If there’s one thing I’ve learned a thing or two about so far, it’s parenting. I’m learning more and more every day. Yet I still find myself day to day in a world where I’m told I know absolutely nothing.

Every day I read an article that contradicts the one I read yesterday. Everyone has an opinion, (and in my mind), the right to not only express it as they see fit, but to parent their children in their own way.

Co-sleep or Don’t-sleep?

Breastfeed in public or hide in the bathroom?

Scream or Cold War Tactics?

Most of us have had moments in parenthood, where we have turned our personal set of “Truths About Parenting” completely around!  So I try not to judge a parent as long as the parent has one or two other qualities along with their own style of parenting. (Ethics, Safety, Sobriety, Consciousness, etc)

Compromise, sometimes even with yourself, is crucial.

So is Honesty. Given a capital “H” in honour of it’s importance in my life and in my home. My kids tell me the truth. The punishment was always more severe for a liar than a confesssor.

The other quality I find necessary is Humour. That one’s a deal breaker for me. If you can’t laugh, I don’t think you ‘get’ life.

With both of those elements in mind, I have put together a few things I have learned along the way.

PRIVACY.

Does not exist. Even when nobody is home.

You are in the house alone, no need to close the door just to pee right? You feel a cool rush of air.

The dog has arrived to watch you pee. It is essential that dogs watch you pee.

PERSONAL PROPERTY.

Want some (any!) product that no one else in the house uses? Exclusively for you?

Yeah, me too….

Beard hairs in my razor. Long dark hairs on my brush. Suspiciously loose moisturiser lids. Content that shrinks overnight.

I give up on ever having anything, not even a food preference, of my very own. I could pick the most obscure food, and here in this kitchen, it would trend faster than Caitlyn Jenner’s gender reassignment!

BOUNDARIES.

Nose picking, scab showing, farting, rapping in the living room, fighting, musical instrument practice, gender shaming, germ spreading, and the un-flushable bathroom bomb.

All the things… You name it? I’ve probably seen it, been asked to squeeze it, or had to deal with it.

CARS AND MONEY.

Kids don’t have cars and money. Parents have cars and money. This requires kids to gain control of cars and money. They do this slowly and very thoughtfully.

You have always encouraged them to EXERCISE and PLAY SPORT….

YOU will be freezing your ass off at Footy all Winter and driving hundreds of kilometres every weekend. (But you will be proud and supportive and the tears will freeze to your face.)

You have always encouraged them to EARN REWARDS and WORK HARD….

YOU will be sitting in a Car Park 4-5 nights a week, for seemingly endless periods of time while “work finishes”.

YOU won’t know they bought a drum-kit with their hard-earned until you hear it for the very first time! But YOU will still be expected to pay for everything they haven’t “budgeted” for.

FAMILY DINNERS.

One of my favorite things to do, I just love to have all the kids home and seated at the table sharing a meal, banter and a laugh.

It’s afterwards that usually has me raising eyebrows around here. All of a sudden the kids (and their partners), entwining legs, fall onto the couch in food coma heaven. Fitty and I stay at the table, or stand awkwardly in the room taking in the bickering, tickle fights and love talk, not to mention the crappy TV shows we’re forced to endure!

THIS is how to behave at Family Dinners!

THIS is how to behave at Family Dinners!

COMMUNITY SHARING.

After an hour of searching for your electric beaters, your 14 year old comes home from the skate park to inform you: “Erin’s mum needed them yesterday.”

You book a movie you’ve been wanting to see for ages. Your house is always empty on Fridays nights. You look forward to getting home and watching the movie, lounge and popcorn all to yourself – you arrive home to half a football team eating sausage-sandwiches in your kitchen.

You are in your backyard, you are ripping into your kids like Satan on a Crack-Binge, and you stop just in time to see your neighbour sneak back inside her back door. Congratulations! Little Sally is not allowed to play at your house anymore.

MOTHER PRE-NUPS.

Whether you’re ready or not, your progeny will grow up and form romantic relationships. It’s important to keep your distance here and not become too involved…

I have had my heart broken a couple of times already. This was an unexpected emotional response for me, and I often wonder if it might be a good idea to draw up a Pre-Nup. To protect myself from getting hurt.

When 3 broke up with The Nut, (nearly two years ago now), I sobbed for 2 whole days. Theirs was not a perfect relationship by any definition of the word, but I loved her, she’d been part of our family for 3 whole years! I had already pictured my Grandkids, (with those huge pink gums, and Chip monk front teeth that were so pretty when she smiled).

Then 6 broke up with Goo-Goo, and my world just fell apart.

I wondered how I would cope later, What if my kids had marital issues? What if they divorce?
Aaaaargh!

I’m actually quite serious about this one, who’d have thought that those little girls would become so precious to me? So much so that I still miss The Nut, and Goo Goo, on an almost daily basis. They spent a fair bit of time here, and now they’re just GONE!

Lucky for me, 5 and The Lovely One are still going strong. They met aged 13 and 14 (respectively) in High School and are still the sweetest couple I know. She’s so good for him, I believe they will be ok because I have to. I cannot even contemplate my son’s future without her…

Miss her.

Miss her. “The Nut” and her gorgeous smile!

Who wouldn't want the undead as a daughter in-law?

Who wouldn’t want the undead as a daughter in-law? Goo-Goo is no longer an option 😦

I wonder sometimes if Fitty and I will be content here once all the children have grown and flown? Child raising began for Fitty and I a quarter century or so ago.That’s a long time to be putting the interests of others before your own. For me, I guess that’s what parenting is all about, you tend to put your own needs last on the list.

Will we spend our Golden Years just trying to fulfill the other’s needs, and neglecting our own?

We’ll probably have to watch “Embarrassing Bodies” for nostalgia… and Soapies for drama, but I reckon we’ll be ok with comedy on our own. He’s a funny fucker that Fitty!

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