It’s almost midnight, I’m 36 weeks pregnant with a full bladder, a heavy vagina and a toddler who refuses to sleep and insists on watching Dora. Sounds familiar?
I was one of those non-parents that laughed at moms who used to tell me about this, I kept asking: “Don’t you have a schedule?” I used to say: “My child will never be like that”.
Then I became one of those first time moms-to-be that promised herself a whole bunch of things like:
- To never co-sleep.
- To keep my sex life interesting and wear lingerie all the time – Ha-ha!
- To wear heels, make-up and do my hair every time I stepped out of the house.
- To go out with friends monthly and have date nights with my husband weekly.
3 years later I’m sitting on the couch and thinking about how I broke every promise I made to myself.
I co-slept until my daughter was 2 and half years old, my sex life changed… a lot! What’s lingerie?! I can’t remember the last time I wore heels, I hate doing my hair and make-up. I like never see my friends (so most of them without kids have disappeared) and date night is like once a month if we are lucky.
The truth is becoming a parent changes your life forever. You will never be the same again! I repeat: Never the same again! As much as you try to prepare yourself to be a parent you will still end up stuffing it up one way or the other. No one tells you the truth but they expect you to master it.
Most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing but I’ve realised that I need to listen to my heart, minimize Google’s search engine tool and ignore the 20 judgemental moms on Facebook who think they know my child personally. Parenting is exhausting and even though a few might find it “easy”, there’s a bunch of us that find it difficult.
You can read hundreds of baby books, blogs and magazines that give you a step by step method to parenting but the truth is that every child is different. My method for sleeping may not work for your baby or the bum cream my child uses could give yours a rash.
Who made the rules?
“Thou shall not sleep train your child”…
“Thou shall not bottle feed a newborn”…
Parenting cannot be learnt from a book, it’s experience that proves to be the best teacher, and each time you get better at it. If you have no breast milk, you have to bottle feed. If you are tired of sleepless nights, you may want to sleep train.
There’s moments that will make you want to scream; like when you enter Pick n Pay and your child starts demanding for “Stikeez” or when you have poop all over your hands and clothes after an explosion happened at the mall! The first couple of months are difficult; there will be days you end up sitting on the floor and crying and at some point you may accidentally hurt your child and feel like the worst parent ever.
The Reality of Parenting:
- You will thank God for caffeine every morning and fantasize about killing Elsa.
- You will spend countless hours wiping noses, butts and mouths.
- Buying something for your child will make you happier than buying something for yourself.
- When you do manage to have sex, it may not be the foreplay and lovemaking like the way it was during your honeymoon. Instead you will be praying for a quickie and hoping you don’t hear the baby on the monitor.
- Your man holding the diaper bag and baby in the carrier will turn you on.
- You will never again touch a baby that isn’t yours on the hands or face.
- You will learn that making eye contact with your baby while trying to make him sleep is a big NO – NO.
- You will realize that candy has super powers AND so much more!
By the end of the first year, you ask yourself: Why did I do this? But then realise it’s all worth it when you stare into those eyes and admire the cuteness. Parenting is slow torture, you will have a love hate relationship with it but still end up doing it again and again.
It’s a lot like running a marathon without knowing what’s ahead but it’s a never-ending finish line. You will still parent even when your child is 30 and married with kids of his own.
Do I regret it? No
Am I ready for it all over again? No but I’m going in and hoping it will be better than the first time. I’m ready for egg on my hair, pee on my face and cheerios in my bra.
You got to check out www.fowllanguagecomics.com who has hilarious comics about parenting.