By Guest Blogger Kerryn Anker
The path through parenthood can feature an unfamiliar, rocky terrain at times. Sometimes the track I’ve walked has been well-travelled with advice and I've had guidance at my beck and call. There are days when this path is smooth and flat, while other days it is littered with boulders and pot holes, the destination a little hazy in the distance.
Sometimes, when I’m having a really tough day, I question why I started walking this track in the first place.
Each new day, each milestone my daughter masters, come with its joys and challenges. But as most parents can agree, there are ideals and pre-conditioned expectations we have pre-baby that don’t always match the reality when bub arrives.
Here are five things I said I’d never do before having a child and I’ve done all of them!:
1. I’ll never give my child food from a jar- all homemade food for my baby
What a joke. Life is hectic, chaotic and sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to prepare a home cooked meal (which on most occasions with my 15-month-old is usually splattered against the lounge room wall rather than going in her mouth).
Even though I still try to cook most of her meals, there are times, usually at the end of the week, where pulling a jar of food from the cupboard is a lot easier. The other night after trying to make some creative, healthy finger food for dinner, I gave in to banana and yoghurt after my food was met with a tightly closed mouth.
I have even put the jar of food into a container when I’ve gone out, in fear of other mothers judging me. Having a break now and then from the kitchen stove is perfectly fine in my books.
2. I’ll never fight with my husband in front of my child.
I laugh now at the discussions my husband and I had before having our daughter, talking at length about how we will work as a team, support each other and never, ever, ever fight in front of our child.
But when you put two sleep deprived people in a room with a screaming toddler who can’t decide whether she wants a piece of fruit or her bottle, tensions do sometimes flare. We can argue over the most stupid things and sometimes we both aren’t making a lot of sense when in the heat of the moment. Our biggest fights are normally over who is more tired. I fight my case to the bitter end and usually win, after I guilt my husband into defeat!
3. I’ll never let my child get away with bad behaviour
Who was I kidding? As my daughter transitions from baby to toddler, I am starting to see the tantrums becoming a common occurrence. I remember a few months ago when she chucked one hell of a hissy fit in the shopping centre, wanting to get out of the trolley. When I did let her out, she screamed that she wanted to get back in before throwing herself on the floor. After causing a scene and attracting quite a crowd, I whisked her into an aisle and gave her a biscuit.
I find, at this age, it’s really hard to reason with my daughter. She either wants something or doesn’t. She won’t sit in a naughty corner, and sometimes to get through the shopping unscathed keeping her distracted is my only weapon of choice.
4. I will never be one of those mums who talks constantly about their child.
Don’t you hate those people who talk and talk non-stop about their child? It’s as if this tiny person is somehow the very centre of their world. Well, of course they are the apple of their eyes, they bloody created a human being and that’s definitely something to brag about.
As a parent you watch them grow and develop on a daily basis and you take pride in their every achievement, whether big or small. I am, however, aware that with my fellow mum friends I can discuss poo and sleep, or lack thereof, until I’m blue in the face, but that with my childless friends too much baby talk is a little boring for them.
5. I will never lose myself and only be someone’s mother
No matter how hard I tried in those early months, how many outings I tried to organise with the girls, there have been times where I find that my world is all about my daughter and nothing else.
After having her, my life changed. I went from a career woman to a stay-at-home-mum (I hate that term, but that’s another story).
I went from drinks out on a Saturday night to downing a takeaway cup of coffee in the local park.
My priorities have definitely changed, but I actually enjoy my new life - well, when my daughter isn’t throwing a tantrum!