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Emily Writes: Don’t Be Smug

This is a cautionary tale. Learn from my mistakes. There is a rule in parenting – never, ever be smug. I’m here to tell you why.
Smug Mom

You can’t ever clock parenting. It’s not a game where you get to each level and then you win. It’s not a race where there’s a finishing line and a podium. There’s no award ceremony, not even a certificate of participation (ok maybe your kid is that!)

My point is that you can have wins along the way but parenting is designed to get you just when you think you’ve mastered one aspect of it.

Case in point: Me and my smugness.

Here is an incomplete list of times I have been a smug dickhead:

CLINGY BABIES

My sister was the first person close to me to become a mum and the first person I got to see actually parent. She is an AMAZING mum and is my mumspiration if I was an awful person who says things like mumspiration (which sounds like a deodorant for busy mums).

When she visited me and my brand new baby with her eight month old (her second baby) I remember thinking – “gosh, he (my nephew) is clingy!” And you know, that’s fine to think but I then thought (in my stupid I totally know heaps about kids because I gave birth yesterday kind of way) “Well, I’m going to make sure I don’t have a clingy baby. I’m not going to take them everywhere with me. If my baby cries while I’m in the shower, too bad. You need to foster independence! You’re the boss! You just say – no kid, I’m going to the other room and you just need to learn to enjoy your own company”.

SUCH A DICK. And apologies to my sister, but also she won’t mind me saying this because she knows better than anyone that I was a smug dick.

My first baby wasn’t clingy. Do you know why? Because he wasn’t. That’s it. Nothing I did made him not clingy. He was just not clingy. End of story.

My second baby looks at me like he would like to live in my uterus again. He eyes me like I’m a Big Mac and he hasn’t eaten in six weeks. When I leave his line of vision (not even the room) he screams as if he’s being waterboarded. He is most comfortable when he is clinging to me like a koala on a tree in a flash flood. Once, my husband held him in front of me while I peed. Just so he wouldn’t cry. He watches me in the shower OK? You cannot foster independence in a baby that protests with more gusto and enthusiasm than a career anarchist at a TPPA rally (topical!) every time you try to put them down. I’m not the boss. He can’t talk but I swear he told me that it will be a cold day in Hell before he enjoys his own company.

I did nothing differently with the two kids. I now know there are clingy kids and not clingy kids. I also know that I knew nothing.

1) FUSSY EATING

I am not the only dick who said that I wouldn’t allow my kids to be fussy eaters. HAHAHAHA allow? Oh please. When you’re actually parenting (as in PARENTING not waxing lyrical on Twitter while you sip lattes and imagine what it will be like if one day you have kids) you realise there’s no quick fix to eating when it comes to kids. I have one child who hoovers everything to the point where I can’t put food on a serviette or a paper plate because he’ll eat that too, and I have another one who eats luncheon. And. That’s. It.

Don’t say – “They’re not going to starve themselves” or “Just force them to eat what’s on their plate” or crap on about parents being the reason why kids are like that. I know you think you’ll be different, but guess what – you won’t be.

2) SIBLING RIVALRY

Watching my big boy dote on his baby brother was one of my favourite things to do. They just adored each other. My oldest wanted to help with everything. He kissed his baby brother on the forehead. Breathlessly told him he loved him all the time. He was gentle and caring. He raced into our bedroom every morning to see his brother. Every time the baby heard his big brother’s voice his eyes lit up. His first smile was for his brother.

I am such a great parent, I thought. Really, these people whose kids fight like cats and dogs? They just need to be doing what I’m doing! I give attention to both children! I encourage them in building their bond! I nurture a great relationship between them! That’s what you need to do.

I AM A DICK.

I WAS A DICK.

I know better now. When the baby started crawling things changed overnight. DON TOUCH MY FINGS! HE TOUCH MY FINGS! HE TOUCH MY TEDDY! STOP HIM! HE TOUCH MY KITCHEN! GET HIM AWAY! I DON WAN HIM IN MY ROOM! NO BABY! NO! GO AWAY! STOP DAT! MAAAAAAMA! STOP HIM. NOW! GO AWAY! HAERE ATU! (He even yells at him in te reo).

This is my life now. Of course he liked his brother when he was a baby. HE DIDN’T MOVE.

So that’s just three times when I was smug when I shouldn’t have been smug. Three out of maybe a trillion times. Now I know, when I start thinking I have got something sussed I stop myself…

I know what’s coming!

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Emily Writes: Touched out

It’s lovely to always have someone to cuddle but when I just want to pee and I have two little beings gazing up at me with a look like they’d like to climb into my stomach and just sit there – it’s full on to say the least.