My husband and I often joke that we were much better parents before we had children.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was incredibly idealistic about my anticipated parenthood. The list of “my child will never…” things was long. What I find incredibly amusing now is how many of those things have been done, often without so much as a second glace.
My child will never eat junk food.
My child will eat what we make for dinner, and there won’t be any alternatives.
My garden will never be given over to plastic play equipment.
My child won’t watch (much) tv.
The problem with the “nevers” is that when we say these things before we meet our child – particularly if it’s our first child – is that it is easy to forget some pretty important facts.
- That even as a newborn, a 6 month old, a toddler, this child is a person. With tastes and preferences.
- That at least with some plastic play equipment in it, our garden will be better used than it was before we had a toddler and his stuffed toys running about it. Yesterday my son was taking turns on the (second hand, not even very slippery) slide in the garden with his toys. It was gorgeous to watch.
- That sometimes you’re so tired/frustrated/burned out/whatever, that submitting to the never ending requests to “watch Bing”, “watch diggies” or whatever is the flavour of the month, is just by far the best option for everyone.
- The joy that you can bring a child with a box of chicken nuggets. Seriously. It’s unreal.
- Your two year old might not like the dinner you cook, and to be honest, everyone will get more sleep if he eats something, so a bowl of cereal or some peanut butter on toast is probably for the best.
So, with a little one of nigh on two and a half, where am I? Well, yes. It’s a lot easier to be a good parent when you don’t have a kid, undoubtedly. I’m much more relaxed about things. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. For example, I think we may have gone a bit far the other way with the television (a topic for another post another day).
But our garden really makes me smile, with it’s plastic play equipment, and I’m embracing that. And the chicken nuggets!