a human being could possibly conceive.
Then it starts.
Sometimes, it’s just a thought that creeps in to the back of your mind when you’re getting your morning decaf at Starbucks. Sometimes, it’s when you’re in McDonalds and your cravings need some chicken nuggets, even though they give you heartburn. Sometimes, it’s present as you walk through the toy section in Tesco on a busy Saturday afternoon. And sometimes, the thought can present itself long before the idea of children ever crosses our minds. Whether you mean to or not, we’ve all done it.
“Ha! When I have kids, I’ll never do that”.
My first moment started long before pregnancy when, in my judgemental mind, I saw a woman pop a pacifier in her baby’s mouth whilst in the queue for Costa one morning before work. I was disgusted. “When I have children, I’ll never use a dummy.” I looked at the woman and I really should have known. I should have realised! I saw in her the things I now see so brutally in myself – the mum bun, the bags under her eyes. But alas, no, I didn’t know then what I know now. How foolish I was, how young, what a good night’s sleep I must have had. Maybe I had enjoyed an evening at the cinema the night before, maybe I had eaten breakfast sitting down at my dining table, instead of standing so the cat doesn’t pinch it when I have to save the binkie from the floor and the inevitable mouth of the dog.
Thats right! You heard correctly, the binkie. Call it a dummy, a pacifier if you will, but here I am, 12 weeks in and my sweet babe has one in every room.
The things we tell ourselves we will never do are hilarious. When that baby arrives, you will do whatever it takes to get you through the day, sanity intact. For example, the day eventually came when I needed to get my dishes done and I broke one of my golden rules. I put my baby in a vibrating rocking chair we have (binkie in, of course) and plonked her in front of the 1969 classic (and personal favourite of mine) A Boy Named Charlie Brown. I laughed at myself because I remembered, almost perfectly, having a conversation with my fiancé before her birth. I remember our fresh faces as we laughed and uttered the words, “I’m never going to leave the baby in front of the tv. In fact, I doubt I’ll even really let her watch television.” (I’d like to point out, my 12 week old had her first proper laugh whilst watching Chuck lose at the spelling bee. So really, it was a win)
HA. HA. HA
I decided to make a joking Facebook post about writing a book called, “Things I said I would never do before children” and it looked like I had opened the floodgates. Along came friends and family members who had their own opportunity to fess up on their parenting lies. We’d all done it, we’d all made these sweeping promises about the things we would never do when we had children.
I then put it to my favourite online mum group, Punky Moms UK and what lay before me was one of the most hilarious internet threads I’ve ever seen. So many empty promises, I thought I would share a few examples.
I WILL NEVER:
Ignore my kid whilst sat on my phone – Anyone who says they haven’t flicked through Facebook or Instagram whilst their kid is on the roam/during a very rare toilet break (usually whilst said child is in front of a television) is a liar.
Co Sleep – I think this one comes up so much because so many women are terrified by doctors and midwives and health visitors that we’re going to roll over and squish our children (spoiler alert, you probably won’t).
Spam social media with pictures of our kids – WE ALL LOVE OUR KIDS. THEY CAME OUT OF US! SOMETIMES HORRIFICALLY! WE WILL SHARE ALL THE PICTURES WE WANT OF THEM.
Force our children (often via food based bribery) to do something they don’t want to do – We’re not talking body autonomy here; it’s more an exhausted “yes you can have another scone if you put your shoes on and we leave the house in the next 3 minutes.”
Shout at/Say no to our children – Ah, fuck it, we’re all human. Gentle parenting is a wonderful idea until you lose the rag.
These are just 5 of my favourite parenting lies and, in all honesty, there were so many hilarious ones to choose from, but these are the 5 that appeared most often. Personally, I worry that social media has a lot to blame. We see others with clean homes, immaculate children, and not a hint of a sick spit up anywhere to be found. We should be kinder to ourselves. We’re all human and so are our wonderful little people that we made. Sometimes we need to grab 5 and remember, the young mind we’re moulding is already moulding itself and you’re just in it to, hopefully, teach them to say please and thank you and avert their eyes when they see those famous golden arches.
So, to all pregnant women out there, you know those ideas you have? Those preconceptions about parenthood? Throw them in the bin and remember we’re all just winging it. Neither you nor your kid will be perfect and that is totally okay.
Oh, and while you’re at it, keep an eye out for when the Jumparoo goes on sale. It’s a godsend for when you need a wee.
Sophie. Scottish defector now situated with a fiancé, a little babe and a bunch of dogs in the Deep South of England. 00’s punk/emo kid at heart, but now mostly only have time for Radio 4. Feminist rants are kind of my thing.