I thought I’d be a little more light-hearted this week and have taken it upon myself to do a risk assessment for mothers…It’s not pretty. I’ve listed some potential hazards and the possible actions that could be taken in response to the hazards. Enjoy!
Hazard: Tripping over alphabet blocks, stacking cups, Duplo, Lego, beads (delete as age appropriate).
Action taken: Don’t let the kids have toys. If this is too harsh be VERY CAREFUL. Keeping toys in a localised area can help but is tricky to maintain once child can move independently. When walking through a dark living room clutching wine after they are finally in bed do not scream and spill the wine when you stand on a toy.
Hazard: Getting covered in bodily fluid. This starts from day zero and in the case of vomit could continue into the teenage drinking years.
Action taken: This is unavoidable but always carrying towels, wet wipes and spare clothes when out in public minimises the damage but does make you resemble a packhorse.
Hazard: Being pinched, bitten, having hair pulled (particularly prevalent in the baby years).
Action taken: Attempting to teach the concept of ‘gentle’ to small child (usually stroking their cheek while speaking in a soft tone). Unfortunately this is very difficult in the early months and therefore quick reflexes may be required to prevent the worst injuries.
Hazard: Not getting a full night’s sleep for a long, long time.
Action taken: Working out how to survive on less sleep is the only realistic solution.
Hazard: Not being able to wear your wardrobe full of beautiful clothes because they aren’t practical, aren’t suitable for breastfeeding or do not look good covered in snot and dribble.
Action taken: Utilising the mum uniform of stripey tops and jeggings.
Hazard: Going prematurely grey, getting bad smile lines and constantly looking tired.
Action taken: If vanity is important to you, a good hairdresser and some decent make up will work wonders. If not, take comfort in the fact that you look happy! Also, sunglasses are very handy for hiding smile lines and eye bags.
Hazard: (Similar to the above point) Your body changes beyond recognition.
Action taken: Attempt to embrace it. Producing tiny human is a huge achievement and inevitably your body will look and feel different.
Hazard: Constant worrying and guilt
Action taken: Avoid social media, parenting manuals and television programmes aimed at improving your parenting skills. Never read anything about psychology. If your child is happy and healthy try to forget the rest and enjoy it.
Hazard: Never leaving the house on time.
Action taken: Attempt to be organised but take the precaution of warning people you’ll always be late from now on.
Hazard: Having no time for a social life or going to places/events you previously enjoyed regularly.
Action taken: Bribing family members (we find alcohol highly effective) to look after offspring so you can go for dinner/see a film/watch a band/insert hobby or interest here. Just don’t be surprised if you’re too tired to appreciate it and talk about your kids all night.
Hazard: A 3 bedroomed house suddenly becoming too small for 3 people as it is overrun with baby paraphernalia and toys.
Action taken: Buy ‘clever storage solutions’, attempt to throw some of your own shit away, eventually give up futile efforts and realise your house will never be pristine again. But it looks lived in which is a GOOD THING.
On balance, there are many risks that cannot be satisfactorily resolved. However, the benefits of becoming a parent are so great that it’s worth the risks!