There are certain things about having children that no one ever tells you. Perhaps they think you would not listen, perhaps they think you would not understand, perhaps they think “no-one told me you gits so I’m keeping stum” or perhaps when you are child-free you don’t move in the kind of circles that these things are discussed in.
- Children either eat enough to keep a gnat alive or enough to fill an elephant, there is no in-between. You discover this when you are breastfeeding and some babies are like hummingbirds feeding lightly for 15 minutes whilst the thing suckling on your aching mammaries feeds constantly until it falls of satiated like an engorged leech and then sleeps briefly before pooing the lot out in an explosive fashion and clamping itself on you again. Guess which category the demons fell in to?
- Once you have children you will never have privacy again. Ever. From the cast of thousands that regularly surveys your nethers during labour to the children that don’t realise that the umbilicus is ever cut and follow you to the loo, watch you bathe and generally never leave you alone. If you are really lucky they may also bring their friend along because whilst Mummy is having a wee is the best time to ask if “Tom” from next door can come in to play.
- Everything you say and do will be a suitable topic for discussion with the aforementioned Tom. Including the needle the nurse stuck in your bum and the funny lines on your tummy. They will mention nothing about how much cleaning you do but will mention how much you like gin, especially when Tom’s parents are around.
- There are times when you will bitterly resent them, when your career is on hold, when you have to cancel something because your babysitter cries off, when you have done nothing but tidy up, clean and cook and are unwell and they trash the bathroom. It passes, you feel guilty, but it happens.
- Things that never bothered you in the slightest will turn you into a terrified, gibbering, sobbing wreck. There is no pattern to this. No rationale but sometimes a news story or TV program will shake your soul because it touches the primal fear you have that something will happen to your child. I don’t think anything prepares you for just how frightening it is.
- You will never be able to just grab a snack/biscuit/whatever without checking to see if they are around and making sure that there is enough for everyone. If they are and there isn’t you just cannot have it. Unless it is something they hate. This is why mummies like gin so much, children don’t like it. Unfortunately for my friend in the Isle of Man once they reach teenage years they do, that poor, poor woman…
- The time you used to have to drag yourself out of bed to go to work? Yeah that time becomes your lie-in.
- You will plan meals not around what you want to eat but what they will eat. You become adapt at converting a Korma into a Madras once they have been served.
- You will be irrationally miffed that they do not like the things you liked when you were a child. Seriously though how the hell can Waybulu compare to Bagpuss? Their programs are just annoying.
- Children have crap taste. They love the loud, the lurid, the sparkly, the tacky, the cheap (looking it is never actually cheap) so any dreams you have of all wooden toys and muted pastels will be shattered by the time the are old enough to wear you down and you let them have the plastic crap. The floodgates usually open with some relative introducing the tat into your house in a manner that makes it impossible to hide it or take it away.
- You realise that no matter how much you loved your pet and called it your baby, it isn’t. You don’t love it any less , you just realise how much more you can love something.
- They really do grow up too quickly, yeah I know, I know this one they do tell you. You don’t realise how quick though. It’s the blink of an eye.
So that’s my dozen or so pearls of alleged wisdom, what were you never told?