…and then did, practically the minute I became a Mum!!
1. The stain check and sniff test
No, I was going to be completely organised, have drawers full of freshly washed and pressed clothing arranged by season and size. So if one of my darlings spilled some of their organic apple juice down their top, then a fresh one would be pulled out and popped on before you can say ‘perfect mum’.
In reality I’m drowning in laundry, the washer is on most days, the tumble dryer is full and there’s a pile of clothes in each of their bedrooms that realistically will (in most part) be worn and in the wash again before getting anywhere near the iron.
The quick once over for stains and a subtle sniff will determine whether we can get another day’s wear out of the outfit, therefore saving my sanity, the washing machine bearings, and the planet.
Spaghetti Bolognese the food of doom
I am also a great advocate of stripping them down to their pants/nappy if we’re having spaghetti bolognese or something equally as messy. I will stress that this is at home only, I’ve not crossed that line to eating with two naked boys in our local Wetherspoons YET.
I give up
2. Let my house become full of bright plastic
I have a background (and qualifications no less) in design and I’ve always taken pride in my home and enjoyed putting rooms schemes together, artfully arranging ‘objects de art’, coordinating soft furnishings, and creating a cosy, warm, and welcoming atmosphere. Why should all this change when children come along, right?
So, fast forward 5 years and on quick inspection things are going well (not counting the boys bedrooms obviously). I’ve become adept at hiding stuff, buying lidded storage is now akin to buying new shoes for the buzz it gives me. ‘Lidded’ is the key word…don’t talk to me about baskets, we fell out of love a looong time ago!!
Toys are stashed away in an ottoman that matches the living room decor. There are still pictures, candles and other accessories displayed to give a homely feel…to the untrained eye everything is how it was, BUT I know that the breakables, sharp edged, too small and now classified as ‘dangerous’ items have gradually moved up shelf by shelf within the alcoves. My lovely nature book collection has made it’s way upstairs only to be stored away in a cupboard as pages have been folded and dust jackets ripped. The log burner is now shrouded behind a fire guard and our armchair has been stragetically placed far enough away from the bay window sill to prevent climbing.
Brightly coloured plastic beakers, plates, bottles and cutlery are hidden in kitchen cupboards, and my kitchen utensil drawer is full of PlayDoh cutters, rolling pins and ‘hairy heads’.
Meanwhile in the kitchen
The bathroom didn’t remain unscathed either, bath toys (singing ones at that!!) decorate one end of the tub, albeit in a netting storage bag, clashing colours shining through. There’s now a plastic step permenantly in front of the sink and let’s not forget the potty, toilet trainer seat, and the frog shaped urinal (the joy of boys and their aim) …that will be making their way back in shortly once James is ready to potty train.
Yes, that is a dinosaur down the toilet!!
3. Eat the kids leftovers
I have no excuse really, I swore I would never ever do this as I know it’s an easy way to put on weight and is generally a bit greedy.
However, I do it all the time!! It’s not like the food would get wasted either (something I absolutely hate is food waste) as we have chickens that would gladly gobble up anything we leave. A varied diet for the hens means better tasting eggs for us so it’s a win:win situation.
Yet, despite knowing all this, I still mindsweep the boys plates before clearing the table. I can NOT stop!!
4. Stay up late despite being exhausted
To the pre-kids me this seems unfathomable…why do this to yourself? Surely, just get yourself off to bed, maybe read a little or watch a bit of TV before falling into a restful slumber. My hubby also can’t understand it.
I’m a SAHM which means most days I get the pleasure of the sole company of my boys between the hours of 6am and 5.30pm when Ben gets home.
Now, before anybody jumps on me…yes I’m in a very lucky position and yes it was a choice we made for our family. I wouldn’t change it for the world. That is not in debate here.
However, nobody warned me just how LOUD boys can be. Possibly girls too but I only have experience of the two foghorns who currently reside here.
If they get excited, they get louder. If they get upset, they get louder still. They fight over toys until one or the other screams for me to referee and break it up. Stanley is incapable of ‘singing’ along to a theme tune, song or nursery rhyme. Instead, he shout sings. James likes to run around making dinosaur noises RAWWRRR until Stanley joins in and lets James chase him, then it’s squeals of being captured. It’s the constant ‘Mummy’, ‘I’m hungry’, ‘I’m thirsty’ and ‘can I have a snack’ and it’s the lovely acting silly and laughter.
When Ben is home it doesn’t get any better, two excitable boys go rushing for their daily Daddy cuddles. Daddy is THE best at rough play so the squealing and shouting starts up again. Ben tries to watch the TV so the volume slowly but steadily goes up as the boys compete with it. It’s the crying or shouts of ‘Muuuuummmy’ that interrupt my sleep every night and the reason I’m exhausted. Everything is just so LOUD!!
The reason I stay up late is because when everyone else is asleep my ears and brain get a rest. I can turn everything off and enjoy a cuppa and read, write or just mess about on social media on my phone. And, I can watch Netflix without the need for ear bleed inducing volume levels.
I just need that small amount of quiet time before I can shut off and go to sleep. It’s a constant struggle of trying to find the balance between absolute exhaustion and retaining my sanity.
5. Lie to my children
Ooh this is a goody isn’t it? We’ve all done it, haven’t we? At least I’m hoping so!! I never thought I would, I was going to parent based on a solid foundation of trust and mutual respect. But then, I never got any sleep and became tired and grumpy, and don’t have an endless supply of money, so it went from there.
I’m not talking about the ‘keeping the magic’ essential lies such as Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy and the like. I’m talking about lies that involuntarily slip from your lips and stand to benefit only you as parents.
Here are some beautiful examples:
Soft Play Centres only open on rainy days. We have a playground at the top of our road, we are surrounded by gorgeous countryside therefore I’m not willing to spend upwards of a tenner to sit sweating (why are they always so hot?) while the boys run around and climb up stuff when they can do that for free, and get some fresh air at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, they are fabulous places to go when it’s wet and cold, and they serve coffee which is always welcome.
A rainy day
This is dark chocolate, you don’t like it. This one came about as Stanley once insisted on trying Ben’s 90% cocoa chocolate and immediately announced it was ‘yuck‘ and ‘nawful‘ . Now, chocolate that I don’t want to share three ways is automatically dark chocolate. I’m on limited time with this one unfortunately, as Stanley now recognises some brands and packaging. I could weep!!
Alcohol is medicine for grown ups. No explanation nesscessary, in fact I’m not even sure if this is actually a lie?
So there you have it…what do you do as parents that you swore you never would? I feel all the mum guilt but sometimes my sanity comes first!