There are many truths oft quoted about parenting: having kids is like having your heart walk around outside your body, the rush of love for your new baby will take your breath away and of course, you will never use the bathroom alone again.
By now, we all know these hoary old chestnuts so in the interests of a fresh take on things, here are some other more obscure, but equally as prescient mum truths that new players should be aware of.
1. My car is a shoe cupboard
Once you have kids, your car simply becomes another receptacle for all the sh** they can’t be bothered taking with them when they go.
My kids like to leave their shoes in the car. As soon as they are buckled up, the shoes come off. Then they walk from the car to the house barefoot and next time we go out we spend 15 minutes searching for “lost” shoes that have been in the car the whole time. These days there is a pair for every occasion on the floor of the car: thongs, school shoes, runners, you name it, they’re all stored in the car. Now that we know what’s happening, we no longer search for them in the house. We just get in the car, pick the right pair and off we go.
2. My body is a napkin
Small kids like to treat their mothers like a giant walking napkin. Sticky hands? Just walk over to that big walking absorbency organism, otherwise known as “Mum” and wipe your hands down it. So convenient, because she’s always around.
3. My shoulder is a snot rag
Giving your kids a nice hug? Be prepared for them to swipe their snotty nose across your shoulder while they’re there.
4. My hand is a receptacle for regurgitated food
Once you become a mother you will discover you possess a very strong impulse response to a child who is about to spit out food: without thinking, you will automatically put your hand out so they may spit the offending matter into it. Along with unconditional love for your child, it’s just one of the many instincts nature has programmed within us.
5. My couch is a jumping castle
Despite your best intentions and your intended resistance to the inevitable BEFORE you become a parent, this one is a fait accomplis. No matter how in control you think you will be of your soft furnishings, this will happen. One day, about three years in, you will realise that the prophecy has been fulfilled: the couch is now a jumping castle … a cubby house, a fort and sometimes even a horse.
6. I am a walking rubbish bin
Just like the napkin and the snot rag thing, you are now the place everyone, including your partner, gravitates to when they wish to dispose of apple cores, lolly wrappers and something they picked up off the ground that they realise they no longer want.
Walking along the beach with ice creams? Be prepared for everyone in the family to mindlessly hand you their ice cream wrappers. And just like the regurgitated food instinct, you will instinctively accept these offerings as your problem to solve.
7. Dessert is an essential bargaining chip
While a lot of people see dessert as a sweet full-stop to complement the satisfying meal that came before it, now that you are a mother, dessert is simply an essential bargaining tool. A lot of families claim they don’t do dessert every night, but in our house it’s the carrot that keeps the donkey moving forward.
If there’s no ice cream in the freezer, I am totally powerless.
8. My handbag is everybody’s storage facility
… for rocks, half-eaten biscuits, shiny bottle tops and the stick your toddler found at the park that simply cannot be left behind. Get a bigger bag because you’re going to need it, not for the nappies and wipes, but for all the stuff they need you to store for them until further notice.
9. I am a magic faith healer
Despite having no medical qualifications whatsoever, I am the go-to for all mysterious aches, pains and complaints and I am expected to have a solution. This is because I have developed all sorts of magical, charlatan moves that stop children from feeling pain and/or whingeing. There’s the “magic rubbing hands”, the “kiss it better” and most importantly, the detailed analysis of non-existent maladies like, “sore eyebrows” that all make me the most revered faith healer in all of Five Dock. I have also been known to hand out special cure-all “tablets” (otherwise known as pink marshmallows) to heal all manner of vexatious conditions.
10. If I am sleeping, relaxing, showering, going to the toilet or just enjoying a quiet moment of solitude, I simply must be stopped.
I must be hunted down, woken up, put to work cutting up a piece of fruit, sat upon or climbed like a tree. It’s just the way of things that I must never be left unattended to enjoy myself.