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The 10 most unappealing habits I've developed since becoming a parent

January 30th 2015 / Emma Bartley / 2 comments

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Mums and dads used to be normal, civilised people. Now we're a bunch of judgemental, argumentative face-lickers with nothing better to talk about than the contents of our children's nappies

1. Cleaning stuff off faces with spit

You’re either a baby wipe person or a spit person, aren’t you. Personally I like to save myself £0.03 a time and purge my toddler’s face of food/snot/felt-tip pen by licking a muslin and wiping it off. I felt pretty sheepish about this until my friend Lucy told me she just licks her kid’s face. “I’m sure you’re not the only one,” I told her, eyes popping out of my head (see 9).

2. Talking about poo

And genuinely finding it interesting.

3. Nose-picking

I know this is way TMI but I am desperate to hear that I’m not the only one who suddenly finds her nasal cavities as fascinating as the average seven-year-old boy does. It seemed to start while I was breastfeeding - I’d just sit there idly thumbing a nostril. I have no idea why. Boredom? Dehydration? Part of my retreat into an uncivilised, milk cow state now that I’m almost never in polite company? What is wrong with me?

4. Oversharing

I mean, see above, people. See above. There’s something about the whole experience of motherhood that makes you absolutely desperate to tell everyone about it. In excruciating detail, from marital grievances to the fact that you're covered in spew. I think it’s so that you don’t feel so alone, but there’s also a good measure of wanting to have a good old moan. “And by this point we were 92 hours in, the venteuse was doing nothing, the epidural had worn off and the doctor just put his boot up on the bed, grabbed the forceps and…” you can’t blame us.

5. Eating the baby’s leftovers

Including the bits that go on the floor. “You watch someone else do it enough times and you start to think it’s normal,” says my friend Veronica.

6. Thinking bad thoughts about childless friends

I know this couple, we’ll call them Y and Z. They’re younger than my husband and me, and really wealthy, and they have great careers, and go on amazing holidays. We used to see them all the time but now whenever we meet Y gives me these perfectly made-up doe eyes and goes, “We just don’t know if we want kids. It seems like it changes your life so much...” And I go, “No! It doesn’t! Well, yes it does, but mainly in a good way,” when actually I’m like, “F*** YOU, LADY. I have to deal with constant anxiety and exhaustion, keep a child alive, keep my marriage alive, AND try to avoid your pity?” You can try telling childless people the truth, of course, but they will. Not. Get. It.

7. Leaving my keys in the door

Like, twice in the past week. I think it’s because when I’m struggling in the door with the buggy, my whole focus is on the baby not losing a finger in the hinges. I’ve also left my wallet on the wall and some shopping on the step. In control? Not so much.

8. Talking to myself

Anyone else get really excited when they see a dog / a bus / a digger now? Or find themselves humming nursery rhymes in the shower? I know I’m not alone, because of a friend of mine who’s currently getting paid to be on a round-the-world luxury cruise. “Look Max!” he unthinkingly said the other day to his toddler, who is thousands of miles away back in the UK. “A digger!”

Even more frightening is Tim, who says he still walks at a toddler’s pace - even though his “toddler” is in college.

9. Judging other parents

“Everyone’s different, aren’t they? I try not to judge anyone… we’re all just doing the best we can… I know… OH MY GOD DID YOU JUST SEE THAT WOMAN HAND HER BABY A CAN OF COKE?”

10. Blaming everything on my partner

You know how people used to blame everything unpleasant that happened on the devil? Since I became a new mum, I do exactly the same thing except instead of Satan it’s my husband. Baby waking up? He was making too much noise. Running late (probably because I’m so disorganised I can’t even keep track of a set of keys)? He should have packed the nappy bag for me. Rain? Wouldn’t bother me if I could find the rain covers, which he’s obviously hidden somewhere ridiculous like - oh right here in the cupboard where they live.

The irony being that reading back through the rest of this list, you realise the man is a saint not to have divorced me. Thank heavens for "the sake of the children".

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  • Emma Bartley
  • February 1st 2015

Maura, I totally get where you're coming from but I think you've kind of underlined my point. I know that childless people find me pathetic: that's why I avoid them like the plague, preferring to sit around talking about poo and the pointlessness of husbands with other mums.

  • maura sgaramella
  • February 1st 2015

Number 6? Give. Me. A. Break. The biggest change being a mother has made is that you're clearly now in the club where "only other mothers understand my life/stress/drama". Maybe, just maybe those of us who aren't mothers understand what you're life is like and that's PRECISELY why we've chosen not to have children. Boo hoo, the I'm special because I'm pregnant and everybody has to pay attention to me party is over. Boo bla bla bla hoo.

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