Do you remember your life pre-kids? No, I can’t either. But I’m pretty sure it contained a lot more of all time, sleep and money.
Obviously it’s the best job in the world to be a parent, but there are things that are so uniquely pertaining to living with small children that they make me smile (and by smile I mean sob) each time I think about them. From the YouTube earworm nursery rhymes to the fact there’s never enough sleep in the world, I’ll bet you’ll recognise this realness…
1. The Never-Ending Artwork
My kids love creating artwork. That’s amazing: I’ll do anything I can to encourage their creativity, and their drawing, colouring and scissor wielding is wonderful for their fine motor skills (oh yes… I read my child development books/Google).
They create an insane amount of art every single day, art they always want me to put on the wall/fridge/my soul. And sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in bits of glitter-splattered craft paper.
I’ve worked out they probably generate around three pieces of A4 artwork a day each, plus additional 3D creations at school and the art club I take them to at David Lloyd. This has been going on since they were about three years old.
Hux is now five and Elfie is 7, which means they’ve been Art-ing for two and a half and four and a half years respectively. Ergo, Hux has been creating art now for 912 days, and Elfie 1,642, meaning between them they’ve generated around 15,324 beautiful pieces of artwork in their lifetimes. Phew.
That’s a lot of Art. Unless you’re, like, Picasso or Monet and can sell it for millions of pounds (spoiler: they’re not).
Because they always beg to keep their creations, I have 15,324 pieces of artwork strewn around the house. It’s on shelves next to portraits, in boxes in the study, in drawers in the kitchen. We are literally covered in artwork.
And I still refuse to get rid of any of it, obviously.
2. Johnny Johnny Yes Papa
Seriously, where did Johnny Johnny Yes Papa on YouTube even come from? What does it mean? Is the only message to not eat sugar? If so, why do my kids still gorge themselves on Dairy Milk after listening to it? I don’t get it, other than to be hugely irritated by how much of an earworm this is.
See also: Daddy Finger Daddy Finger. So weird. So almost-not appropriate. So highly annoying after listening 18 times.
See also: YouTube unboxing videos. I used to let my kids watch these videos until every time they opened a bag or a box at home their immediate automatic reaction was – in an American accent – AWWWW, THAT’S SO CUUUUUTE! Er, no likey.
Now my kids are that little bit older we’ve graduated from watching unboxing videos to filming their own on their Amazon Fire tablets. It was sweet to witness until I realised just how much they’d been indoctrinated by the internet. That’s Generation Z for you.
4. Snot Sucking
It still blows my mind that I love my kids enough that once I sucked snot from their noses: I’m not sure I’d even do that for myself.
For any expectant parents reading this, it will happen, you’ll get there. You’ll be inhaling bogies out of your children before yo know it, and you’ll be finding toddler poo under your fingernails, too. AND YOU WON’T EVEN FLINCH. It’s why I have so much lovely handwash in my house.
5. The Cereal Dinners
Do you know why this blog is called More Than Toast? It’s not just because I have spent the last seven years incredibly sleep deprived and so just tend to lump words together and hope something sticks (though it’s a little bit that…).
No, it’s because when I started this blog 8 years ago my biggest dream was to eat food that didn’t come on toast. I had the mushrooms, I had the eggs, I had the beans, I had the cheese. Literally all of my meals came atop a slice of bread or in cereal form – it’s just easier that way – and I still eat Shreddies for dinner at least once a month. No shame.
6. The Mum Uniform
Before I had kids I used to wear all kinds of interesting dry clean-only fabrics: vintage silk finds were my jam. These days It’s cotton, preferably with a bit of stretch to it, and denim. Wool if I’m feeling fancy, but probably not because I’ve shrunk two wool jumpers already this season (entirely through the fug of washing while sleep deprived, dangerous) and that’s the reason I’m not allowed nice things.
If you’re a mum you’ll soon find your uniform. In the early days mine, along with about 70% of the other mums I know, consisted of a breton stripe, a leopard print and a ~funky~ pair of trainers.
You basically just need to re-vamp your wardrobe to find clothes that allow for your mum tum, will all go well together and can confidently hide an errant baby sick stain. Simples.
7. The Extreme Sleep Deprivation
Correct washing cycles aside, the amount of things you can achieve when you’re operating on just a couple of broken hours of sleep a night is really quite impressive.
The extreme sleep deprivation has been the absolute realest part of motherhood for me and sometimes I thought it would send me really quite mad. All I can say is listen to your body and do what it tells you: my rug rats are both at school but I still nap on the regular (sometimes the nights are like a game of musical beds over here) and I grab any offer of impromptu babysitting with both hands, using the time to get my rest in.
No matter how the rest of my child-rearing life goes, sleep is always KING.