Can you empathise with the following situations? Here are eight things only parents can understand.
1. Leaving the house is not a walk in the park
Where it was once just about you getting prepped and being on your way, leaving the house is a whole new world with children. With babies, there is the barrage of things you cannot do without (diapers, thermo flask, milk powder, nursing cover, wet wipes etc) not to mention a pram or carrier. For young children, you need ammunition – colouring books, story books, games, etc for whatever event you are on your way to. Prep time to go out is extended as well as travelling time. Most parents will concur that spontaneous outings are not as welcome as planned outings!
2. There is no specific right way of doing things
There can be many resources out there offering solutions to parenting – sleep training, breastfeeding, discipline, feeding, how to attend to your child etc. Once the child is birthed, you will know there is no one school of thought that fits like a glove. Each child and parent are unique and whatever knowledge there is, most have to be modified or adjusted to each individual’s needs and parent-and-child personalities. As such, most parents will understand that there’s no one thing that you can just dish out to another parent. I say “most” because there is regrettably some parents who do think their way is the only way and all other parents are inferior if they do something differently.
3. Increased tolerance to organic mess
Most parents will have no qualms picking up that boogie barehanded or living with drool on their clothes, or swiping that mucus before it falls. These are so basic in the grand scheme of things – think potty training and picking up food bits new and half-chewed under restaurant tables and on chairs.
4. Being on the receiving end of parenting advice
All parents face is parenting advice – solicited or not. This can come from anyone, the cashier, the relatives and even people with no children will feel they are in a qualified position to teach you something you don’t know. Some parents will roll their eyes in their heart. Some are accustomed to just let these in one ear and out the other – after all, these are people who may not really know you enough to say anything – you the parent are the decision maker whether to apply this advice or not. Nevertheless, it is a common thing that all parents face – a barrage of mostly well-intentioned advice that we can’t get out of.
5. Your level of multi-tasking evolves to a higher level
I ever witnessed a petite mother jumping out of a cab, holding a baby and carrying a backpack, and with her single free hand and leg kick open the folded pram contraption. The whole sequence unfolded in a few seconds and she was on her way. It was amazing. Parents feeding themselves and their children almost simultaneously; one hand cutting up food, one leg rocking the pram backwards and forwards to put the kid to sleep; parents backpacking their children and going on road trips….
6. Understand noise differently
This is not to say that as parents we let our children make noise to disturb others, but most parents will agree that there are different types of noise. For young babies, sometimes they babble and for toddlers, at times they may be unaware and some words may come out louder as they try to express themselves. These “noises” are very different from screaming kids tearing down the grocery aisle, or kids throwing tantrum-type of noise. Unfortunately, most parents would probably also have encountered their fair share of non-parents who think kids should be silent and “not be heard” – out of sight and out of mind.
7. Sleep takes on a whole new meaning
A parent of three boys told me she has never really slept properly since her first child was born, and that was about 10 years ago. I was surprised but this was not unbelievable! Every child has different needs at different stages and with a few children (when one is learning to sleep by himself, the younger one would be in the nursing stage) wholesome sleep would be a distant friend. Later, when the older one is at primary school going age, the parent probably would be up at 5am preparing! Especially for parents with newborns, sleep and exhaustion take on whole new meanings in their dictionary.
8. Shopping efficiency doubles up fast
With children, the time parents have is definitely less than pre-baby era. Time is a commodity that is now distributed and usually, you get the “whatever that is left if there is any” portion to yourself. Gone is the time you can make a few trips to look for an outfit that has that vibe going for you or browse at leisure for a certain item. Most parents have adapted to shop really efficiently; you are either less picky about your clothes shopping or you would have done a pre-trip shopping list, make a beeline and purchased it when you had that slot of time.
By Som Yew Ya
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