Sometimes it takes one to know one. As a parent, you will understand and most likely have been in the centre of all of these situations at some point!
We are all guilty of doing this.
Before we become parents ourselves, it’s hard to really empathise what parents go through and understand what challenges they might be facing when taking care of their baby. However, that doesn’t stop us from quickly judging them and completely disapproving of their parenting style, smugly telling ourselves that we would have done it better if we were the parent in this situation.
And then…. That day finally does arrive, when we are the parent, tearing our hair out, miserably failing to control our child in public. And then it dawns on us, that maybe there is more to parenting that just what meets the eye. And that perhaps we should have been more sympathetic and understanding than critical all those years ago.
Perhaps this is the biggest lesson of all but here are 5 more situations that you will only understand once you become a parent.
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- Empathising with parents on a plane
Chances are that every flight that you have been on (especially a red-eye), has had at least one baby who cried throughout the entire flight and would just not stop for anything. The poor mum was on the verge of tears from joint frustration and embarrassment, but there was really nothing that she could do to soothe the baby. Blame it on air pressure, but the baby just wouldn’t stop crying and screaming. And now that you’ve had exactly the same thing happen to you, you understand what that parent had gone through when all you did was just shake your head and wonder why people have kids when they don’t know the first thing about looking after them!
Lesson learnt? You never know the whole story and a child can and will cry when they want to for as long as they want to, and always on a plane.
- Your social circle starts to change
It really is true. Once you have children, your friends start to change and you naturally start to gravitate to other parents going through the same stages as you. Friends from your earlier life when you were single or happily married without children no longer match your schedule, which revolves entirely around your baby (no, you can’t be at the club till 2am anymore and can’t meet for drinks at 7pm either). So you end up spending time with the people you arrange play dates with, or who have kids of their own and can help babysit yours while you run errands. On some days, the most social you’ll be is with your mobile by taking an oh-so-cute selfie.
Lesson learnt? Life will never be the same again. But, it isn’t a bad thing.
- Your house is not good enough for parties anymore
You’ve always been the perfect hostess, always able to throw the best parties, formal or last minute informal bashes and the house has always been immaculate and elegant on every occasion. But now that you are a parent, you’ve finally resigned to the fact that for a certain period of time (think till the baby is at least 3 years old), your precious home will look like a school playground – there are things everywhere! Toys are strewn about, there is the odd scribbling on the table or wall, you suddenly seem to have more baby food in the house than real food, and you just don’t have the time or energy to make your pad look spic and span. You never thought it would happen to you, because organisation and time management were your best skills. And yet now, you walk around the house sleep-deprived and throwing a party is the last thing on your mind. You’d happily swap a potential hangover for four more hours of precious sleep.
Lesson learnt? There is more to life than a tidy house.
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- Say goodbye to privacy and me-time
Till now you’ve just rolled your eyes when your girlfriend tells you that she literally has to hide in the bathroom for a minute’s peace and quiet. It’s true. Once you become a mom, there is no such thing as privacy anymore, especially if you’re in the toilet and haven’t locked the door. In fact, that’s the time when your child senses it’s more appropriate to just stand there and chat! Kids will follow you everywhere, whether they’re crawling on all fours or are on their feet. But a few years later, you too find yourself using the bathroom as your sanctuary for quality me-time, refuge and sanity. Did we mention it’s probably also the only place in the house where you can be on your phone for a few minutes without being interrupted?
Lesson learnt? Privacy is overrated!
- Hot food? What’s that?
How long does it take to have a hot meal or a quick cup of tea of coffee? Turns out, when you have the time, it doesn’t take long. But when you have kids, carving out even 15 minutes from the day for yourself can seem like an impossible task. There are just not enough hours in the day, you are busy all day and yet when you look back at the end of the day, you’ve barely done anything more than survive the day. As a parent, you honestly can’t remember the last time you sat down to a hot meal or with a hot cup of coffee and actually finished it while it was still hot. Of course you’re probably eating the leftovers off your toddler’s plate to begin with, and can’t be bothered to heat it up again. Or you just sat down to a fresh, hot meal, when the baby started crying and needed to be changed…
Lesson learnt? Murphy’s Law – it states that there will be always something in the way of you relaxing! Get used to it.
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Written for Parents World by Priyanka Elhence. Priyanka is a busy mom of 9 yr old twin boys. She writes on anything from lifestyle and dining to parenting and celebrity profiles.