Happy Friday folks! Very quick hello from me as I’m handing over to the lovely Naomi for her next post. Enjoy.
Before Ethan came along I read a book called French Children Don’t Throw Food and decided I knew how to parent before I had kids. In fairness, it’s actually a pretty good read with some parenting tips I’d like to mull over at this stage but at the time (pre pregnancy) I was very much full of ideals about what I would be like as a Mother and things I swore I would never resort to.
It turns out pre-child Naomi was full of great intentions, but a tad naive. She didn’t understand the bone crushing tiredness, repetition and patience testing of parenthood. Nor could she comprehend the heart exploding love, adoration and respect for your kiddo and your partner that comes with the whole rip roaring journey.
I thought I’d share with you my pre-baby grand plans as jotted down in my little pregnancy diary, followed by how they turned out… (these are verbatim words I wrote by the way, feel free to laugh me off the internet).
Great expectation: I won’t use the TV as a babysitter. I’ll be fully present with my kid and they will understand and play quietly with their toys when I need to do things like shower, cook and go to the toilet in peace.
Reality: If it wasn’t for TV in the morning while I’m getting us ready to get out the door and TV in the evening while I’m trying to make dinner, we would be a family that goes nowhere and eats nothing. In fact, as I write this, Gavin is packing up the kitchen for our impending move back to the UK and Ethan is engrossed in a riveting episode of Bananas in Pyjamas. We do try to cap TV watching time and I have got a weird rule that he can only watch channels with no adverts (can we make advertising to children illegal already?), but on particularly tough days of solo parenting, the television can be my greatest ally.
Great expectation: I’ll never eat sugar in front my kids and they won’t whinge at me for sweets. In fact, they won’t even know what chocolate is.
Reality: Whilst Ethan doesn’t get much sugar because it sends him mad as a bag of frogs and (thankfully) we can walk down the sweetie aisle in the supermarket without him even registering the sugary tastiness that lines the shelves… He is a chocolate fiend. I have a major dark chocolate addiction and I will often try to sneak a square (or six) while he’s otherwise occupied. As soon as he hears the rustle of foil and a the snapping of chocolate, he’s at my feet like some creepy apparition and looking up at me with those adorable hazel eyes saying “What you eating Mum?”.
Also, when I’m at a cafe and I reeaaallly want that brownie because I’ve had two hours sleep and feel like there must be some kind of pleasure in life to make it worth living, my tactic of choice is to order it to ‘share with him’ then scoff as much as possible as quickly as possible so he only gets a corner. This is my sad truth.
Great expectation: I won’t bribe them with food
Reality: “Ethan, if you get in to the car, you can have some blueberries.”
“Ethan, eat your dinner and we’ll put the TV on for 10 minutes.”
“Ethan, if you’re a good boy and you stay next to Mummy, you can have a muffin when you get home.”
Great expectation: I won’t use distraction as a parenting technique, I’ll calmly and firmly discuss why they can’t have something so they grow up knowing not to expect everything they want when they want it.
Reality: If you read my last post, you’ll know how this one has turned out. In fact, I think this is the one that I laugh at most. Because I genuinely don’t know any other way to avoid a tantrum sometimes without saying “Ethan!!! Look! A helicopter!”. And to be honest… Sometimes I really don’t have the energy to deal with the consequences of a major meltdown, so distraction it is.
Great expectation: I won’t give in or ‘pick my battles’
Reality: Bah hahaha! The words “Ok fine!” and “Gavin just give it to him” cross my lips way more often than I’d like to admit. I also do A LOT of negotiating with Ethan. “It’s 38 degrees outside, you can’t wear your raincoat, but you can wear your wellies.” or “No love, you can’t bring your massive motorised dump truck to the doctors, but you can bring this mini tractor instead.”
Great expectation: I won’t let having a baby take away my sense of identity or style.
Reality: As I write this, my hair is in a Mum bun, I have no make up on and I’m wearing grey sweats and a burgundy Harry Potter jumper. In the beginning I definitely struggled with the physical and emotional toll of being Mum and how that translated into my wardrobe and my overall confidence. However, I’m starting to enjoy this new multifaceted me and have started seeing it as an excuse to reinvestigate what I like and what I don’t. I’ve refined my personal style Pinterest board and am being really intentional with the things I now bring into my wardrobe.
I would love to hear in the comments if there’s anything you swore you wouldn’t do.
And did you stick to your guns? Or like me, did you fold like a deckchair once the kids came along?