I have just spent the evening pampering myself. PB is a parent off duty and is out with some friends on a leaving do and, after an uncharacteristically fuss free bedtime for both the babes, I found myself daring to actually contemplate having a long soak in the bath and when that went unhindered I decided to go even further and apply a face mask. It was one of those jelly ones in the shape of an actual mask that you slap on your face and will it to erase all the sleepless nights and non stop days of parenthood. It was quite nice actually, shall endeavour to review it soon for anyone who may want to know more.
Anyway, I digress. I was sitting in my self indulgent bath time, marvelling at how I had actually managed to achieve such a relaxing bit of time. And it struck me how funny it is that after one becomes a parent, one views little things with huge appreciation. More so than before parenthood descended. I mean, I felt triumphant in that bath tub! Winning at life! How ludicrous?! And it got me thinking about all the other little triumphs we congratulate ourselves on…
Here Are My Top Ten Triumphs As A Parent
1) Getting to drink a hot drink that is actually hot.
The amount of half drunk or even untouched hot drinks that sit abandoned on worktops and on the floor next to the sofas is phenomenal. You pop the kettle on in the vain hope that by the time it boils and produces a beverage, you will still have a small window of time in which to consume it. If it happens and you DO get to drink a hot cuppa, it warms the heart as well as the tummy!
2) Wearing clothes that don’t have puke/food/crap/snot on them.
Rarely, almost ever, do I wear an outfit that doesn’t have some form of stain present on it. I change my clothes every day and they are freshly washed (more about that next) but they literally last a matter of mere minutes before something ends up coming into contact with them. Usually it’s baby puke. Followed by a tiny little hand of a toddler that is caked in peanut butter or weetabix or something sticky and claggy like that. Occasionally it is even from myself because I shall either laugh, cough or sneeze and end up wetting myself or I will hear the baby cry or think how lovely something is and my boobs take it upon themselves to turn on the tap leaving me with two wet circular patches on my front.
2 i) Remembering to put on breast pads is also a mini achievement for us Mums.
3) Reaching the bottom of the Laundry basket.
The first time this happened, I felt so smug. I walked out of my kitchen with a swagger, did a lap of the living room to work off the adrenalin pumping through my veins and hi fived the cat. Then I went upstairs and found a whole other load and have never felt so pissed off in my life. The sheer amount of laundry that we produce is phenomenal. Considering kids clothes are so small, it is mind boggling that they still fill and overflow out of the basket every day. I feel sorry for our washing machine and thank it daily… hourly if we have the dreaded sickness bug. Poor thing.. it really does work hard.
4) Surviving Soft Play
Whenever I leave a soft play, I feel so proud of myself. To navigate oneself safely around the minefield of parental politics, the constant threat of either your child being hurt or them hurting someone else as well as the sheer yucky factor of having to get through plastic covered slaloms is always a massive achievement… especially if it something tackled during a rainy day on a summer holiday. I reckon they should hand out little medals for us parents as we leave with our cranky and worn out offspring. Bear Grylls would have a hard time getting through a soft play session on a wet Wednesday in August. We manage it weekly!ha!
5) Managing a toddler tantrum.
Shit happens. Toddlers are like ticking time bombs and it can be the most random thing that will cause them to detonate. We all have ways of dealing with them, there are a plethora of suggestions, approaches and tactics. Whatever you see fit as being your way of handling one, the sheer glory of getting past a tantrum and having your kid return back to ‘normal’ is always such a great feeling. As is relief. The two go hand in hand in this case.
6) A fuss free bath and bed time.
Myself and PB are like ducks at bath time. Calm and together on the surface, but paddling like mad underneath. We smile, chat, sing, play and sometimes even dance our way through bath time (like some kind of very weird variety performance for the two princes of our lives) and then we pop them down to sleep and hope for the best. Sometimes they both fight their sleep. We have had times where it felt like we would forever be facing non stop tears and screaming in protest for hours on end at bed time and had our evenings aka together time swallowed up with taking it in turns to trudge up and down the stairs to cajole them into slumber. As a result, if we have an evening where they go down with a yawn and are asleep within minutes, then we both hug each other with delight and spend the evening feeling very triumphant.
7) Getting your kid to eat something other than junk.
I never considered that kids could be so fussy about food. Then I had some and it is a bloody nightmare half the time! Fads galore! They can sniff out a vegetable from a mile away and if they so much as hear the crinkle of a biscuit packet or a bag of chocolate buttons then it’s game over. Teddy randomly took a chunk of banana off of my breakfast plate the other morning and ate it without a moment of hesitation. I was so excited and shocked that I involuntarily let out what I can only describe as some sort of squeak. At which point I had to then act as if everything was business as usual because if I made a fuss it would have had the banana launched back at me. So I did the only thing I could think of to do. I Whatsapped PB at work stating ‘Teddy just stole my banana…. WTF?!’. Another day, another triumph.
8) Having ‘A Productive Day’
I see this everywhere on my social media feed. ‘Such a Productive Day!’, ‘We have had SUCH A PRODUCTIVE DAY!’. I have a theory that the reason we, as parents, have to shout out about being productive, is that it is such a triumph to reach the end of the day and have actually managed to DO something! I sometimes lose entire mornings and early afternoons to just getting up, feeding us all (including the cats!) and then getting us all washed dressed and prepped to leave the house. And said lengthy process can be so all encompassing and draining that all one can do once it is achieved is drive to the nearest park for 20 minutes before leaving to come back and face the dinner, bath and bed time shift. So, if it so happens that we are all out of the house by 10am and manage to wade through the to do list and still have time for a brief visit to somewhere all in one day, then it definitely deserves to be sung about from the rafters.
9) Getting through a food shop
I know I can shop online. If I was as organised as I strive to be, I would be the one who has the 8am delivery slot for the next day and have a full fridge and cupboards by lunchtime. But, dear readers, I am always the one that impersonates Old Mother Hubboard (truth be told, more like her dog with a bone nowadays) and whenever I go to order online I have to click and collect or wait 3 days. So, off to the supermarket I go, armed with my list and a double trolley and I throw myself down at the feet of the Asda Gods and will us all to get through in one piece. Each time that we do, I heave a sigh of relief once the car boot is shut and wind the windows down so I can feel the breeze in my hair as we head homeward (see… just like a dog). The threat of a toddler melt down, a poop filled nappy and possible shop lifting when your beloved infant chooses to add things to the shop when your back is turned is all too palpable. And there are a lot of cranky people with trolley rage that may wish to cause you harm… especially to the backs of your ankles as they ram raid you to make you move quicker past the chicken dippers!
10) Having your children sleep in the car
Not always. Sometimes it’s a danger nap that you know you will pay for later on at bedtime. But, for the most part, if I am driving somewhere I look forward to it because I know that the toddler will be occupied whilst looking out of the window and the baby will be lulled to sleep by the engine. It leaves me free to think with all of my brain’s capacity (what’s left of it after years of sleep deprivation) and it is another breather during the never ending swim-a-thon that is parenting life.