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?
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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:
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I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic but nothing brings on the Greek tragedy like having a sick baby. I don’t cope well.
My initial reaction to the first sign of illness is self-doubt. I spend hours debating if I need to be concerned at all. Then I wonder if I should be heading to the GP or if maybe I’m overreacting. Then I second-guess myself and panic that I haven’t panicked enough because I’m completely negligent and I should probably rush straight to the hospital. Then I tell myself it’s just a cough and I shouldn’t expose the kids to the super bugs and drunkards crawling around the emergency room so we stay home. And then I lie awake all night listening to Snuffleupagus snorts and wheezes and Google all the possible diseases my children have contracted.
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The g-strings have been replaced by sensible boy legs. The spindly stilettos have made way for flats and sneakers. The dry-clean only, waist-cinching silk has been packed away, replaced by flowing (gut-hiding) shirts and knits. Underwires have been banished because I’ve learnt that rib-jabbing wire is for masochists. And the great Ear-Lobe Massacre of 2013 has seen an end to the dangly earrings in my life.
In so many ways my former, quite beautiful life was not made for motherhood. Motherhood is sensible, comfortable, often quite large and frequently ugly.
When I fell pregnant I packed away my pretty little clutches and searched for the most stylish nappy-bag I could find. My pram needed to be gorgeous. I wanted the cutest cot and an understated car seat. Because I was a special and unique snowflake who was destined to mother in style.
Like the naïve moron I was, I eagerly waltzed into my first baby shop and was smacked in the face with primary coloured ugliness that burnt my eyes with its achingly practical design and plastic heavy aesthetic.
In my delicate first-time-pregnant state, the visual assault left me light headed and I practically needed smelling salts when I started to look at the prices.
I discovered – in a scam yet to be investigated by the ACCC – the word “baby” adds approximately 450 percent to the cost of any item*. A simple bag with pockets might cost you $80, but a “nappy bag” that looks and works in the exact same way will cost you $200. An armchair might cost $300, but a “feeding chair” can cost $1500 and so on and so on. [*Not exactly accurate]
God help you if you do actually find something half-way decent looking. Start saving now if you’re in any way attracted to items made of wood or not requiring batteries because the less gaudy it is, the more expensive it will be (money saving tip: I can promise you, if you buy a baby item you think is elegant, beautiful and eco-friendly, your baby will HATE it. There’s a reason for the eye-burning, acid-tripping, poker-machine music playing plastic parade – babies love that shit).
After a lot of soul-searching, positive affirmation saying and straight-up reality checking, I accepted my Fisher-Price fate and dropped a small fortune on all the garish plastic I could find. I adopted a nappy bag the size of a small Labrador with 84 pockets which never hold anything I’m desperately looking for. I bought the stupid plastic tub which does the exact same thing as a bath except it’s far less useful. I shelled out for the ridiculous high-chair and the hulking great car seat. For this tiny person-to-be, I bought ALL THE THINGS.
But perhaps the most difficult transition to make was the decision to graduate to a MUM BUS.
Young, fun, childless Lauren drove the world’s cutest car. A Fiat 500 Bambino. A mate of mine told me it looked like an iPod. He’d jump in and yell, “shuffle” and rock the car trying to change the music. Oh the lolz.My adorable, zippy little Bambino, which could fit into any and every available parking spot, couldn’t fit my baby. It definitely couldn’t fit my bank-breaking pram.
As I struggled to fit my growing gut behind the wheel, I stopped talking about stereo systems and zippiness and starting researching boot space and reversing cameras. In a move that most couples eventually make, we agreed that this tiny speck of a human being was going to require an upgrade to a beast of a car. Because tiny humans may be tiny, but they come with a travelling circus of crap. Plus, when you’re driving around with your precious bundle, you need to be the most imposing presence on the road, right? “I have a baby in the car! I WILL DRIVE OVER YOU!”
So, now, I’m the ultimate mum cliché. I’m walking along in my activewear, carrying a takeaway coffee cup, wearing a mum bun and climbing up into my 4WD (or is it SUV now?) so I can ferry my kids around to gymnastics and playgroup.
One day I’ll get back to small and pretty. I might even be able to wear dangly earrings again.
If you’re looking to upgrade your car, but are short of funds, a personal loan can provide you with a way to achieve that goal. Why not check out People’s Choice Credit Union’s personal loans, or use their online Personal Loan calculator to see how a Personal Loan could work for you and your budget.
So now we know how expensive these kids are, want to win some cash? I’ve got a $200 prepaid VISA card up for grabs and I want to give it to you!!
Just tell me in 25 words or less, what’s something you’ve bought for your kids that has ended up being a huge waste of money OR tell me something you bought that has been worth it’s weight in gold.
Terms and Conditions
- This is a game of skill. Each valid entry will be judged by Lauren, based on creativity and originality.
- There is one prize: 1 x $200 prepaid VISA card.
- Competition begins at 4pm Sydney time on Thursday 14th July 2016 and finishes at midnight on Sunday 24th July 2016.
- This competition is hosted by The Thud and is open to all Australian readers of The Thud. (sorry to my lovely international readers!)
- Prize is not transferable or changeable.
- Entry is via leaving a comment on this blog post in answer to the above question
- The winner will be announced on Monday the 25th of July on The Thud’s Facebook page. This giveaway is not endorsed by Facebook.
- The decision on the winner is final.
- If the winner is not able to be contacted or does not respond to The Thud within 48 hours, a runner-up will be chosen.
- These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice.
- GOOD LUCK! xxx
From the minute that tiny babe is out of you, you’ll start hearing about “tired signs”
“Do you know your tired signs?”
“Have you been watching her tired signs?”
“What tired signs has he been showing?”
“Won’t somebody think of the TIRED SIGNS!”
Everybody is so bloody preoccupied with the baby’s tired signs that they completely ignore the mother who’s standing there wearing gumboots and a shower cap, brushing her teeth with a candle and obsessively staring at her jerking infant and trying to decide if the baby is tired or if he’s trying to communicate through modern dance.
So, for your reference, here’s a handy guide to a mother’s tired signs: