Remember the days before you actually had kids: how you used to while away your spare time (what’s THAT?) thinking about how you’d bring them up if you ever had them?
Or perhaps, post-baby, you find yourself listening to child-free friends and their picture-perfect plans for how they want things to be when they have a family?
But then there’s how it really goes down….yep, the stuff you said you’d do that hasn’t quite happened, like…
1. Make home-cooked food every day
Now we know that lots of us actually do manage this, and that’s brilliant, but there really are times – for some of us at least – when spending 40 minutes making a purée that will end up half on the floor and half in your baby’s shoe really is too much to bear. We’re getting some jars in. End of.
2. Not let your lounge turn into a toy-strewn pit
You will maintain order. You will buy lots of those lovely big wooden toy box things and toys will be allowed out only on a strict one-in, one-back rota. Oh, we love the theory.
Sadly the reality is more like removing Boo Boo the Bunny from the sofa, finding Sophie la Girafe stuffed behind the cushions and stepping on abandoned bits of Lego (ouch!) for years. Sorry.
3. Bake healthy snacks with them
Oh, this is SUCH a nice idea, and again we know there are some amazing mums out there who manage to do it. But, for those who don’t, worry not: you’re not alone.
We ALL love the idea of spending quality time making yummy treats with your little one. Until they get flour, butter and sugar all over the kitchen floor/your hair/the cat, and the cakes are inedible because you either a) missed out a vital ingredient or b) burn them because, between putting them in the oven and taking them out, the toddler tantrum to end ALL tantrums has just started from like, nowhere. Well, that was fun.
4. Always dress them up for going out
Before you have kids, you just love the idea of putting them in cute-but-oh-so-cool outfits that make them look like they’re straight out of an Anne Geddes photo shoot. Cue actually becoming a mum, and baby grows suddenly are THE best invention EVER. Who has time matching tops and bottoms?
Basically, getting the baby dressed nicely means getting them into the onesie with the LEAST amount of orange food stains on. *Sigh*
5. Not change your routine
Before kids, you while away Sunday mornings on leisurely breakfasts watching Saturday Kitchen or reading the papers, and vow that these little things will not change once you become parents.
Fast forward and…errrr…breakfast? What actually IS that? It’s eating cold toast with one hand while you soothe a colicky baby by swaying it frantically in the other. It’s coffee you might get to drink after it’s been microwaved 4 times. Bye bye, old routine.
6. Stand your ground
Before you have kids, you’re adamant that, as the parents, you’ll have the last say in what goes. You will NOT bow to every whim and desire and you will make sensible decisions. Oh yes. After all, you’re the grown up and you know best.
Except when they BEG you for ballet/harp/football lessons, and you give in, even though you KNOW there’s a pretty high chance they’ll be bored after 2 weeks.
7. NEVER use bribery
This is just not something that you’ll even entertain. No way José. Um, until you just can’t get them out of the shop because they want a choccy lolly and – as you need to be home to get a delivery in, like, 3 minutes – you reach for your purse. Doh!
8. Chill with them at a trendy festival
Oh, how you love this idea before you have kids. You’ll be the cool family that goes to ALL the hip festivals with the kids in tow. Even when their teeny tiny, no probs! You’ll use a sling and will wander round looking all earth-mothery and what not.
Well, hats off to anyone’s who managed this more than once, but for the rest of us, the reality of changing your baby in a freezing cold tent in the night with no torch, and running out of wet wipes on a campsite in the middle of who knows where is just not hip and cool at all. Maybe we’ll wait till they’re teenagers….
9. NEVER lie to them
Mmmmm…….really? Santa? Elf on the Shelf? The tooth fairy? And how about the one where you say the ice-cream van only plays music when it’s run out of ice-cream? Ooooh, that’s a good one, we hear you cry! Gotcha!
10. ABSOLUTELY NEVER swear in front of them
Oooh, we try hard on this one and we do really well most of the time. Just occasionally, though, the odd bad word (or 3, ahem)comes out while they’re in earshot. All we can do is keep our fingers and toes crossed they won’t repeat it back at nursery. (But they SOOOOOO will.)
11. Take them for fast food
We’ve all had times when the golden arches and the promise of a few crispy coated chicken bits have called us. But, we tell ourselves, once baby’s arrived, there will be NO junk food.
We’ll seek out 100% goodness and healthiness for our children at all times, until we’ve raised bonny little embodiments of healthy-eating perfection, who always decide they’d rather have a salad and a fruit bowl than a bag of French fries and a burger. Well, it was a nice idea…