Kids are so fun but we all know they are secretly fucking with us. There are some universal truths in parenting and, much like Murphy’s Law, the rule of thumb is: anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Dear darling baby of mine,
It’s three in the morning and I’m not myself. To be fair, you’ve dragged me out of bed at three am, which is officially within the ugly hours of the morning; nothing good ever happens between 2 and 4 am.
Sweetie, I can accept a 1.30am wakeup. At 1.30 in the morning, I can fool myself into thinking I’ve only just barely laid my head on the pillow so it’s no big deal. I still remember what it was like to dance on tables at one in the morning, so I can forgive a 1.30 wake up.
If you demand to see me at 4am I can tell myself you’ve slept through the night but accidentally woke too early. I’ve probably had four hours of sleep in a row, which is a winning effort for any parent; so 4am, while not ideal, is not the worst.
But 3am? It’s the middle of the night you ungrateful little turd, WHY WONT YOU LET ME SLEEP!?
You’re almost at the end of your pregnancy. You are aching and cranky and oh so exhausted. You’re about ready to rip that baby out with your bare hands which is nature’s way of making you less afraid of childbirth because anything would be better than this torture. You are over it and you want to know, is this all worth it?
Babe, I’m sorry: It’s my fault you’re scared. I’ve traumatised you with my stories. You look at me and my kids and you’re starting to think reproducing is the stupidest idea ever. I’m cranky, dishevelled and vague. It’s not pretty.
So how do I explain it to someone who has no idea what’s coming her way? How do I express just how tough, how exhausting, how utterly baffling children are, and yet reassure them it’s all SO WORTH IT?
This post is sponsored by Next Gen Health and Lifestyle Clubs
One of the secret silver linings of having children is using them as an excuse for not doing stuff you don’t want to do. Want to leave the party early? Sorry, the kids need to get to bed. Don’t feel like leaving the house? Kids are acting up. Don’t want to go to the gym? Sorrynotimegotkids.
For me, going to the gym is a bit like camping. I’m super keen to camp. As long as there’s wifi and a TV and, like, a five star hotel at the camping site. I’m not fussy, I swear, I just don’t like sleeping on the floor or eating stuff with dirt on it or being outdoors.
Similarly, going to the gym sounds amazing. I just don’t want to touch other people’s sweat, or smell sweat, or sweat myself. I’d really prefer it if I could just watch TV, drink wine and let the kids run around while my bum magically hikes itself back up to where it used to be. Have I mentioned I don’t gym?
My friends, I must apologise for my absence. I’ve just been so busy with the new baby, you know? Being a big brother is tough. I mean, people don’t really tell you how hard it’s going to be, do they? It’s UNRELENTING. Mum and Dad have absolutely phoned it in to be honest. They’re all, “can you get me a nappy please?” and “can you pass the wipes?” and “what’s that in the baby’s mouth?”etc. etc. etc. I mean, FFS. Don’t worry guys, you just keep scrolling insta while I take care of the baby.
So while I’ve been raising this child, I’ve taken some notes on how you too can be a phenomenal big brother or sister:
Once upon a time you were assessed on your ability to work within a team, to problem solve and to meet client expectations. Now you’re a parent and your whole life’s worth is down to two things: your ability to make your child eat and sleep.
A ‘good’ baby eats like a champ and sleeps like a… well, like a baby. But not the real version of a baby who sleeps in 15 minute blocks and wakes every time you turn the kettle on, the magical unicorn baby who goes down at 7pm and doesn’t stir until 7am.
These ‘good’ babies have wonderful mothers and fathers who have succeeded in passing on the vital life lessons these bubs need to survive. Because babies are basically idiots who don’t understand that eating and sleeping are not only essential for their existence but they are the two greatest joys of life and it baffles me that they don’t come out of the womb knowing this. HOW HARD IS IT? Just close your eyes for God’s sake. IT’S SO EASY.
So anyway, some mums and dads have earned themselves a gold star with their superior parenting, which has produced the highly coveted “text-book baby”.
Meanwhile, mums like me are sitting around, crying into their stewed apple because their child has been awake for 48 hours and refuses to open their mouth.
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Remember when we all sat around in our skinniest jeans and underwire bras and judged the shit out of all the crap mums around us? We rolled our unbloodshot eyes at those lazy mums who were just letting their kids behave like animals. We knew we’d be different. Better.
I mean, I knew parenting would be hard. I could see how hard it was… for some people. Bless their hearts, they were doing their best. I was just super lucky that I was smart and educated and predisposed to achieve at most things in life and parenting wasn’t going to be any different. I’d read heaps so I was basically an expert before I was even pregnant.
My pre-baby manifesto went something like this:
If you’re about to have a baby, you’ll have been told about four thousand times to “sleep while you can, gosh darn it!” because babies keep you awake and this will make you tired. Hilarious. Revolutionary.
Yes, you’ll be tired, but your life will change in so many other ways (for the better, I promise) that I’ve put together a list of things you might want to get done before your little human arrives. A pregnancy bucket list if you will…