My children have taught me so much. They’ve taught me such wonderful things – the joys of being a mummy and about unconditional love. And then they’ve taught me the other things, the things that I was totally unprepared for, the things that nobody ever tells you before you become a Mum Of Many…..
1. You will never have enough hands.
It’s just a fundamental fact that regardless of how amazing you are as a parent or how well behaved your children are, you just won’t ever have enough hands. I’m lucky that my eldest is eleven and the thought of holding my hand in public brings him out in a hot sweat but that still leaves three. And when I’m holding The One Who Can’t Walk in one arm and The One Who Runs Away in another then how am I going to hold The One Who Just Wants To Hold Mummy’s Hand as well??
2. You will never be on time for anything else again. Ever.
And this is the story of our lives. Even when we set the alarm an hour early, when we have prepared the baby bag the night before, laid out the clothes and planned the route….we will always be late. There will always be an emergency nappy situation (Megan), a vomiting down clean clothes crisis (Harry), a melt down over “I want to wear my dancing shoes!!!”, (Eva) a forgotten book/lunch bag/coat (Lewis). And you shall spend your whole life apologising for being late.
3. You will do just about anything for five minutes peace and quiet.
That includes sticking on the Frozen DVD for the five billionth time, throwing them a bag of wotsits despite the fact that they didn’t eat their dinner, giving them free reign of the remote control/mobile phone/car keys. You’ll bribe them with chocolate, with sweets, with the promise of toys. You’ll find yourself threatening them with “Father Christmas is watching”….in August, you’ll feign sleep, illness, insanity. You’ll argue with your husband over who’s turn it is to do the big shop, because you know that it guarantees you AT LEAST forty minutes of child free time, maybe even fifty if you claim heavy traffic.
4. The laundry becomes a full time job in itself.
For someone so small, a baby can produce a mountain of washing. Times that by four and you’re looking at your very own Everest. There will be days when you have to re-wash a load three times over after its been sat there over night going mouldy, when you shove it all in the dryer on a summers day as you can’t face the mammoth task of pegging out again and ironing is strictly limited to weddings and funerals. You’ll go from dressing your child in several pristine outfits a day to literally only changing their clothes when they are visibly dirty and even then you’ll find yourself scrubbing away at a dirty mark with a wet wipe.
5. You will repeatedly call your child the wrong name.
More than once I have found myself googling the signs of early onset dementia due to my inability to get the children’s names right. Some days I can go through all four before I get the right name before realising that addressing them all as “babe” is the easiest option.
6. You develop an irrational hatred of other people who claim to be tired.
Friends without children who claim to be tired? Strike them off the Christmas card list, which by the way, you will NEVER have time to write!! The argument for being the most tired is not strictly limited for your spouse, you will find yourself arguing it with just about anyone and you will win. Every. Single. Time.
7. You can kiss goodbye to your social life.
Even if by some miracle you’ve been lucky enough to get a baby sitter for four children? By the time you’ve packed up the travel cot, the steriliser, the bottles, the nappies, sorted their over night clothes/clothes for the next day/spare clothes incase of ‘nappy emergencies’, favourite toys, somehow found a way to cram it all in the boot, loaded the kids into their car seats and deposited them at their grandparents, by that point you’re in desperate need of a lie down and a night out is pretty much the last thing on your mind!!
8. Being house proud is not an option.
No matter how many hours you spend scrubbing and cleaning your house, you can guarantee that within minutes all of your hard work will be destroyed. Cream carpets will become baby magnets for vomit, chocolate, juice spillages. Your gloss kitchen cabinets will be crying out for dirty, sticky handprints to undo the hour you spent buffering them. There will be spillages, splatters and breakages and you will spend a large portion of each day on your hands and knees wiping, scrubbing and sweeping up the results of it. My biggest advice? Antibacterial spray. Seriously, spray that stuff everywhere!!!
9. You must develop the patience of a Ninth Degree Black Belt Zen Master.
And with two of them screaming down your ears ,one pulling at your hair and the other biting your leg? That one is a necessity, not a requirement.
10. The doctors surgery shall become your second home.
Forget coughs, colds and sickness bugs, there is a whole host of childhood ailments that you’ve never even heard of until you have a child!! And if it’s going round you can guarantee that my children will get it. And if one gets it? They all get it. You hear parents joke about being on first name terms with the doctors receptionist? I really am. Her name’s Vanessa. I’m actually considering putting her on my Christmas card list. The one I will NEVER have the time to write!!!