Now that my son is two, I have come to the realization that I am nothing like the mom I thought I would be.
The day I saw that positive on the pregnancy test, I started forming all these ideas about the type of parent I was going to be. Suddenly I would go into a coffee shop and see a family… I would watch and think… ooh I am not going to do that… or my kid is never going to do that… well as it turns out…being a parent is not as clear-cut as it seemed back then!
My Parenting delusion #1
I am going to be able to use all my parenting books!
When I was pregnant… I read ALOT! I was on bed rest so there was not much else to do for months. I thought at the very least I would be well prepared and “know exactly what I am doing”. This is what no-one told me… all kids are different! Children don’t read so why should they follow a book? They are all individuals and will do things in their own time. Don’t be in a hurry because once they learn to walk… they can also run… at a very very fast pace! None of those books prepared me for him. He followed his own schedule. The best help I found was from the app Wonder Weeks… it explained what could be going on as he was developing and helped me to deal with the difficult phases.
Parenting delusion #2
I am going to be very strict.
Well I have to laugh out loud at this one… I was severely in denial. My child knows just how to play me. One minute I am so infuriated and the next minute he looks up with those blue eyes, flutters his long eyelashes and says “sorry mommy”… and I am done for. I have just had to accept it, I hold my ground with the important things but let a lot go when I see those baby blues looking up at me. I do however have the Daddy card to play when necessary and it works like a charm!!
Parenting delusion #3
I will never sniff my kids butt…
From the moment I first saw a parent do this… I vowed I would NEVER!! I am afraid the inevitable happened… and it came after some other “butt checking” experiences.
We started out in disposables and they have that handy dandy strip that tells you when they are wet or because of the chemical reactions in the diaper… you can smell it from a mile away. If you are not sure… you can always wait until they are very very full… they sag at the back and the diaper starts knocking his knees and exposing the top of his bum like some fashion statement. When all is said and done… that is when you need to desperately change. If you are very lucky… a “blow-out” will happen… this is when all that was in the child is now nestled… not in the diaper but… wait for it… between the diaper and his clothes… yup you read right… between… so now you just have to hose him down and burn the clothes.
We switched to cloth after we discovered our monster had an allergy to disposables… so then… how could we tell if there was a number 2? We no longer had “blow-outs”, wet-strips and sagging nappies so at least our kid looked like nothing was lurking, plus it didn’t smell as much because of the lack of chemicals… occasionally you do get a wiff and wonder if there is something.
So we started with the obvious… pull the diaper away from his back and have a peek… after a few successful attempts we thought we had it waxed… and then… one fateful morning Daddy’s finger got christened by Ethan. I may or may not have cried with laughter before assisting either of them… and I cannot say anything more about this except that we were now resigned to the “sniff test”!
Parenting delusion #4
While on the topic of the number 2… I will never discuss my child’s bowel movements at supper.
For the first few months of his life, he ate, cried… barely slept and pooped! So topics of conversation were limited to start with. For Dads, poop is a point of pride… you hear things during nappy changes like… “Woooah thats a good one!”, “Its HUUUUUGE!”, and “Oh my word this stinks!”. You ocassionally hear gagging as well… but afterwards it is usually followed by a very proud exclamation of “well done my boy!” or “that’s my boy!!”.
Of course, it follows naturally that it would then need to be bragged about… either because of its amazing attributes or simply because he changed it and managed to keep poop off his hands. Inevitably… the only time we sit and chat is over supper so hearing the details plus how few wipes were used in the process is always a good topic. The poopy wet wipe record is however held by Mommy at a record breaking 1 wipe!
Parenting delusion #5
No sugar and treats.
Some may be able to get away with this… but in my house… both the boys have a sweet tooth! The main problem is you have to be the example… they want whatever you have. My kid has super sonic hearing when it comes to a chocolate wrapper. Thankfully we have managed to keep sweets and chips as an occasional treat… but if you open that wrapper and think you are going to get to eat your whole chocolate… you are stark raving mad. If you give them a piece… swallow the rest of that chocolate as fast as you can because you know its coming… the three words you hate to hear while eating a chocolate… “Mommy, more peas”… not a spelling error… he does say peas and its super cute… which is why its very hard not to give him another piece. You know you have entered into a new and exciting phase of parenting when you are hiding in the bathroom, sitting on the loo… eating a chocolate.
Parenting delusion #6
My son will love all my homemade food.
There comes a time in every Mother’s life when food will be thrown/ spat/ gagged back at you. It is unfortunate but once they start tasting more delicious things…they inevitably hate your cooking. I am assured that this will one day come back around, well I hope it does. For the meantime he can survive on other peoples cooking (thankfully this can be arranged once a day), pizza, cheese, chicken sausages and yoghurt.
Parenting delusion #7
I will exclusively breast feed for at least a year.
With all the good intentions in the world… this may not happen. If this is your goal, it is a great goal to have but don’t feel like a failure if it does not happen. We are way too hard on ourselves as it is! Breast feeding started great… Ethan spat up a lot but I was assured it was normal as all babies spit up. He screamed all night and I was assured this was normal as all newborns cry a lot. Only after he didn’t show satisfactory weight gain did they think he might have bad colic and reflux. We persisted until 8 weeks but with hardly any weight gain… supplementation and other options were discussed. Eventually I was able to come to terms with exclusively expressing and using a gel to thicken the milk… this allowed him to spit up less of a feed and digest more. It was a lot of pressure… boobs are amazing, they fill up and are self cleaning by themselves… but when you express you are constantly cleaning and sterilizing everything!! Pump parts… and storage bottles… and feeding bottles, its endless and exhausting. After six months of this… a stomach bug ended my breast feeding journey and it broke my heart. Looking back I did the best I could and next time maybe it will hurt a little less if I cannot breast feed.
Parenting delusion #8
My child will not use a soft toy or dummy for comfort.
Being born towards the end of Autumn… we constantly bundled him in soft fleece blankets so when it came to summer he could not sleep without one. After much sweating and sleepless nights we discovered snuggle bunnies! BEST INVENTION EVER!! Soft and fleecy with no dangerous parts. When you are desperate to get your child to sleep you will do anything even giving them a soft toy. As for the dummy… after him using me like a dummy and waking up when I took him off the boob… I gave up and gave him one. These days you get amazing orthodontic dummies. Now that he is 2… I am proud to say he is almost weaned off his dummy… he only uses it at night if he wakes up.
Parenting delusion #9
I hated Barney… I loved that rip-off song we used to sing as kids… “I love you, you love me… lets gang up and kill Barney!” I can still sing the whole thing! So we vowed our kid would never know who Barney is and he would never be allowed into our house. Then Ethan got very sick, he was sick for about 3 months and we had a hospital stay in between treatment at home. He was required to nebulise three times a day… they give you a few ml of medicine to put in… I think its something like 2.5 ml. It does not sound like a lot… but man… it takes FOREVER to vapourise. I am not sure why doctors have not invented a magic injection for this… because getting a newly walking baby to sit still and inhale with a mask on their face is near impossible! Enter cartoon channel… we tried EVERY other cartoon… including Telly Tubbies which are not on my list of favorites either! Guess what works… yup you guessed it BARNEY! Over the course of three months… Barney wormed his way into our house. It is the ONLY programme that calms him down… I swear they must have subliminal messaging or Barney is a hypnotist! In any case, he is now such a prominent fixture in our house that Ethan’s 2nd birthday theme was Barney Playground…I have already entered the acceptance phase of the “full Barney invasion”.
Parenting delusion #10… This is a big one!
Our kid is not going to change our lives.
No matter how many times we told ourselves or friends this… it just was not realistic! It is probably the most life changing experience you will ever have. From the moment our little monster (this is a pet name by the way) entered the world… he ruled the roost. His schedule and his needs came first. I have no idea how we thought we could carry on with our normal lives with him. Our lives have become busier, crazier, and so full of life and love than we ever thought it could be! So we don’t get to go out partying and watching movies… and we don’t have as much time for ourselves… so what? Its amazing the joy you feel, watching your little human figure out life.
When all is said and done… I now believe that your child shapes you into the parent you are meant to be according to their specific needs!
Did you have any ideas about parenting that you didn’t stick to? I would love to hear them!