I knew the job in hand was going to prove challenging. Everyone said so and everyone can’t be wrong. I knew kids needed some form of looking after; you know, feeding and the like and in turn a certain degree of responsibility was necessary for the position. You couldn’t go into this half-cocked; a teeny tiny person was completely dependent on you. For everything. You needed to think for them, be there for them, provide for them and on occasion, decide stuff. Important stuff. At times life altering stuff.
This was going to be hard.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom surely. After all, people were still having children like they were going out of fashion and if they could grow a baby, give birth and make it through the first year relatively unscathed, there was hope for me.
I like to think I’ve done a good job. Of sorts. I also like to think that if someone ganged up on any one of my kids or had a go at me my boys would stop them in their tracks with a firm, “she’s the best mammy in the world.”
But of course you are never quite prepared. No-one is. There is always something waiting to trip you up.
Here are my I-never-thought-of-that moments.
The first six months were easy. I needed to buy a few baby-gro’s and lots of nappies and after that it was all free(ish). But then along came the first pair of shoes. That hasn’t stopped. Kids will get sick. Even healthy ones will need a visit to the GP and some magic medicine. Breastfeeding rocks but solid food has to be introduced at some time. After years of wishing they would eat something, anything, mine have hit the bottomless pit stage. It’s. Never. Ending. School happens next with all of the books, shoes, runners and uniforms. Birthday parties, theirs and others. Will I leave college for another day? Ok then.
All of the opinions
Everyone has something to say. Especially if you do something a little differently. Sometimes people are just in bad form and they take that out on you but their comments can hit where it hurts most; how you raise your kids. It’s crap and it can come out of nowhere and leave you reeling.
Someone smart/funny/drunk once said cleaning your house when you’ve got kids is like brushing your teeth when you’re eating cookies. I could spend all of the day cleaning up after my kids and I would still come into the kitchen the following morning to find twenty-five cups and fourteen plates in the sink. How? Just how?
I put down a pen, a cup, a half-eaten biscuit or a book, return a few seconds later to find it gone. No-one saw it. No-one took it and no-one knows where it is.
Major head wreck ahead. Which school should they go to? (Hint – pick the nearest. Traffic will break you!) Then you’ve got age to contend with. Is your Spring baby too young to go at four and a half or is waiting a year for your winter one putting them too old at five and a half? (answer - wait. Five and a half is good. It’s very good.) From after school activities to playdates. From homework to school runs. Bullying and sick days. From not believing them when they say they’re sick to getting that phone call at 11.30am to say you need to come get them. Home-schooling seems pretty attractive from where I’m standing.
Recently someone caught me by the hand to tell me how big the boys have gotten. They received my stock response; “I know! It’s great!” and it is great. I made to move on because this person is adulting teenagers at the moment and I knew what was coming and I really, really didn’t want my bubble burst. He kept a firm grip on my hand and beckoned me closer.
I did it. I really did.
I leaned in.
“Wait till they’re teenagers.”
And there’s the rub. Stay tuned because by all accounts there is more to come.