This is a dangerous game to play before becoming a parent.
The “I will never do that” game.
Becoming a parent is a humbling experience. Within the first few weeks of the gig you will probably hit rock bottom, stay there for a few months, the emerge from the fog of newborn and into infancy into toddlerhood with whatever child-rearing dogma pre-child, or lifestyle preference, or quality of personal hygiene out the window.
So, here is my list of Things I Said I’d Never Do before I became a parent:
- Wear clothing with visible food stains: I really didn’t understand why parents so often had stains and crumbs on their clothing and why they didn’t change before going out. One word: Time. Two words: Don’t care.
- Allow my baby to see/watch television: Look, I’ve read the guidance about children seeing or watching the television before the age of two, but right now, sometimes the only moment I have in the day to eat or wash dishes or just sit still is when I can put Teletubbies or Peppa Pig on the iPad. He sees my family on FaceTime everyday so I’m not sure what the difference is. Other than my mother is neither a teletubby nor a cartoon pig.
- Eat the baby’s food off said baby or floor: Definitely, most definitely said I would never do this. Realised I needed to make sure I had lunch when I found myself eating bits of cheese off the floor from under the highchair or while scoffing down the remains of the baby spag bol. I have yet to lick food off of Freddy’s fingers, so I consider that a win.
- Clean my baby’s dummy/pacifier with my own mouth: I was told this day would come, and I was completely against it. The germs. The filth. Everything must be sterilised. This is precisely why we went out and bought twelve dummies. Once they hit the floor they were toast and destined for the steriliser immediately. Now, when everything goes in his mouth it’s probably pointless to clean them anyway, but sometimes for good measure I give it a good sweep with my own mouth just to make sure I got the worst of whatever was on the floor. This is not scientifically proven means of sterilising, by the way.
- Leave the house an untidy mess: Before the baby, I was neurotic about having a tidy house. Leaving the kitchen spic and span, papers in neat piles, the bed made, no clothes on the floor, pillows fluffed. This is a war I have lost. Not just a battle, a war. I made it eight months before deciding that there just weren’t enough hours in the day to keep the baby fed, dry, clean, happy, and safe and ensure the right throw pillow was on the correct chair.
- Allow the baby to play with my phone: I realise this is a slippery slope, but I do sometimes allow Freddy to have the phone. Generally when Freddy has my phone it’s been a bad day and it’s a sure fire way to keep him happy, quiet, and occupied for about 5 minutes. The same goes for my glasses and house-keys. Generally these are no-go items, but desperate times call for desperate measures. So minimise the damage, I have designated an old iPod, unused remote control (sans batteries), and a pair of baby sunglasses for him to explore. He’s too clever though, and knows they aren’t the real thing.
- Rearrange my house: Sure, when you have a baby you have to make some physical changes to your space. But for the longest time, I was determined to keep at least our sitting room photoshoot perfect. For a while, this meant having Freddy’s toys in our kitchen/dining room only, but then we started to feel cramped. So jumperoos and toy boxes slowly started to creep into our sitting room. Finally, yesterday, I moved our coffee table out of the way to create a large playing space on the floor. It was a bit painful, but Freddy rolled over for the first time within 10 minutes of having more floor space, which makes me think it was probably long overdue. I’m still pretty adamant that I won’t remove every nice/pretty object in our house to the loft for the next five years just because he might want to play with it.
This list will continue to grow, I’m absolutely sure. Just as long as I’m not adding something like “give the child his first mobile phone at five years old” I think we’re doing ok.