You might already feel guilty just for getting pregnant if you’re not married and you’ve been brought up by that type of family. Or for ditching your work without an adequate handover when you bugger off for maternity leave (because who cares when your pelvis is falling apart and you can’t pull your pants up properly).
But there’s more, far more. Obviously. Otherwise this post would be really short.
1. The Ever Present Urine
You will rejoice when you get two wee free nights from your toddler in a row.In fact, one night is a cause for celebration. But wee doesn’t only happen in the privacy of their beds. After your sofa has been weed on enough (around 50 times or so), you will stop wiping it up and just let it air dry. You will not tell guests they are sitting on your children’s dried urine (or worse). In three years, you tell yourself, you will just throw out the sofa. The mattress. All sheets and duvets.
You will think your child is abnormally slow in developing bladder control. But you will never be able to show anything but delight when they tell you they have wet their trousers because you have read that shaming or forcing children into bladder control, is abusive.
But when you do get annoyed – which is inevitable – you will be haunted by the guilt of being an abusive parent and overcompensate by being even more ecstatic the next time your child wees themselves.
2. The porridge encrusted furniture
Dried baby porridge is the hardest substance known to man. It will create tiny little sculptures on your table and your furniture and you will not be able to get them off. Other foodstuffs like rice grains, pomegranate seeds and feta cheese will become encrusted in it like rotting jewels. Eventually you will not be sure that these sculptures were not part of the table in the first place. They look like they’ve always been there.
Sometimes you will go under your table to clean, and you will discover a whole new set of sculptures like a secret cave of stalagmites and stalagtites.
After about three years you will throw the table out and replace it with something far cheaper from Ikea. You will stop caring what your home looks like and start thinking in terms of how much damage the furniture can withstand. You will visit other child-free homes and feel guilty that you no longer have any good hygiene standards. Eventually you will proclaim to everyone that dirt is a healthy thing even if you don’t actually believe what you are saying.
3. The clothes you have no recollection of buying
That’s because you probably didn’t. There could be several reasons for this.
They will come home from nursery in other people’s clothes from lost property because they peed or shat themselves so many times that the three pairs of spares, weren’t adequate to cope with the changes required. You will bring these clothes back the first few times, freshly laundered. But they will come home again with alarming regularity until they look so familiar, that you think you might actually have bought them in one of your sleep deprived moments.
Or it could be that these clothes come from the three carrier bags of inherited clothes from your sister’s kids, your neighbours’ kids or that random person in the street who was carrying round her children’s clothes in desperation just in order to palm them off on someone, anyone, with a slightly smaller kid.
Or your kid has discovered that they have the power to dress and undress themselves. More or less at the same time as their friends. As you sit drinking your 7th cup of coffee of the day with a fellow sleep-deprived parent, your children will come out dressed in each others’ clothes. And you don’t care. All clothes are the same. You will add them to the growing collection which you will soon carry around looking to palm off on a complete stranger just because they have a slightly smaller kid than you.
If you cannot palm them off or give them to charity (because they are too stained with porridge, pee or poo) you will eventually throw them away and feel guilty about kids in Africa.
4. The gaping holes in your memory
Because of your tiredness, you will forget stuff. Normally conversations you have with other parents. You will have a vague inklng that you have told the same story to the same people, but you will never really be able to know for sure.
The other parents have forgotten that you told them the same story yesterday. You will lose friends who are not parents because you repeat the same stories over and over.
A lot of the time you will not actually finish these stories, because your child will shout ‘Mummy’ at the top of its lungs on repeat and after saying ‘Not now darling mummy’s talking’ three times, you will give up trying to tell your story. If you are able to resume your story 5 minutes later, you will have forgotten what story it was you were telling and start another story (which you will also not be able to finish).
You will feel guilty for boring people and turning into the really really dull person you swore you wouldn’t be before you had kids.
5. The evolution of your food morals
You will think nothing of eating something off your child’s face – in public – if it is the only way your child can look presentable i.e. if you’ve run out of wet wipes, tissues and muslin cloths because you have had to wipe up so much pee, poo and vomit already that day.
You will stop ordering food for yourself because you know that your child won’t finish any of what (s)he ordered and you will be able to eat it afterwards off their plate. Sometimes that includes chewed and spat out food (which kind of looks the same because you cut everything into miniscule bite size pieces and stirred it around to make it cooler). You will of course eat this cold.
At home, you will in the beginning serve a meal and be hardcore about this being the only thing for dinner. Later on, you will bring out the crackers, ham and cheese with the food, or anything that your child will actually eat instead of the meal you have cooked. In the end you will cook separate meals for every member of your family and keep a lot of leftovers in various tupperware.
Your child will therefore think that it can get away with refusing any and every dish it is served because (s)he can. They will eat with their hands because cutlery is too difficult to master. You will feel guilty about creating a spoilt monster child.
Those EXACT same dishes (s)he hates will be served at your mother in laws house and eaten voraciously. Especially if you have declared beforehand that your child doesn’t like what is being served. So you will get the same recipe that your mother in law cooked and serve it at home where it will end up being refused for something else and eaten by you. You will feel guilty for having the manners of an animal. But if you throw it away you will feel guilty about the children in Africa.
And finally, after all this guilt (when the second child is about 2), you will be so fed up of it that you’ll unapologetically not give a single fuck anymore.