Once upon a time there was a Perfect Mummy.
She loved to clean and iron clothes all day long and when her Perfect Children came home she used to cook them a homegrown healthy bowl of vegetables with grilled fish and they ate it all up. When that was finished Perfect Mummy used to get the craft box out and they would hand make presents for all their friends and family, they were always impeccably made and never had glue or bits of tissue paper sticking out on badly coloured wood. They would all help Perfect Mummy clear up and then they would have a lovely bath where Perfect Mummy tested them on their Phonics and spelling, sometimes even some grammar! When bath time was finished, they'd all sit together patiently while Perfect Mummy helped with their maths homework and they would all read their reading books to her. After she took them upstairs for a bedtime story and a lullaby, she tucked them lovingly into their soft fresh sheets which smelled of fresh air and fairy clouds. When they were in Dreamland she would wash up and run a bath. She would then do some stimulating coursework and then retire to bed, after her full cleanse, tone, moisturise, and go to bed and sleep. For 9 hours. When she awoke the birds would be tweeting and she would look perfect and not have morning breath!
Then there was Normal Mummy. Normal Mummy would pick the children up from school every day, and go to McDonald's on the way home. When home she would look at her piles of clean and dirty unlaundered clothes and apply the Sniff Test for tomorrow's uniform, after using wet wipes to get any toothpaste, food or mud off. Normal Mummy would then run around like a headless chicken, washing up and checking book bags for letters. She was always surprised to find 3 weeks worth of letters and at least 3 school trips, which were all tomorrow. After hastily cobbling together packed lunches of varying quality of "food", outdoor wear and swimming gear for said outings, she would wipe her dripping wet sweaty face. She would then check the children all over and give THEM a quick Sniff Test, before deciding a wet wipe wash would do for now. At 7pm on the dot, Normal Mummy would then shout out "time for bed everyone!", and tell them to get changed and take themselves to bed, where one child could read their reading books to the other children as bed time stories. The children would then take themselves to bed in their fragrant sheets which were due for a wash, but not yet crunchy enough to warrant it. Normal Mummy would be desperate for a good soak in the bath but once she sat down she found she could not move and only had energy to move to find the bottle of wine and a corkscrew. She would drink directly from the bottle to save on washing up, and put a recorded Jeremy Kyle show on, with her feet up on the coffee table. Eventually she would go to bed at 2am after spending 4 hours building up to actually going upstairs to bed. She would look in the mirror at her sweaty face and mussed greasy hair and would mutter "meh" and walk back out of the bathroom. She would then trip over a million toys and step on at least 10 pieces of lego whilst muttering swear words under her breath on the long walk to bed. When she got in she would find at least one child in her bed who'd been farting and dribbling on her pillow. She would fall into a dazed sleep and awaken having mild cardiac arrhythmia upon the screeching tone of her 3 alarms, and stumble blindly out of bed.
One day Normal Mummy met Perfect Mummy.
She stabbed that bitch dead and from thereon in there were no more Perfect Mummies. Ever. Anywhere in the world. And all the Normal Mummies would laugh and laugh and drink wine forever!
And they all lived happily ever after.
While I was pregnant with my first child, before the HELL of parenthood hit me, there were many ideals I thought I'd easily achieve as a mum, many things I swore I would NOT do, all with that naive innocent perfect view of Johnsons Talc smelling babies and snuggles in blankets.
So for all of the mums-to-be out there who are smiling serenely as they await their first childs birth, I've made a list of things you need to know about life after birth so you can actually properly prepare for motherhood....
1. Your baby will not smell of Johnsons baby talc. They will smell of cheese from all the milk that runs down and gathers under their chubby little necks and you will find yourself constantly spot cleaning their neck in order to remove that cheesy smell, but it won't work. And if you can't smell cheese, you'll be smelling poo or the odour of dried saliva. Just keep a bottle of talc nearby and sniff that instead.
2. You will not sleep when baby sleeps, you will try and do chores. After 6 weeks of no sleep you WILL be sleeping when baby sleeps, but your baby doesn't want to sleep so much in the day, and your house will look like those ones on TV that are just piles of crap. If your crap makes it into an actual pile though, you will see this as a good days work. This will continue until they leave home. You will run out of excuses as to why your home is a mess ("Scuse the mess, we are decluttering/decorating/you've just caught me in the middle of cleaning haha"). Simply replace with "Scuse the mess, I have kids". People with kids won't notice, childless people will look horrified and double check the sofa for stains before they sit on it, and wipe their feet on the way out.
3. You WILL use TV as a babysitter. You will tell people they only watch it for half an hour as a treat. In truth there is no limit to TV because it gives you time to cook/clean/drink coffee/read a mag/have a shower/sit frazzled with a look of shock on your face unable to form any sentences. This will also apply to computer games as they get older. Infact they become your only bargaining tool. Allow your kids to get addicted to TV and computer games as early on as possible because the threat to remove them is the only way your kids will do as they're told.
4. Your idea of cleaning the house changes from changing bedsheets once a week to changing them when they become grey or crunchy or someone vomits on them. You won't be pulling sofas and TV stands out to hoover behind, you'll be kicking dust bunnies and random bits of paper underneath and behind them. Washing the floors becomes spot cleaning only the places your child has vomited on/spilt milk on/pee'd or poo'd on. The only surfaces you will dust are the TV area because that's the point of interest in the room and your mantra will be "if you can't see it, it doesn't exist". Window cleaning is dropped completely. Skirting boards will have a layer of dust on them. Tables won't be washed with hot soapy water and antibacterial spray, you will give them a quick swipe with a baby wipe. And you won't even care.
5. Baby wipes become your holy grail. They clean EVERYTHING. Tables, floors, work surfaces, toilets, food stains on clothes, cuddly toys and carpets. Even the dog on occasion for those of us stupid enough to think we can look after small human beings AND animals. Wet wipes also clean everyone in the house. Introduce yourself to the "wet wipe wash" for when you just don't have the energy to clean little people properly. Don't buy a baby bath as you will end up bathing them in the sink just because it has a plug hole and is easy to wash away and get to. The baby bath will just take up space and sit there mocking you.
6. Get used to being pee'd on, poo'd on, puked on and snotted on. You will constantly be covered in orange stains. You won't even know where they came from. You will desperately scrub at them with a wet wipe but it will never come out and this is the only time wet wipes won't actually clean something - accept this now to save your sanity.
7. Your dirty washing basket that used to be empty at least once a week? Hah! Not only will you NEVER see the bottom of that washing basket ever again, but it will become a dirty washing mountain. It will rival the clean washing mountain that lives constantly on your dining table because you never have time to put it away, and pfft, who eats at the dining table anymore? It's just a place to dump stuff that doesn't have a home. You will eventually end with mountains of crap and clothes everywhere and empty draws and cupboards. Live with it. You think you'll get it sorted when they start school. This expectation also will not happen. Because you'll be asleep or drinking super strong coffee whilst watching Jeremy Kyle and feeling happy because your house is definitely cleaner and tidier than the "guests" on the show. And you have more teeth.
8. Makeup. When your baby is new, you will insist on doing your hair and makeup when you leave the house. After a couple of months you'll be just down to a bit of powder and a coloured lip balm. After the first day at Primary School when you will get up early to apply a full face of makeup to show the other mums how organised you are and how bringing up children is a piece of piss, you will eventually stop wearing makeup and look like those mums huddled in the corner of the playground with pale unmade up faces, big grey circles, and mad, big hair that hasn't seen a pair of straighteners or tongs for a significant amount of time. There will be some mums that still have makeup. They only have one child, and cleaners - don't worry, they'll soon be just like you...
9. You will never read a book again. You won't sit still long enough and if you do you'll be nodding off. You will buy trashy celeb magazines as you don't have to concentrate on words and can just look at the pictures and be jealous. Try to remember these celebs have glam TEAMS of people to make them look that way, cooks, chauffeurs, cleaners and nannies. So when they are captured on camera looking shocking despite all these, you will feel smug. Because you can look shocking without a team of people helping you.
10. You won't even attempt to watch anything on the TV that doesn't have stupid songs and mental middle aged men prancing round and talking patronisingly to every small child they meet, until at least 7.30pm. Then you will watch shit programs that don't need concentration because you know a child will be downstairs every 10 minutes until they fall asleep in bed roughly at the same time as you nod off on the sofa.
11. You will read to your child every night like you said you would, but after a year you will start skipping through pages of the same book your child forces you to read every single night, just to get to the end quicker. When they start school you will tell them to read to themselves whilst you stare blankly at the TV screen, exhausted.
12. That freshly homemade and puréed wholesome food you cook every day and freeze so your child has a good diet, will eventually change to jars of baby food. This will then progress to porridge, bananas and finger sandwiches, with the occasional fish finger thrown in for good measure. That junk food you said you'd never poison their bodies with will become a treat used for bribery, or on evenings when you simply don't have the energy to do anything other than grunt and click on the Just Eat App. You then rely on school dinners for their hot meals so you don't have to cook in the afternoons and everyone will live on sandwiches for tea, with the occasional crisp butty making an appearance.
I know right - you're sitting here horrified and swearing you'd never do any of these, only BAD mums do this! But when you actually become a parent, bad mums are the ones who actually neglect their children, take drugs and are evil (and make up 95% of Jeremy Kyle "guests"). Anything in between perfect (haha....) and ACTUAL bad mums is wholly acceptable. And your children will end up wearing PJs all day on a Sunday and you will allow this simply because it means one less set of clothes to wash.
If you are STILL thinking this will never happen, this is where I tell you that it may, or may not happen. You will reach a point where you think maybe you want to play with your kids or take them somewhere and spend quality time with them rather than doing housework. And all those awful sounding things I've listed, that you are NEVER going to do, will simply happen and become a way to make sure you end up spending time with your kids, rather than having a show home. And you won't care that you look unhealthily pale, tired, and like you've been dragged through a hedge full of fluff and lint backwards and then been in the epicentre of a tornado, because your kids will remember their mental, crazy, funny mum and not remember that time they ran out of pants because you forgot to put the washing machine on.
Welcome to parenthood - the only club you'll ever want to be in, and never get out alive! Literally!
😘 X x X