Ten tell-tale signs that you are a parent
Although each parent’s experience raising their children can vary dramatically; some patterns immerge. These are the patterns that help to make the parenting community one of the strongest communities on the internet. The solidarity that is shown in social media parenting groups and the parenting blogger community can be attributed to the shared experience of these ‘common’ parenting patterns.
Being a parent is a noble profession
I always wanted to be a mother one day. I remember vividly from being young that I wanted a child of my own to nurture and love. Having a family was my greatest ambition. Being able to mould and shape another human life is a beautiful gift that I wanted to experience.
After I had secured an education, dependable career and met my amazing partner in crime, Mr T; I was ready to start my own family.
However, as with most things in life; it was not plain sailing. What followed was five agonising years of trying to have children and failing. This was heart-wrenching as the one thing I wanted in life, I could not have.
Fortunately, after getting to the point of proceeding with IVF, I got pregnant naturally. My dream was coming true; it was like the end of the fairy tale where they all lived happily ever after. I imagined myself as this serene, nurturing mother who not only looks fabulous but also has her ‘stuff’ together to function in this hectic world.
The reality of parenting
This fairy tale bubble was popped the minute my Son burst into the world and was nearly dropped by the poor midwife in training. Everything changed at that moment and I soon discovered that my life would never be the same again.
The reality of parenting, as opposed to the romantic notion that I had concocted in my childhood years, is a stark reminder of how illogical the world can be sometimes. Having to look after and care for a child on a daily basis is like trying to run a marathon holding a glass of water. Keeping all the liquid in the glass is impossible, plus you look ridiculous trying to achieve it.
Inevitably, like the marathon runner would lose time and sanity carrying the full glass of water across the finish line; so, parents spend hours trying to achieve a sense of ‘normality’ in a world run by tiny humans that challenge the rules of logic. Like a well-trained ninja, children have a common pattern of attack that they use to reduce their rational parents to the brink of exhaustion and frustration.
As a mother myself, I wanted to share what I believe to be some of the common signs of being a parent. I am sure that every parent reading will be able to relate to at least one of these points. I experience many of these on a daily basis and I am certain that my two adorable children will continue to use these methods of attack to assert their status within the house as chief dictators.
1) Toys are instruments of destruction
Toys are not just to play with; they are useful weapons. They can be left around like landmines in order to cause maximum damage with minimum excretion. Have you ever stepped on a toy? If you have, you will know that it is not a pleasant experience.
Plastic and wooden toys cause the maximum foot damage and soft toys can lead to catastrophic falls. There is a reason I do not have slime toys in the house, I do not want to have to pick slime from my feet. Play-doh is also another deadly weapon; it can be placed on carpets and result in the total devastation as you get down on your hands and knees to scrap the tiny bits of dried plasticine out of the rug.
Being over enthusiastic is a must for every parent. When your child has achieved even a small task, they expect lots of praise and cheers from you. They need validation. The words ‘watch this Mummy’ are usually followed with me cheering while they perform the most basic of tasks.
Sometimes, the over-enthusiasm is warranted, like when my daughter first learnt to walk or my son moved up in his reading. However, there are times when you think ‘why should I praise you for standing on one leg for the twentieth time today?’
Over-enthusiasm is not only saved for the parent, but children also show it in the strangest of places. If you have taken a child on a trip or it has been their birthday, you will know about how excited they can get. My son spent over a month getting excited about his birthday. On the night before his birthday, he was too excited to sleep.
3) Disruption to your sleep
My children have spoilt me and my husband with the ability to sleep through the night. From a young age, they would go to bed and stay there till the morning. However, we have had times where this has not happened and one of us would take child whispering duties.
Stomach upsets are the worst thing to disrupt your sleep; especially because you have to also clean up the mess. After you have sorted your child out and settled them back down, you go back to bed wide awake. Teething is another nasty affliction that can stop a parent getting their beauty sleep. I do not understand how parents with children who sleep badly cope; do they just run on coffee and sugar?
4) You have no privacy
If you want to feel like you are being constantly watched, become a parent. Privacy does not feature in a child’s instruction manual. Whether it is a trip to the toilet, having a bath or just getting dressed for work; those eyes are watching.
Another aspect of privacy that goes out the window with having kids is your right to not be grabbed, sat on and jumped upon. Children are physical creatures; they grab you by the leg if they don’t like something, they throw themselves upon you when they are upset and they jump on you when you are trying to have a nap. I cannot even have a quick nap on the sofa without my daughter climbing onto my head and shouting ‘wake up Mummy.’
5) You sacrifice your ability to eat properly
We often take the task of being able to eat a meal for granted. At work, I savour every moment I get to eat my food without my children because I know that when I get home, I will have to play the game of ‘meal time at the zoo’. My children either refuse to eat what they have, eat it at a sloth-like pace or steal the food off mine and my husband’s plate.
We rarely take our children of meals out due to the stress that eating together causes. You can guarantee that if we go to a restaurant, someone is going to have a meltdown. We have had flat refusals to eat, we have had to swap food so our children will eat something and we have had sulking because the ice-cream that my son picked did not taste like toothpaste, it was mint.
6) Things disappear regularly without explanation
It is as if the presence of a child in your life instantly creates a vortex which vacuums up your household objects. The idea of the vortex is to hold onto your possessions until a time when you need them; it will then proceed to keep hold of them while you frantically search only to eventually release them when you give up looking.
The vortex is real; I am not creating this presence to explain away the fact that my brain does not function properly anymore. I am certainly not using it to cover up the fact that when I need something, the fact I have to multi-task means I am an incompetent detective. Having children results in your attention being split between looking for the things you have lost and ensuring your child is not causing mischief or injury. Ignorance is bliss; so I will blame the vortex.
7) You have to check everything for inappropriate content
Gone are the days when you can watch whatever you want at whatever time you want. The days of listening to Eminem and Slipknot in the car have vanished.
Remember when enjoying your favourite song, TV Show or film was simple. Sitting there for days on end binge watching Keanu Reeves bottom in Point Break and realising that one of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers gets shot in the foot. Listening to Eminem as you drive along, swearing at the top of your voice and enjoying the ‘rude’ vibe. As the song goes; those days are gone my friend, your thought they would never end, children have come and swept that all away.
Being a teenager in the 1990s means many of the songs of the era were littered with offensive terms, swearing and references to unsavoury acts. Listening once to a 90’s playlist on Spotify while tidying my son’s bedroom made me realise that ‘heavier’ Rock music, along with Rap, is best avoided. Once my son had a meltdown in the car because I skipped the song ‘Get the Funk Out’ by Extreme. He wanted to listen to the amazing guitar riffs and refused to understand that listening to songs with swearing in them was not appropriate for a five-year-old.
8) You start to enjoy watching children’s TV
Like it or not, children’s TV is a part of your life now. It is guaranteed that whatever children’s program you hate with a passion is the TV show your child loves. I have an intense dislike for Peppa Pig and the constant rude behaviour of Peppa and the systematic bullying that poor Daddy Pig has to suffer because of his ‘big fat belly’. This show is like a drug to young kids, they become addicted and make unreasonable demands for it to be on twenty-four hours of the day.
Likewise, with things that you hate, there come things that you love.
Children’s TV is no exception; I have grown fond of watching some of the programs my children enjoy. Programs like ‘Mr Bloom’s Nursery’ and ‘Get Well Soon’ both have presenters that are ‘easy on the eye’ and I can subject my children to my own childhood favourite of Sesame Street and The Muppet Show without looking like I have completely gone off my rocker. It is true that you get to live your second childhood through your own children.
9) You dread going shopping
I have a confession; I do must of my shopping online and am not ashamed to admit it. The reason for this is simple. Going shopping with a child is like playing chess against a mastermind with an IQ that is off the charts. If you have seen Scorpion, think Walter O’Brien, if not, think Stephen Hawking and you get the picture.
I like to not be rushed when I go shopping. Like an old river, I meander and glide my way around the bargain ‘pound stores’, clothes shops and makeup displays. Both my Husband and children disagree with this method, they are in, get it and then zoom out in ten seconds flat. Due to this, I choose my shopping trips with care and only take one child with me to limit the likelihood that a battle will break out between myself and my kids.
Even the bribery of a trip to Costa and a hot wheels car will not tame my son’s annoyance at all the shops I want to look in and buy ‘tat that I don’t need’. I have to calculate the exact number of shops I want to go to and warn my son when he starts to get tired and the novelty is over so that he has something to count down to the experience is over.
10) You sound like a broken record
If I had a pound for every time I repeated myself to my kids, I would be rich. The broken record has many classic mum hits; ‘I will count to five,’ ‘I said no’ and ‘stop it’ being among the greatest hits. Also, the broken record applies to everyday tasks; I lose count of the times I have to pester my children to get dressed, put their shoes on and eat all of their dinners.
The broken record effect also applies to children. Special favourites from my daughter are ‘mine’ and ‘TV on’ while my son asks ‘can I stay up?’ Every, single night. I am also exposed to the same children’s TV shows repeatedly; I know all the baddies in Scooby Doo, I deserve a medal.
Are there any other ‘parenting signs’ I have not mentioned? I would love to hear what you think in the comments.
Ciao for now beauties xx