Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Envisaged Parenthood vs. Actual Parenthood


Before we have children, we have this idealisation about the sort of parent we'll be. One who never breaks a promise, never has to raise their voice, and never feeds their children McDonald's. Unfortunately, the reality of parenthood pierces into your bubble of romanticisation with the first cry from your newborn, the first tantrum from your toddler, and the first sulk from your six-year-old.

What you say you'll never do: Dress your baby in hideous outfits.

Why you end up doing it: Whilst you may think that you are in complete control of your child's wardrobe choices, this is only somewhat the truth. The thing that you'll find is that people will gift your baby with outfits that aren't always to your taste. The main offenders tend to be the grandparents. Your children will have an entire selection of "grandparent outifts" set aside in their wardrobe only ever to be worn during grandparent visits (or perhaps in the event of an emergency, like when a nappy explodes. Which it will. More often than you'd hope..) Your baby will never be seen in public in this attire, and you certainly never ever will post evidence of it on Instagram.

What you say you'll never do: Feed your child "bad" food.

Why you end up doing it: See, children are full of energy, and a constant drain on yours. It doesn't matter how much you adore them, some days, they'll suck every ounce of will and motivation from your body in a way unimaginable. From time to time you will have had a crap day, you'll be more exhausted than you ever thought was possible, and slaving away over homemade, freshly-prepared, locally-sourced, organic meals full of love and nutrients and all that is good just isn't an option. As much as you'd like it to be, it just isn't. This is where frozen chicken nuggets and tinned sweetcorn come in, and where you begin to learn the number for the local take-away off by heart. (Though you will try to avoid the take-away option, after that one December when the local kebab shop deliver you a Christmas card, thanking you for your custom. Not that that ever happened in my household or anything.)

What you say you'll never do: Swear in front of your children.

Why you end up doing it: You're adamant that vile words will never fall upon the innocence of your child's delicate ears, but sometimes, when that tin of heavily processed hot-dog sausages (that you said you'd never, ever feed your child) drops directly onto your foot, from a height, sometimes "Oh fiddlesticks" just doesn't cut it. Sometimes there is an urgent need to turn the air as blue as your recently bruised foot. Sometimes, it can't be helped.

What you say you'll never do: Use food as a bribe.

Why you end up doing it: Because, chocolate is the only way that they'll do as they're asked without whining. Because, you need three minutes of them shoving-cake-in-their-face time to have a quick wee without being followed, scream into a pillow, splash your face with cold water and sigh. Because, children with biscuits are temporarily contented. Because, it makes life easier.

What you say you'll never do: Shout at your child.

Why you end up doing it: As much as we hate the idea of raising our voices at these cute and tiny people, because they can't surely ever deserve it, there's only so much you can take. These adorable little cherubs of ours can be demanding little dictators that tamper and mess with everything that they're asked politely not to, and tip food-stuffs onto your freshly-washed floor, and draw on your walls, and tip nail polish onto the cream carpet of your rented home, and empty entire toilet rolls into the toilet bowl, and turn the fridge off at wall without your knowing right before you go on holiday for a week. We're only human, and there are only so many things that you can handle in one day before you reach the end of your tether and you can't swallow that shout any longer.

What you say you'll never do: Let your child be the one that causes a scene in public.

Why you end up doing it: Pre-parenthood, you look with disgust at the mums and dads who cannot control their child's emotional outburst in the middle of the supermarket. Your child would never do such a thing! Well, let me tell you, that nothing will ever prepare you for the shock and embarrassment when your little angel becomes that child. Because they will, inevitably, at some point, publicly humiliate you. The first time will come, out of the blue, and it will be completely out of character, and totally traumatic for the both of you. You will be unprepared, and you will be the parent that non-parents look at in disgust as their eyes say, "My child will never be that child." And you'll feel quite smug, because you'll know, that one day, they will.

Note to the grandparents accustomed to buying hideous baby outfits: Skibz make a great alternative gift. You can buy them from our online shop by clicking here.

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