Things People Say About Parenthood That Are Blatantly Untrue
People say a lot of things about parenthood. Not all of them, however, are true – and even those that are, aren’t necessarily true for everyone.
Here are 5 things that weren’t true for me…
“I just don’t know what I did with my time before I had kids!”
Really? Because I know exactly what I did. Before Max was born, I read books, did exercise, worked at least 8 hours per day, watched entire TV shows without being interrupted, cleaned my house, washed my hair every day, saw friends, stayed up late as often as I wanted, slept late the next morning, went shopping, read more books, went on days out … just SO many things, most of which I either don’t do at all now, or just don’t do nearly as often or well as I’d like. I’m convinced the people who claim not to know what they did with their time are either lying, or are just doing some weird kind of Smug Martyr act to prove that they’re much, MUCH busier than you, SO THERE.
They know what they did, though. Trust me: they know…
“You just won’t care about the pain / the mess / your appearance / any other aspect of motherhood that kind of sucks, really.”
When people told me I wouldn’t care what I looked like after the baby was born, I just smiled politely, and thought, “You have NO IDEA how vain I am, do you?” Then I double-checked that my makeup was definitely in my hospital bag, because I would 100% be layering on the mascara the second I was out of surgery FOR SURE.
Now, as it happened, I DIDN’T actually put my mascara on in hospital: because I might be vain, but I was also really freaking nauseous, and, OK, yes, you’re right, I did not care about my appearance in that moment, you win. I DID care when I looked back at the photos from that day, though, and I really, REALLY cared for the next couple of weeks, when a steady stream of visitors poured through the house, and there I was, looking a bit like a partially deflated balloon, and wearing a pair of white support socks over my worn out maternity leggings, which were the only things that fit comfortably over my scar.
Some other things I continued to care about after the baby was born, even though people swore I wouldn’t:
01. The constant mess in the house.
02. My favourite clothes getting covered in baby sick.
03. That weird stain on the living room rug, which, what even IS that, and why can’t we get rid of it?
In a development which I’m sure will shock everyone who knows me, then (Note: not really…), having a baby did not turn me into some strange, selfless version of myself, who suddenly stopped caring about all of the things she’d cared about before, having realised that none of them were even half as important as the precious new life she cradled in her arms. I mean, I DID realise that, obviously: but I still wished I’d been wearing something other than white knee socks when every single person I know filed through my living room, and that I had even one photo of me holding Max as a newborn in which I don’t look like I’ve just been exhumed.
I’m not saying I’m currently in a position to actually DO something about any of the things I care about right now, obviously, but I DO still care about them. Don’t be surprised if you do, too…
“Just trust your instincts: it’ll all come naturally!”
Look, you’re talking to the woman whose instincts regularly tell her to cut a fringe into her own hair, here, even thought there’s literally not been one SINGLE time when that’s been anything other than a total disaster for her. You do NOT want me following my instincts, trust me on this.
(Also, while we’re on the subject, I’m not actually sure I HAVE any instincts about … well, ANYTHING, really? Like, I can’t think of ANYTHING that “comes naturally” to me? Other than complaining, I mean: I’m pretty good at THAT. When Max was born, though, I had no sudden rush of maternal knowledge telling me what to do and when. I loved him – and that DID come naturally, so, hey, I guess that’s something! – but I had absolutely NO CLUE what I was supposed to do with him, so when people told me to trust my instincts, I never knew whether to laugh or cry, really. See? NO INSTINCTS. NONE.)
“You’ll get used to it!”
So, it’s been 908 days, and I’m STILL not used to the early starts, or occasional middle-of-the-night interruptions. I guess I AM used to some other aspects of parenthood (Changing nappies, constantly being asked for snacks…), but there are some things you NEVER get used to, and being woken up at the crack o’dawn by someone telling you that elf rescue helicopters have crashed in the garden again is one of those things.
“It gets easier!”
I’m actually cheating slightly with this one, because, the truth is that NO ONE really tells you parenting will get easier. In fact, when I published this post, asking when it WOULD start to get easier, the resounding answer was “NEVER”. NEVER is when it will start to get easier, according to my readers, and every parent I know. So that’s reassuring.
Joking aside, though, I suspect the truth is a bit more complicated than that. There are, of course, some aspects of parenting that have definitely gotten easier with time, while some things have gotten harder. I’m currently working on the assumption that it’s going to continue like this for the rest of my life now, because “You never stop worrying about them!” seems to be one of the things people say that IS true.