Since becoming a parent, I’ve definitely become gross. I’m immune to bogies smeared on t-shirts (although I’d rather it wasn’t mine). I snack on half-fishfingers that have been pushed around a plate and finally rejected. Once I ate a finger of buttered toast off the floor, as it was easier than walking to the bin. I can only admit this as every parent I know has done the same thing. My standards are rock bottom. But they can probably go lower than that. What have I learned?
1. Don’t buy anything white, cream, or pastel. FFS, why would you do such a thing?
2. You can’t have nice things. My chiffon shirt that cost far too much was snagged on a bit of Velcro on the toddler’s winter coat on day one. My furry jacket from Zara has conkers in the pockets and snotty tissues up the sleeves. I get dressed in the morning knowing that someone will sneeze on me within 30 seconds.
3. Socks do not have to match. For every time you pair some socks, you could be lying down. Why would you not be lying down?!
4. Yellow food is fine. Waffles, fish fingers, bread, pasta. The carbs that I avoid because I like my skinny jeans to fit are perfect for kids growing brains and longer legs. They are giving energy to our Duracell bunnies. They are warding off a hangry tantrum. And they are also excellent adult hangover food.
5. If you are ironing your kids’ clothes, you are doing it wrong. See point 3.
6. Your kids won’t want to wear the cute denims and ironic band t-shirt. They want to wear soft clothes that let them move, and they don’t care if it’s polyester. My almost-three year old has been known to wear the same hand-me-down, faded and washed-multiple-times Batman shirt for days in a row (including sleeping). Only when it gets crusty do we take it off. The tantrum isn’t worth it to do it earlier. Does this make me a shit parent? Does it hell. I love my kids. They are fed, and warm. A crunchy t-shirt isn’t going to affect their long-term prospects.
7. TV is not the devil. It is a free babysitter that allows you to put a wash on/ drink tea / visit the loo. Anyone who suggests otherwise is probably not a parent. And if they are, you aren’t going to be friends.
8. I hate crafts. I think Play-Doh is the devil. I am not a tiger-mom. But I do chase squirrels in the park. I sing along to Disney songs in the car. I let them drown the bathroom with power-splashing each evening. I know what my strengths are. And it’s not with sticky-back plastic, glitter or crayons. That is what Godparents are for.
9. Your kids don’t want nice wooden toys. They want battery-operated tat that goes against both your environmental and aesthetic principles. Just make sure they have an off button. I’ve had to secretly chuck out a Thomas the Tank Engine that wouldn’t shut up, and kept asking me to press his funnel (not a metaphor) during the last episode of The Handmaid’s Tale.
10. And even if you spend hours putting the toys away, there will still be something ugly and plastic for you to stub your toes on on your way to bed. I bet it’s bloody Lego.
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