Toddlers always seem much more manageable when they're someone else's, don't they? When you are walking through the supermarket, with your newborn baby snuggled in a sling, it's easy to judge the parenting skills of all those around you. Pfft, bribing a child, terrible parenting. Oh dear, what a cruel mother ignoring her poor child's tears. Hmph, I certainly wouldn't give my child food like that. Oh yes, it's all too easy to judge when you have a newborn. At some point, however, that newborn grows into a toddler, and you eat your words.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #1: Have An Unruly Toddler
Ha. The best of intentions – who hasn’t nudged their partner in a busy shopping centre and smugly stated, ‘Our kids will never be like that, honey!’.
Pretty much all toddlers are unruly at some point during the day. It's just bad luck that for your kids, it happens to be the moment you walk into a restaurant, a fancy shop, or during the homecare visit with your frail great aunt. It's not that they're always unruly, its just whenever you really want them to behave well.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #2: Give In To Toddler Pressure
You used to judge the mother giving in to her toddler's demands at the supermarket checkout, but that's because you assumed it was just two minutes of pleading. Little did you know that the toddler had been demanding, negotiating and bartering since the very moment he opened his eyes that morning. Now that you have a toddler of you own, you understand the daily battle that occurs between parent and child, No, you can't have sweets for breakfast. No, you can't go to toddler group naked. No, you can't run in the road. No, you can't hit that passing dog. No, you can't eat that caterpillar. What's that, you want a harmless little toy from the supermarket? Fine, whatevs.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #3: Have A Screaming Kid
If people knew that all children end up as screaming kids at some point, then no-one would have children and the human race would cease to exist. Now that you have a toddler, you know full well how loud she can scream. In public. Whenever you say no. So, yes, sadly you will (at least sometimes) be that exhausted and fed-up mother walking next to a screaming toddler. And, while you are contemplating which of your handbag belongings would be the best substitute for earplugs, passersby will look at you and think, “I will never have a screaming child.”
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #4: Have A House Filled With Toys
It doesn't matter how much time and money you spent perfecting your home before the baby came along, within months it will all have been in vain. Every surface, every nook and every cranny will be stuffed with soft toys, brightly coloured loud plastic toys and building blocks. Then you'll purchase the play kitchen, the huge plastic garage, and the mini drum kit. Then Santa will drop off a rocking horse, a doll house and a ride on fire engine. One evening, you'll sit down with a (much needed) glass of wine, look around the toy shop you call a living room, and wonder what happened to your lovely grown up house.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #5: Be Messy
“Wow, how could they?”… you thought whilst visiting friends with kids. “Just because you have kids, doesn't mean you can live in a pig sty!”
Now, however, you can see that actually that their house was rather tidy. They'd at least managed to pick all of the raisins out of the sofa, wipe the dried pasta up off the floor, and rid the house of balled up used tissues, which is certainly more than you manage for guests these days. Even on your toddler's best days, he will leave behind him a path of destruction. Upturned toy boxes, disturbed snack bowls and ‘science experiment' spilled drinks seem to meet you at every turn.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #6: Use TV As A Babysitter
You had the best of intentions, really you did, but this one went out of the window the first time you needed to get something done. In that moment, as you frantically tried to [insert important task here] with a screaming toddler clinging to your leg, you reached for the remote and turned on a cartoon. In the time it took for that five minute cartoon to end, you'd probably achieved almost a full month's worth of jobs. Amazing how productive motherhood can make you.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #7: Be Restricted
As your friends started having kids, you noticed an apparent decline in their social life. They were excusing themselves early from parties (or not bothering to show at all), skipping weekends away, and swapping their month-long inspiring travel holidays for a week by a beach. You probably thought they were crazy, until you had a toddler. A month spent trekking around far off lands sounds less appealing if you imagine a sun-crazed, weary toddler clinging to your leg the whole time. Late night parties, fun though they are, are never quite worth it when you're woken up at 5am by an attention-starved, nose-probing toddler. The truth is, having children will change your social habits. But you will find new ways of enjoying your social time.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #8: Feed Them Chips
… or sweets, crisps, ice cream, cake, and…. errr… yeah. You said they would live off a diet of 100% pure organic fresh produce, and you meant it. But then they had a chip, just one, but it was enough. From that moment on they have asked for chips every second of every day, and yeah, sometimes you give in. It's almost as though toddlers can read your thoughts, understand exactly what you don't want them to eat, and then embark on a never-ending quest to eat those foods as often as is physically possible.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #9: Shout
You definitely weren't going to shout. You were going to be calm, reasonable and respectful – and you were. While your baby was young, you explained everything, you spoke in soft gentle tones, and you always spoke to her in a kind tone. Then she became a toddler. In the space of 15 minutes, she screamed and wailed at you for making the wrong lunch (the one she asked for five minutes ago), pulled your trousers down in front of the postman, and refused to stop sitting on the cat. You lost your cool and you shouted. Whoops.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #10: Use Spit To Clean A Face
There's really no need to do this these days, thanks to baby wipes. Oh, wait, you have forgotten your baby wipes? Oops. And your child just ate blackberries. Oh well, just use some water and dab it onto… you don't have any water either? Well, there really is just one thing for it.
Things You Swore You’d Never Do #11: Turn Into Your Mother
No matter how adamant you are about not turning into your mother, at some point you will hear yourself repeating the phrases she said when you were a child. At times, you will think your mother is in the room, only to discover that it was you who just said that. Don't worry though, you won't dislike yourself for it. You're on her side now – you're a mother too.