This week I have officially been a parent for a whole year. It has been the hardest, most tiring, nerve wracking and wonderful year, and if I'm totally honest has changed my outlook on life forever and shed some light on my previous judgements of other peoples' lives and choices (which I didn't even realise I had!).
So, I would like to share these words of wisdom to those about to embark, or for those who may like to recall the early days of parenting.... and, most importantly, to give an insight for those who have not experienced the mayhem becoming a parent causes.
Here is my list of 'things that are without doubt, totally and utterly acceptable in the first year of having a baby!' (a few pointers directed at mums, because that's the bit I know!).
It IS without doubt, totally and utterly acceptable to:
1. Never have time to 'nip out' or 'pop out' at all! Unless we're talking 'boobs' - you might very well be popping those out all over the place! 2. Think of Wine O'Clock as an actual official time.
3. Never be on time. Unless it's Wine O'Clock.
4. Cry. No reason needed.
5. To style your hair into a 'Mun' (no, not a 'man-bun' - that's just ridiculous. A 'mum-bun') EVERYDAY.
6. Cry because your boobs are bleeding. What the hell is Mother Nature playing at?
7. Appreciate sleeping on your front.
8. Appreciate sleep. Full stop.
9. Finish showering before you've had chance to turn the shower on.
10. Wish this was an acceptable attire for playgroup/mother and baby groups/soft play.
11. Lose the ability to count to 5, 6, 7... or however many scoops of formula are needed at 3am.
12. Feel guilty because you're using formula. Yep, you really do cry over spilt milk in the first year.
13. Feel guilty because you have to go back to work/don't go back to work/want to go back to work/don't want to go back to work.
14. Eat chocolate, cakes, biscuits before 9am. Do you really think parents of a newborn actually have time to pour cereal into a bowl?
15. Feel guilty about point 14.
16. Think squeezing your pelvic floor 10 times a day is such a chore. Yes, you can do it lying down, watching TV, brushing your teeth... but 10 times, that's nearly 30 seconds of effort. Forget to do it.
17. Feel guilty about point 16.
18. Really, really want YOUR mum.
19. Act 10 years younger.
20. Feel 10 years older.
21. Develop an extreme hatred for anyone who parks in a 'parent and child space' with NO baby or, anyone who uses a lift through sheer laziness – parents with prams have NO CHOICE ARSEH**S! You get the point.
22. Realise once you've changed an active 10-month-old's nappy you missed your true vocation..... as a wrestler.
23. Watch your little one empty an entire drawer/cupboard/shelf because for a whole 40 seconds you can just sit still, in one place and reflect on what a mess your house has become.
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24. Look at parents with more than one child and think how? Why?
25. Develop a fear of salt.
26. Think if it's not near the head it's perfectly acceptable (don't even try to pretend you don't realise I'm talking baby wee, sick, milk.... in your bed!)
27. Change sexy undies
28. Cry because of a story on the news, an animal rescue programme, a romcom, a charity advert... a DFS advert!?
29. Think 9pm means staying up late and pulling an all-nighter means something very different.
30. Realise a baby-free night out is crushed by the thought of waking up at 6am NOT baby free.
31. Look forward to your day off when you can lie in for as long as you like - in 18 years time!
32. Dictate your days by nap times. Not for you. Never for you.
33. Say things you heard your parents say. "Don't fight it...just sleep".
34. Fill the whole of your phone memory with photos of your baby then curse at the fact there was no storage and you missed documenting your baby's first hiccup. Damn you, phone.
35. Say everything in song.
36. Only check Facebook whilst on the loo.
37. Never have time to check Facebook whilst on the loo as you are too busy entertaining your baby...whilst on the loo.
38. Cry because you don't know what your 'normal' friends do anymore. Or your Facebook friends.
39. Feel like a rockstar when you make your baby laugh.
40. Not cook everything from scratch, organically and fresh – it's not a crime, people.
41. Have a bodybuilder's bicep (left or right, depending on your baby holding preference!)
42. Feel like someone has pressed the fast forward button on your life.
43. Try and send telepathic messages to will your little one to lie back down and just sleep for another 20 minutes when they wake up ready for the day at 5am.
44. Be physically and mentally exhausted. Being responsible for another humans life is not an easy job.
45. Feel a ridiculous surge of protection when another little 'angel' snatches the one toy your little one had plucked up the courage to look at. Playgroups are a battleground.
46. Desperately will your little one not to be the one that snatches.
47. Wonder why nobody explained to you just how bloody hard it is.
48. Then utter the grating line to other expectant parents: "You just can't explain it."
49. Never quite being able to grasp how you can hold SO much love for another human being and realise life has a whole new meaning....
50. Then cry. Again.
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