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10 Parenting Rules – and I broke them all

cosleeping with my firstborn


I was one self-righteous, know-it-all bitch Before Children [BC]. It’s true. I knew it ALL. Anything wrong with a kid? It’s their mum’s fault. Sometimes their dad’s. But mainly mum… because she CHOSE the dad after all. In my, far from humble, opinion parents were entirely responsible for everything their kids did, thought, said and broke.

And I knew WHY. Those parents didn’t FOLLOW THE RULES. There are rules in parenting that will guarantee a perfect child. Simple rules that I would often remind parents, even when they hadn’t asked, to help them. To guide them. To fix their brat.

Rules I swore to myself I would uphold. As the perfect parent embarking on raising the perfect child. *Insert wild, unhinged laughter here.

#1 – I will not use a dummy

It took me less than a week to let go of that one. Oh sweet, sweet dummy. How I loved the feel of you in my hand as I groped in the bassinet next to the bed under the blanket of darkness in the dead of the night to plug the screaming hole of my first born son. I brought a packet of them to hospital when my second son was born. I BEGGED him to take it. I tried every shape and size, even coating them in breast milk to TRICK HIM INTO SUCKING IT. Be careful what you wish you for. Turns out with number two I WAS the dummy. Take that you pious bitch.

#2 – My child will never sleep in the same bed as me

It’s the second night of my life as a new mum and the midwife offers to take my screaming newborn to the nursery with all the other babies so I can get some sleep. ‘Ok’ I said as I watched her wheel him out of my room, ripping my heart out as she did. He was gone 15 minutes before I went to get him. This is how Mark found me when he got to the hospital in the morning. I promised myself it was just to get us through that one night.

Ahem. You know that feeling when you haven’t slept for 3 months and you’ve got up so many times in the night that you can’t remember putting the baby back to bed… where is the baby?? Did I feed him last time or just change his nappy? Did I feed on both boobs, or the same one twice? Why is he crying? Shhhhhh… rock, rock…. shhhhhhh… rock, rock…. shhhhhh rock, rock. Oh forget it, just lay next to me. THAT was how I broke rule #2 at home. And how, 8 years later, I simply just move over when I hear the sound of my 5 year old’s bare feet padding down the hall to my room in the middle of the night. He’s warm and cuddly. It gets a bit crowded when the 8 year old joins us every now and then, but I don’t turn him away either. Still feeling smug Tan?

#3 – I will not ‘pick my battles’. Every battle is worth it… and they need to learn that I’m the boss

Aahahahahahahaha. Ow, my sides are splitting. Dear BC TAN. You were an idiot. There are sooo many battles that have never been fought, won or lost here. Yes, you can wear your swim rashy on top of your jumper because it matches your rubber boots to the shop. Why not? Yes, you can take every teddy bear you own to bed because they will be sad without you tonight. Of course. No, you don’t have to eat the toast that I accidentally cut into triangles instead of squares. I understand it doesn’t taste the same. Just don’t cross me at bed time. That’s not negotiable. Most of the time.

#4 – I will not use food as currency to bribe my child

Well… what kind of values does that teach? I never understood the power of a promised [insert biscuit/yoghurt squeezy/ice-block/cupcake/smiley-face biscuit here] to ‘encourage’ a wilful kid to do just about anything really. Parenting Tip: carrying around any number of those bribes in your oversized handbag can make or break a public outing.

#5 – I will only feed my child organic, additive-free food

What?? Best intentions and all that…. My kids actually eat well. I’ve been pretty good at keeping their diet healthy. Additive-free is a stretch though and only organic? I’d have to take out a second mortgage to pull that one off. I have fed them McDonalds too. Oh the shame….

#6 – I will limit my child’s television viewing to no more than 30 mins per day

Oh don’t look at me like that. How was I to know that I would do anything to have an uninterrupted telephone conversation or cook dinner without tiny ‘helping’ hands or do a poo on my own or just sit and be quiet?? And with the new ABC stations there’s ALL DAY kids shows WITHOUT COMMERCIALS. The cheapest babysitting you’ll ever find. And you get to have a perve-fest on Sportacus. Eye candy eating sports candy… hmmmmm.

#7 – I will not ‘give in’ to my child’s constant nagging for something at the supermarket cash register

Unless I’m on my own with the kids and everyone looking has a grimace/scowl/frown/look of pain or pity on their faces. Oh wait. That’s every time.

#8 – My house will always be spotless… because that’s all I have to do. Look after my child and clean my house. Easy.

Yes, I’m shaking my head in disbelief too. One time while the tv was babysitting so I could enjoy one of my uninterrupted phone conversations, my, single, super-neat friend said to me “I spent all morning cleaning and my floors are so spotless you could eat off them” I looked around in despair and replied “You could eat off mine too… ‘cause that’s where all the fucking food is”

#9 – I will never yell at my child. Yelling is just a loss of control reserved for incapable mums

Yes. I was deluded. I yell at the tv when someone’s annoying. I yell at bad drivers on the road and cyclists who forget that they’re sharing the road with bad drivers. I yell at my mum, my sister, my brother, my husband. I yell at the PLAYROOM when it’s in a mess. I yell at weeds when I pull them out and the root breaks off and stays in the fucking ground. I yell at my cupboard if I’m out of coffee. How the hell I thought I would EVER not yell at my kids, who drive me insane, still astounds me. I yell. They look alive. I buy myself 2 minutes peace. They go back to whatever it is. It’s a loud, predictable dance.

#10 – My child will not dictate my schedule. They will fit into my life, not the other way around

Oh.. shut up.

This post originally appeared at Seventies Baby – a gloves-off perspective of womanhood, parenting and modern family life in a world obsessed with being perfect and politically correct. It has been republished with full permission.

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37 Responses to “10 Parenting Rules – and I broke them all”

  1. Bree June 11, 201311:43 pm

    Hilarious and so true!
    Love it

  2. sheridan June 12, 20131:57 pm

    Awesome! loved every word, was so good that i had to read it aloud to my nanna and my mum who both killed themselves with laughter. We all agree that its not only hilarious but very true.

  3. isabellegoyer June 12, 20134:08 pm

    Soooo true!!! I love it!! You are the best for daring to write it down!!!

  4. lana Myburgh June 12, 20137:23 pm

    parenting ?????? im still learning and appreciate any advice given – my kids are 12 years and 7 years and I am still wandering who made them more intellegent than me !!!?????? i sob at night !!!!!! parenting is the hardest job ive eva been given !!!!!

  5. shazzybee June 13, 20132:49 am

    Soooo true! and … i dont sob at night, im asleep before my sorry head hits the pillow lmao! they wear me out ><

  6. Toni June 13, 20139:03 am

    Loved this gave me a smile and a giggle 🙂

  7. Vanessa June 13, 201310:58 am

    I have broken every single rule, especially #2 at about 5:30 every other morning.

    Love your article. I was never a BC. I just thought I’d never have a child, so I never took any inteest into babies and pregnancy and whatnot. Well, what a surpsrise when we found out I was prego.

    It’s been a massive learning experience, an education about life that never ends. We don’t listen to most of the ‘advice’ dolled out by the ‘experts’. We just do what feels right for our little dude. He’s happy, he’s healthy and we’re happy (most of the time – hahaha!) and that’s what really counts, I think.

    Thank you! xoxo

  8. Juanita Rothwell June 13, 201312:38 pm

    Loved it, I a 70’s mum, now Grandma to 8, it does get better ladies, hang on in there, and, thank you all for our Grand babies.

  9. Tim June 14, 20133:25 am

    This post is only for chicks, where is the dad’s perspective???

    • Lorna December 10, 20139:46 pm

      Write 1 like the woman did…..

  10. Sue Nankivell June 14, 20134:53 am

    Oh man, I seriously teared up when I saw that photo of you snuggling your newborn. Having held all three of mine their first nights Earthside, and knowing I’ll never do it again… *tears up again*

  11. Leenore Reddy June 14, 20137:55 am

    This just hit home, I have broken most of the rules, here and if I did not break a couple, the credit just goes to my mother, who was so strict with us when we were kids, that I did not know any other way. My kids who are 6 and 9 now, never used dummies…neither did they suck their thumbs. My mom said, it would spoil make their teet stick out. Our nagging was never entertained as kids and when I go shopping with my kids, they dont nag me, because I wont give in, but they also know that if they dont I might just get them something, but they are not to ask…it is the other way round when they are out with their father…they can get away with anything…these are the only 2 rules I have not broken, all the others…are still breaking every day…:) one day it will all sort itself…or will they??? each day is a discovery…

  12. tessa kelly June 15, 201310:00 am

    i thought this about alot of thoughs coments before having my son but oh man when you have a child that will not sleep unless hes in the car or on you u do just about anything just to make it threw the day

  13. nicoleleedham June 15, 201310:01 am

    I never broke rule number one (hate dummies with a white hot passion – thankfully my kids never put this to the test), but the others? Hell yes. And more.

  14. kevin June 16, 20132:47 am

    a mum and dads persective, broke some so called rules except fo r# 3,4,6,7,10,, plus slapped their bum if played up, made them stand on their own 2 feet as soon as possible,taught them as much as we could before they started school, and had them help around the house from a young age, and guess what they grew up to be great adults with ehtics, and self respect, postive parenting worked well, threw out the experts child guide and raised our kids our way

  15. Melissa June 16, 201312:03 pm

    Loved it. Oh it is so easy before we have children to judge. Once the shoe is on the other foot how we see life so differently.

  16. sheila wingent June 16, 20132:00 pm

    So What if! No child ever came with a manual, that is my excuse. I do what works for me – AT THE TIME!.

  17. shiralee sloan June 17, 20136:12 am

    My friend sent me this after I made a post regarding having to use bribery (with lollies) pretty much every day last week! I said I felt like I had sold my soul to the devil. Master 3 is matching, and beating me at every point and turn! I cringe to think how badly I feel like I am failing at this every day, THANK-YOU SO MUCH for helping me understand I am not alone. And obviuosly my sister IS the only perfect mother in the World! And as for Sporticus!!!!! What a freakin Hunk! Couldn’t agree more there. Arrrrgh big sigh of relief, again thank-you..

  18. Alice J June 18, 20134:06 pm

    Girl, come sit by me! Not on that side, there’s a big blob of yoghurt.

    This is hilarious (like parenting) and perfect (unlike parenting).


  19. val June 21, 20131:49 pm

    I laughed literallyout loud at this comment. thanks so much for my midnight giggle.
    “looked around in despair and replied “You could eat off mine too… ‘cause that’s where all the fucking food is””

  20. Georgie July 17, 20132:13 am

    What a divine photo of you snuggled in bed with your baby – gorgeous!

  21. Rachel Stribling August 21, 20137:16 am

    Oh so true, so many things I have done too! And I dont regret even one of them! I too slept with my baby in the hospital and had the fear of the nurse walking in and telling me off but by baby number 3 I was ready to scream at them for even glancing at me judgementally! Thanks for a great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Mums Rule!

  22. Kiara August 22, 201312:31 am

    There are rules to parenting!?! Why did no one tell me this :-O I’ve broken them all already haha

  23. Amanda Webb August 22, 20132:22 pm

    I too was deluded and judgemental BC lol! I break most of these every day now I have 3 of the buggers!!

  24. Rene' Eckardt August 22, 20139:10 pm

    You are a REAL Mum!!!! I go through these battles daily, and its comforting to read that Im not alone 🙂

  25. Donna November 26, 20134:13 am

    Wow, thank you 🙂 I told myself a lot of this too, and broke every single one of them.
    Except the dummy. And only because I always intended for him to have one. lol
    Though once little Mr entered his own cot he’s stayed out of my bed for now.

  26. rachel November 26, 201310:15 pm

    you rock! i laughed so hard i burst into tears. found myself nodding and agreeing to everything.

  27. Sara November 27, 20131:22 pm

    Love it – I guess we all break the rules and so what ?

    Maybe a new point of view: My mum’s friend always used to say that her floor wasn’t spotlessly clean (so that you couldn’t eat off the floor), but it didn’t matter as they had tables to put the food and eat 🙂

  28. Victoria November 28, 20131:45 pm

    I am laughing so much, I am crying!!! TOTALLY ME – every single one (although I do try to keep the healthy food to a maximum, where I can 😉

    • amanda bird November 30, 20131:17 pm

      yep me too…! I breast fed a twin at the checkout in kmart coz it was less stressful than hear him in distress…! poor 15 yold girl….she didn’t know what was going on…mothers do….what mothers need to do….we are the TIGRESS’…we are the protectors, and the champions ….yr gonna hear me ROAR…thanx katty..!

  29. I will never have my child baby sat December 2, 20138:01 am

    What a crock of shit lol bring on the babysitters

  30. cindy- my child won't be raised by TV lol December 3, 20133:29 pm

    So true. I’m laughing so hard I have broken a few of these rules and my baby is not even 6months yet

  31. kat m December 4, 20131:04 pm

    I love this ibe broken pretty much all of these lol I am aldo a “dummy” n my son would never sleep in our bed well guess who spends most of the night wedged btween mummy n daddy lol

  32. Molley@A Mother Life December 5, 20138:47 pm

    Just perfect! Everything is in it’s place, thanks for making us feel normal!

  33. louisaburford December 14, 201311:53 am

    Hilarious! I *may* have broken a few of those rules myself. Pwahahaha!

  34. Marta December 17, 20137:36 pm

    GREAT 🙂

  35. Ben January 6, 20146:27 pm


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