It’s easy to judge when you’re not the one trying to function on two hours sleep, with poop on your forehead, spit-up down your bra and a small child tugging at your rear.
I was the greatest mother to grace this fair earth, until I became one. My family was going to make the von Trapps look like ruffians from the ghetto. We’d while away leisurely evenings with needlepoint, decoupage and The Times crossword puzzle.
My kids would be different. Good different. Better than all those who came before them. They’d respect their elders, eat their greens, do their homework, carry out chores, tidy up after themselves and whimsically skip off to bed each night to the tune of “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night”.
Angelina Jolie Pitt would call me for pointers.
Being a mother is easy, I thought. Dress like a badass bespectacled Mary Poppins and when boundaries are tested – implement the naughty step. Parenting 101: Nailed. Praise be to Supernanny.
If only life were that simple.
And so, you see, I really need to punch that person in the face. The one who had the time and energy to tend to her eyebrows, lower legs and upper lip. The girl who thought anything less than perfect was not good enough. The clueless condescending bint who came out with the following glittering piles of excrement, long before bringing a little person into the world via her vagina. The ignoramus, I like to call pre-mama me:
“It’s simple. Just reason with the boy and he’ll do as he’s told”.
Truth be told, you’ll get more joy reasoning with a pineapple than a toddler.
“I’m all for breastfeeding, but you’d think she’d have some decorum. I mean, how hard is it to cover up?”
Like nailing jelly to a walrus through the eye of a needle hard.
Babies don’t like being covered. Try drinking with a towel on your head and see how you feel.
“That devil child is out of control and her mother doesn’t even give a damn”.
Okay Goody-Goody von Holier-than-thou Judgey Knickers, let’s get a few things straight: Do not judge the mother with a toddler sized shoeprint on her forehead and do not judge the child who put it there. That child is not the antichrist. That child is two. And his mother is trying her very best to avoid having a Britney style – head-shaving, umbrella-wielding breakdown in the middle of aisle thirteen.
“Nothing coated in breadcrumbs shall ever pass my child’s lips”.
No youngster ever died at the hands of a chicken goujon. You have to let the small things go.
“We didn’t have stair gates in my day. It’s health and safety gone mad! I mean – how hard is it to watch a tot?”
I blinked once and found my son attempting a headstand at the top of the stairs. So I’m going to say (unless you can refrain from blinking for a year or three) damn hard.
“Oh. My. God. Every time he cries, she picks him up. Just let him cry!”
Okay, so imagine someone’s scraping their fingernails across a blackboard. Only they’re not fingernails, they’re carbon-steel nails. And it’s not a blackboard – it’s your heart…
That’s kind of what it feels like when your child is in distress.
Now tell me one more time to just let my son cry.
I dare you.
“She’s always complaining about being tired – just because she’s got kids. Like no one in the world has ever been tired before. I’m tired. I had, like six hours sleep last night after my doner kebab”.
Unless your doner kebab wouldn’t settle due to teething and wanted breastfeeding every other hour through the night, it’s really not the same.
“Why do I keep seeing babies cramming crackers and cheese puffs down their throats? What’s wrong with a bit of fruit?”
Fruit is wonderful when served to a self-cleaning baby, on a thoroughly antibac’d surface, in the safety of your own home, with protective clothing and a splash guard.
Should you wish to feed your small child fruit when out and about – I recommend you also hire a goat.