Congratulations. You’ve decided the time has come and you’re ready to have children. Or maybe you have some already – so you’re going to know exactly what I’m talking about in this article.
Either way, no doubt you’re going to agree with me that having children is by far one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your life. From the moment you hear their first scream (which to be honest gets the heart racing more than anything else in the world because at least you know they made it out okay!) to the moment you hear them screaming at their sibling in an argument that sounds like a war game … kids are such a joy.
Although it’s still pretty early days for me yet – my kids are 16 months and almost-4; there are still many things I’ve learned along the way so I thought I’d share with you 4 Things You Can’t Do Anymore When You Have Children – just so you know what to prepare yourself for, even for just the first few years.
Have a shower in peace
No doubt you enjoy taking a nice long shower in the depths of a cold winter’s morning, basking in the thrill of the warm water on your cold skin. Or a lovely cold shower on a warm summer’s day, cooling you down. That moment of peace when you step under the water and all you can hear is the drips as water rushes off you…
Imagine that moment. It’s the last time you’ll ever get to experience it – in your imagination. Once you have children it all changes. Guaranteed, every time you get in the shower, your newborn baby is going to choose that moment to start screaming as though they’ve never been fed. They’re going to want to eat … NOW! And then once they can crawl, they’re going to crawl into that shower with you – and if you can’t stop them, you have to change the water temperature to suit their delicate skin. No more cold or hot shower … it’s all just “warm” (but not TOO warm!).
As they get older, it becomes a game – the moment they hear that shower going, that’s when the fights start with the siblings. The screaming and hair pulling. You trying to just shut it out for 2 minutes… or yelling out the shower door for them to stop. Get used to it. You’ll never have another shower in peace again. And even if you wait until they’re asleep – guaranteed they will wake up the moment the shower starts. It’s what they do.
Go to the toilet on your own
Honestly, there’s nothing worse than having an audience when you’re on the toilet… but you can expect it when you have children – every single time. You can try to sneak off to your own private ensuite; you can even try to shut the door (OMG!) … but it’s never going to happen. It’s like a little switch in their brain goes off the moment you sit on the toilet seat and that’s their cue to come and join you. They’ll grab at the toilet paper (my 16 month old boy grabs the end of the toilet roll and runs up the hall with it…); they’ll tell you a story that requires your utmost attention about how the monster came to scare the Trolls and then they all sang a song and danced; or they might just sit on the floor … to watch. Get used to it. I’ve heard from friends who have young teenagers that it never changes – guaranteed the minute you sit on the toilet, life is about to end due to a pimple on their nose. It’s the toilet that does it.
Eat anything without sharing
Love chocolate or a sneaky ice cream? You’re soon going to learn to hate the fact that you love these foods… because you’re never going to get to eat them on your own again. Unless of course you get to sneak out to the shops alone one day (YIPPEE)!
It doesn’t matter what you’re eating, they’re going to want it too. If they don’t want to eat it, they will at least want to look at it, talk over it, sneeze on it, touch it … anything at all. My son eats ANYTHING … he’s 16 months old and he could be sitting there, just finished a bowl of 2 Weetbix, he’s already had milk and toast and fruit and biscuits, it’s not even 6am yet … then when I finally think he’s surely had enough (I mean, it’s more than I usually eat in a whole day!) and I sit down to a cup of coffee and a slice of toast myself – all of a sudden his appetite is back and he wants it. And he won’t relent until I share my own toast with him.
And you can forget about sneaking a yummy treat – they can hear the wrapper from miles away!
If you’re already pregnant, you will fast learn that there’s no dignity in pregnancy. The amount of times you get poked and prodded with your legs in the air; the barrage of personal questions that would normally make you squirm getting asked of you at every single pre-natal appointment; not to mention all the lovely things that happen to your body physically that you have no control over (bend down to pick up a tin you dropped off the supermarket shelf and you’re guaranteed to toot; start laughing too much at a joke at work and you might wet yourself a little … if you’re not there yet, sorry, but it’s coming and you can’t control it!).
Pregnancy is preparing you for the real thing. Once you have a child, there’s no dignity. If you’re breastfeeding, your child is going to want to feed when you’re half way through your grocery shopping. Screaming the house down – and you can’t do anything about it except feed them, huddled in a little corner, hoping that 2 minutes of milk is going to sustain them long enough. TIP: Always take a bottle of expressed milk out with you!
You’re going to step out the door in a new outfit that you figured you really deserved and it makes you feel like you’re a woman again – not just a mum; and the minute you arrive at the party, shops, play centre, anywhere – your child is going to vomit, wipe their nose, grab you with muddy hands; and then you have to wear it.
And last but not least (at least for now, I could go on forever but there’s only so many words for an article!) … if you use a toilet in a public place, guaranteed your child will say something embarrassing while you’re in there. There might be one other person in the bathroom, or there might be a line a mile long and your child is going to tell the world any, or all, of the following: that you stink; that you’re hairy; that you’re not hairy; that you are wiping yourself; that you farted; that you have a “nappy” on (for that time of the month); that you’re doing a poo … and so on.
Welcome to motherhood. Leave your dignity at the door and come on in!