Frog turned six today. Six whole years. It’s the oldest parenting cliché in the book but it’s true: the years really do fly by. Anyway, I was going all slushy earlier looking at old baby photos of her and it got me thinking how much I’ve learned and how much I haven’t in the past six years of being a mum.
Seeing as my biggest girl turned six today I thought I’d share some of the six secrets I’ve stumbled upon.
1. The years are short
It honestly feels like a minute ago I was wearing the floorboards thin trying to get this tiny baby to sleep in the early hours of the morning. At the time it feels like it’s going on forever and your life is on pause but, at the risk of sounding like an old person, it really does go by so quickly.
2. Everyone has shit days
Just like all people the world over, parents have shit days too. It’s only, often you don’t see those shit days. New mums especially can tend to want to put a brave face on things for fear of being seen as not coping / not savouring every moment (because they go too fast, see above) etc. But it’s a load of pants. We ALL have bad days, and that’s OK. It’s normal not to love every part of being a mum. Mum life is TOUGH.
3. Kids have the ability to make plastic tat come out of your walls
For every toy you get rid of, ten will take its place. FACT. When they’re babies the plastic tat comes in large, easy to spot form. It’s often brightly coloured and makes a noise – which is handy as it helps you navigate the toy obstacle course across the living room floor. But as your kids grow their toys get more stealthy. The plastic tat shrinks and morphs into potentially painful shapes. Lego on the floor, hama beads stuck between your toys, freebie bits of no-one-knows-what from vastly over-priced kid magazines. No orifice of your house is safe. I believe it stays this way until they become teenagers, at least.
4. Going out gets more fun
The tired old joke about mums going out and falling asleep into their wine has never been true for me. In fact, since I’ve become a mum I don’t think I’ve had a bad night out. The fact my nights out average twice a year probably have something to do with it. Plus, a trip to Tesco’s past 7pm is classed as a night out these days, so to get to an actual pub is a huge bonus. Having babies has done big things for my appreciation of pubs. Even a pub with a sticky floor, a few old men and a knackered old juke box sounds exciting these days.
5. You see your parents in a new light
Of course this isn’t the same for everyone, but one thing I was totally unprepared for when I became a mum was how I’d see my own mum (and dad). Although I was a fully-fledged grown-up with the challenging task of raising a tiny human, I suddenly felt very vulnerable and probably needed my mum more than at any other time in my life since toddlerhood.
6. Everything is a “phase”
“It’s just a phase” has become my go-to explanation for every single crappy parenting dilemma I’ve ever had to face. Tantrums, toilet training issues, sleep (or lack of it) – you name it, it’s a “phase”. It’s a cliché older than the “they grow up so quickly” one, but you know what? It’s TRUE.
(Also: you’re allowed to feel intense annoyance whenever anyone tries to fob you off with this piece of wisdom when all you want is to moan without judgment.)
What parenting secrets have you discovered since becoming a mum or dad?