Before becoming a mum I knew things were going to be difficult at times. I was prepared for sleepless nights, I was prepared for illness and I was prepared for toddler tantrums – ok, maybe not how irrational they would be, but prepared nonetheless. However what I was not prepared for was that some of life’s simple everyday tasks would suddenly be major ordeals. Here are five basic jobs that morphed into almost-insurmountable dramas after I had a child.
Filling up my car with petrol
Easy pre-children. Massive pain in the butt post-children. Unfortunately it doesn’t really occur to you that this is a new-found issue until you’re almost on empty. Then the conundrum presents itself – you suddenly realise that you have your teeny tiny sleeping newborn strapped in their car seat and the petrol light has come on. Pop quiz – what do you do?
- Drive to nearest petrol station, confidently fill up your car, go in and pay, all the while leaving your baby fast asleep. Simple. Not. This is highly unlikely for SO many reasons that I won’t go into in detail but could possibly involve one or more of the following – hormones, sleeplessness, an irrational fear of your car bursting into flames or your baby being stolen, a rational fear of being judged or just a general loss of confidence after having a baby.
- Drive around the entire Hills District in search of a petrol station that has pay at the pump. Note, there are very few!
- Call husband in tears and demand he comes home from work to fill up the car.
- a combination of all of the above.
Whatever you do, don’t turn to the Hills District Mums Facebook group for advice on what you should have done. Petrol station posts never end well!
Taking a shower
This is particularly difficult when your baby drops their morning sleep and is finally moving. There’s no need to buy and use one of those water-saving timers in my house – I have to be in and out of the shower quicker than I can turn the timer upside down. And if I’m not out fast enough, usually one or both of them are trying to get in. If I’m lucky I get an entire episode of Peppa Pig to shower, dress and prep myself, and the duration of Ben and Holly is total luxury. There have been endless occasions when only one leg has been shaved due to an emergency sprint from the bathroom in response to a chorus of howls.
Driving a car
I’ve never really been into those ‘child on board’ signs that people put on their car. I always drive carefully and seeing a ‘child on board’ sign doesn’t make me drive any more carefully. However, post kids I have a new appreciation. I see one of those signs and think, ‘Give that car a wide berth, there is likely to be some kind of mad chaos going on in there and that parent is requiring some super human power to concentrate on driving while wrangling one or more monkeys. And if it’s a 7 seater, it’s probably safer to pull over and let them pass.
Usually a car trip involves an exchange of food, a lot of whining and/or fighting and a baby who is screaming blue murder. Getting a clan from one place to another safely is nothing short of a miracle and parents deserve a medal for it every time.
Convincing little people to eat food
I went to the ‘introducing solids’ talk when my first child was three months old and they made it all sound so easy. I mean, it’s food right? How hard could it be to get someone to eat something? They explained that your child would display certain signs that would indicate they were ready to commence consuming the delicious, home-cooked, organic, nutritious food that you lovingly made for them. My first was eating paper catalogues – surely this was a sign. This was the start of many frustrating months and a reality check on feeding babies and children.
Let’s just summarise the key hurdles – mouth wouldn’t open, constipation, gut issues, a complete distaste for whatever I made, a lot of mess, an acceptance of packet food finally and a happy if somewhat defeated mum. I’m lucky, both my girls are pretty good eaters now but I can’t tell you how many home-cooked meals that have taken me hours to make have ended up in the bin. No wonder mums are renowned for having their first wine at 5pm.
Playgrounds (particularly the indoor kind)
Pre-kids I would look at those play areas in pubs and imagine myself calmly allowing my children to run off and have fun while I relaxed with a coffee and/or wine. The reality is that I’m actually a bit of a helicopter mum and never realised that most of this equipment is built in a way that children disappear into it, never to be seen again. Your wine-sipping is rudely interrupted when you hear your child’s shrieks because they’re now stuck in the part of the structure that seems about 8 stories up. It’s easier to just open a bottle of wine at home.
What everyday task have you realised is WAY harder to do now that you’re a mum?