I have four kids, so the assumption is I know a little bit about parenting. Well we all know what they say about assumptions, right? I thought I had things pretty much sorted in the parenting department until kid no 4 arrive and now I feel like a new mom wandering through the dark plains of a dessert with a blindfold on and my hands tied behind my back.
This is my 17th year of parenting and while I definitely do not know it all, there are a few things I do know and that I think every new parent should also know. I have put together this document for you so that you can maybe avoid the same mistakes I did.
When everyone wants to come and visit you and your newborn, ask them bring a meal or cake or both. Seriously don’t feel bad about this. If they want to invade your space after you have just birthed a tiny human, the least they can do is bring you something useful.
It is not important where your baby sleeps, as long as they sleep. If they sleep in your bed, leave them. If they sleep in a cot in their room, leave them. Even if they sleep on the floor in the passage, LEAVE THEM. Trust me on this! If anyone wants to offer judgement, let them try to do it your way while you take a shower and wash your hair!
Make your babies food or don’t. What is really important is that they eat something daily – it doesn’t really matter what. No really, it doesn’t. One of my kids ate rice and gravy for a couple of months, another one is currently existing on cucumber and bread. If you have seen my kids, you will know they are definitely not suffering from any sort of nutrient deficiency.
You can never have too many wet wipes. Ever.
Toddler tantrums are inevitable. They will probably happen in a grocery store at month end or in a mall while waiting for pictures with Santa. My advice? Don’t take your kids out until they are 5, even then never leave home alone, make sure your partner, friend, mother is with you. You can get pretty much anything you need online and if you do need to go to the shops, get dad to babysit.
When your child starts school, including preschool. Don’t sign them up to all the activities, they don’t need it, despite what they will tell you. Your child will still develop, even if they never make a pottery pencil holder. Also, I am all for treating my kids with respect but I am not really sure a 3 year old is equipped with the skills to decide what extra-muruals they need to do. (Take that money and get a pedicure.)
Make sure you always have fever meds for kids in your house.
Kids don’t need to bath every day. In some countries, they bath once a week. Yeah I know here in South Africa it gets a little hot and sweaty but a quick afternoon swim qualifies as a bath. Seriously some days there is just no energy to fight with kids about bathing.
Bribery is an acceptable parenting style. In fact I encourage it, you will teach your children some valuable negotiation skills.
It is ok to hide the chocolate from your kids. I came across such a clever idea, place your chocolate inside an empty frozen veggie bag. The idea is no one will check inside, so your chocolate will be safe. (This only works if you don’t have a chocoholic living in your home).
Put the TV on for your child if you want to. Ease your unnecessary guilt and put on some educational TV shows.
There will be days you don’t like your kids, it is normal! Just because you gave birth to them doesn’t mean that they aren’t little shits some days. On those days, put the TV on, get your secret chocolate stash and take a time out in your room or the garage or your car (or wherever they are least likely to find you).
Some days you will be the perfect Pinterest mama, some days you won’t. Some days you will leave the house in your heals, MAC lipstick and a can do attitude, some days you will still be in bed at 11h30 wondering if you will ever have a bath again.
It is the ying and yang of parenting and it is was keeps us going! That and lots of coffee, chocolate and carbs.