Show me the perfect parent and I’ll show you a zero-calorie tub of ice cream. If only!
None of us are perfect, but we start off with all the best intentions!
Most of my ideals went flying out of the window in the first year with my eldest daughter. The rest went flying out of the window after I had my second child.
Now I’m not a perfect parent, but I am a less stressed parent!
Here are the ideals I ditched:
1. I will never give my child the iPad
When I only had the one child to handle in the mornings I could get up and read to her quite happily, particularly as she slept through the night.
Then along came child number two who didn’t sleep through the night for 11 months and I was chucking my iPad at my toddler like a frisbee when she bounced out of bed at 6am.
There are lots of news stories that have popped up recently shaming mums for using the iPad as a babysitter. Should we worry if they sit in front of it all day? Yes. Should we worry if it helps keep us sane for a couple of hours a day? No.
2. My child will never drink juice
After reading up on all the official advice I discovered the NHS frowns on juice, especially in a bottle, and that giving it to your kids will cause all of their teeth to fall out immediately.
However when I’m out shopping, one of my favourite things to do is get a smoothie. My toddler is no fool. She wants to know what I’m having and she wants in on the action.
How mean and hypocritical would I be to drink that treat in front of her?
So now we share a smoothie every time we go shopping. It’s a mother/daughter tradition and she still has all of her teeth.
3. My child will never misbehave in restaurants
This is so very naive. It’s born from the pre-motherhood days when I would watch parents wrestling their kids to the table only for them to run off yet again nearly sending a waiter with a pile of plates flying.
I told myself my kids would never display such unruly behaviour in public. What an idiot.
To be fair they’re, on the whole, very good kids. It’s just they lose it and have a tantrum or demand stuff just like any other children sometimes. I’m just happy if me and my other half manage to eat our entire meal.
4. I will never shout at my child in public
This one is not something that happens very often. I can only think of a couple of occasions when it has happened, but sometimes they just push me too far.
It’s been one too many demands for ice cream, or yet another complaint about not spending more time at the park. I lose it and my volume increases as I snap at them to “just be quiet so Mummy can think!”
This is fine at home. Not so much in the middle of the cereal aisle in Waitrose with an audience of judgemental grannies giving me the evils.
5. I won’t feed my child junk
One word. LOL.
6. I won’t allow my child to watch too much TV
I do not like Peppa Pig. But she has saved me on many an occasion; when I’ve needed a shower, or to cook dinner or to pee in peace.
Despite this, I would still make a bacon sarnie out of her if she wasn’t a cartoon. Irritating little brat!
7. I won’t swear in front of my child
I still try not to, because I do not want four-letter words that are casually shared down Yates bar on a Friday night coming out of my daughter’s mouth on her first day at school.
But sometimes those words slip out. You don’t want them to, but you tread on Lego or the baby poops on your new top, and you can’t stop it. Luckily you can cover you tracks sometimes, for example: “Oh no darling, you misheard me. Mummy just saw a duck.”
8. I will make sure my child has good manners and always shares their toys
When you have two children, you quickly realise this exercise is completely pointless.
You’re reminding them to share so frequently that the word becomes meaningless and you feel like you’re just telling them off all of the time. Now I accept kids will be kids and try to let them solve it between themselves.
I still encourage those pleases and thank yous though.
9. I will never lose my patience
I had such high hopes for myself. I thought I would be able to show infinite patience because they are just kids after all.
The trouble is you don’t know how sleep deprivation is going to feel like until you’re facing a day of staring at your child attempting to put their shoes on when you haven’t slept more than one hour.
We all lose our patience, because we are all human!
10. I will not be one of those people who can only talk about their kids
The thing is, those baby pictures are beautiful and you can look at them for hours. But that’s the key word here, you. You can look at them for hours. Other people just see another baby. A cute baby, for sure, but they don’t have the same level of interest as you, the parent.
I always hoped I would maintain my ability to be a grown up on nights out. But the trouble is, particularly when on maternity leave, you are living, eating and breathing your kids all day long. I have nothing else to talk about!
Instead of remarking on the bonkers political situation in America right now, I’m telling people about the frequency of my baby’s bowel movements.
Any other ideals that you gave up not long after having children? I would love to hear from you! Please comment below.