Do you ever hoist up your judgeypants when you read something on social media about parenting styles…then immediately realise that actually, you don’t follow your own ideal at all? I’m that person. I’m calling bullshit on myself – my name is Sam, and I’m a parental hypocrite.
Now. We’ve all been there. Pre-children, you observe another mum or dad from your snooty innocence of an unfettered birth canal, and you mutter to your partner: “When WE have a kid, you’ll never catch us doing that.” Bloody pricks, we were. We didn’t KNOW. We didn’t fully comprehend that children can be utter bellends, designed to test us to the absolute edges of our limits.
Then the kids arrive (sorry, vag) and we still like to be all preachy about what we will and won’t put up with. Well, here’s my confessional – these are my top hypocritical fails. Enjoy.
Myth: We always eat our meals together as a family. That hour of togetherness, to connect and share our days, is just the most relaxing and communicative time. I always cook our meals from scratch too, and my children will eat anything because we baby led weaned them.
Truth: Literally my least favourite time of the day. I can’t be arsed to cook anything imaginative so we stick to the same old boring shit, that’s painfully healthy and therefore DRY. And that’s just dinner, On my days off, or weekends, the gruelling mealtime regime is repeated three times a day, plus snacks. The big child will invariably knock her cup of piss-weak squash onto my plate. The small child will cock a leg, let out a poo, and then persist in trying to stand up in her high chair while she throws food around. Both children talk over each other, and us, while I gouge a line in my plate with my knife because the only adult I’ve spoken to all day has been on the other end of Facebook, or charging me a million pounds in Waitrose. Worst offenders for extensive floor mess: couscous, rice, spaghetti, egg, mushy cereal.
Myth: The girls are going to get a fantastic appreciation for the importance of a strong, healthy body, and a respect for exercise. They’ll play nicely in one area of the bedroom, while I work out a couple of meters away. We’ll sing and chat but generally stay out of each other’s way.
Truth: I barricade us into our bedroom, because otherwise both children wander off and both can conquer the stairgate. The big child can be trusted with stairs, just…but the small child, not so much. The big child loves to copy me and will screech “I’m doing jump squats mummy, look!” as she narrowly misses landing on her sister’s head. Her sister will crawl and cruise her way to me, where she’ll clamber onto my back as I’m trying to plank and she’ll manage to kill the fitness video I’m streaming, as well as locking me out of my phone. Then, she’ll open my bedside table and pull everything out, which she’ll pass to me with an increasing pitch of “ta? ta? TAAAAAAA?” The big child will shut the window because “it’s a bit chilly in here mummy”, clearly not noticing that my face is like a fucking pizza oven. “And you’ve locked us in so I can’t go and get a cardigan. It’s ok, I’ll put your jeans on my arms.”
Myth: Neither of my children eat too much refined sugar. All cakes and bakes are homemade, using recipes from the BLW cookbook and suchlike. We do not have sweets in this house.
Truth: To be fair, I totes stuck to this with the big child. I scrutinised the labels of everything, I bought those cripplingly expensive low-salt stock cubes, I made one hundred varieties of oat fingers for breakfast every day, and the freezer was rammed full of savoury 10-veg muffins. Her first birthday saw me whipping up a special sugar-free buffet, and she didn’t get a snifter of her own e-number laced birthday cake. Then she was given a digestive biscuit at nursery and I kind of loosened the reigns a bit. The small child, however – not only does she know exactly which cupboard houses the sweets, but she’ll elaborately swipe left as I rustle through mini bags of haribo, jelly tots and maoam bloxx until I reach the elixir of sugary crap – the foam banana. Yes, she can recognise the bag from twenty paces. She lives for a bribery foam banana. The shame of it.
Myth: I’ll never be too busy to answer questions. It’s so important to encourage their blossoming minds, and isn’t it just fascinating what they come out with? I love seeing the cogs turning and I marvel, yes marvel, at the sheer level of curiosity and knowledge in one so young.
Truth: Remember the recent general election? Of course you do. Well, I waxed lyrical about taking the girls with me when I voted, to instill a bit of pomp and ceremony into the big child and give her the Newsround version of British politics. In a seemingly unrelated activity, the big child is shortly going on a little midweek jaunt to the Isle of Wight with her grandparents. On a ferry. Which is a big boat. Now, it might be my shit teeth, but the words “vote” and “boat” became indiscernible to her on election day. “When we boat, will there be a roof on it?” “Will my feet get wet when we boat?” “Will we get lunch on the vote?” “Why do we have to vote on the sea?” “Who drives the boat for us?” “Is that it? Where’s the boat?” After about five hours of this, on a slightly varied loop, I asked if perhaps we might talk about something else just for a little while.
“Ok mummy. Mummy, what’s your favourite dinosaur that isn’t brown and isn’t green?”
Oh my god.
-SJW June 2017