A few people I know are about to become parents for the first time soon. I feel inappropriately overexcited for them, with the enthusiasm that only a few years distance from a newborn baby can bring.
Because it is MARVELLOUS! Enchanting! A miracle! and Such A Precious Time!! – or so will tell everyone who has lived through it and come out (almost) smiling with a toddler or two in tow.
It’s tough, right?
I’m talking about this from a woman’s point of view obviously, as motherhood presents certain challenges to your woman’s body that regardless of how nice your husband or partner is, they can not, and – possibly for their own mental wellbeing – should never fully understand. You will wish a thousand ills on them when they try to tell you how much they appreciate the pain of childbirth as once they went through worse when they got kicked in the balls as a child.
Husband (thoughtful): Is it (labour) a bit like having a particularly tricky poo?
Me: No. It’s like shitting out a lung. With spectators.
So on that note, here’s a few things I never dreamt would be, well – normal, but parents (or at least mothers like me) everywhere will recognise as a rite of passage. Starting with:
1. Aiming your newly running toddler and their very heavy head square at the genitals of your unsuspecting partner during the above conversation on how “hard” childbirth can really be, right? Their tears remind you of the weird joy you felt that time when you made them try out the breast pump on their own nipples. And then died laughing when they got it stuck. And then the junior doctor walked in and you felt judged for having any fun at all whilst in the custody of 1. a tiny defenceless newborn baby and 2. a broken fanny.
2. You start buying Cheerios. Seriously – kiddie crack. You will wonder why you waited until child number two to start on the breakfast bribery, and after the first Saturday morning that you let them eat a bowl of dry cheerios IN THEIR BEDS (thus facilitating you staying in yours) you can expect to find shrivelled Cheerios for ever after in your pants, in their pants, on the floor, in the bath, in their ears – in fact anywhere but in the cupboard where they should be.
3. You permit your two year old to eat said shrivelled Cheerio when he presents it to you with utter delight, having found it on the floor behind the radiator, thick with dust, dog hair, and possibly ebola as it’s just easier. If you have two or more children, you will allow them to do this in public too. On particularly tricky days, you will, yourself eat the proffered two year old cheerio just to prevent more shouting. You’re not proud.
4. At some point, you WILL find yourself fishing for a fully formed human turd in the bath. You will not bat an eyelid.
5. You will piss your pants laughing at something cute your child does. Literally. Piss. Your. Pants. After the initial horror wears off, you will vehemently do secretive pelvic floor exercises, all the while wondering if people can tell by your face when you are clenching. You will watch your face in the mirror whilst clenching, decide that, yes, it IS obvious after all, feel mortified that you did some whilst having a boring conversation with the other mums at the health visitor weigh in and then never, ever go back.
It’s only with hindsight you realise how much things are never, EVER the same again.