Edwina Bartholomew: The parenting rule I broke – and why I’m glad I did it
Edwina Bartholomew: The parenting rule I broke – and why I’m glad I did it

The parenting rule I broke – and why I’m glad I did it

How long did it take you to break the rules?

I don't mean those old, fun rules like underage drinking, staying out past your curfew and

using a fake ID at the pub. (I never did any of those things if you are reading this, Mum).

I mean the rules you magically make up before you become a parent and then break very quickly after your baby is born. For example, I will never let my child look at a screen, no TV, no iPads, no phones, no technology created post etch-a-sketch.

I will never let my child eat something I have not slavishly prepared with all organic ingredients, harvested from my own spring-fed vegie patch.

I will never let my house turn into what resembles a crèche, filled with garish plastic toys and piles of blocks and dog-eared books and paddling pools and play equipment and, well, you get the drift.

Fast forward nearly a year and I've broken them all, especially that last one. We are now living in a home run by a tiny human overlord with tiny bits and pieces of her little life scattered all over our formally pristine lounge and dining.

Toy blocks are a favourite for kids – and every domestic god’s nightmare.
Toy blocks are a favourite for kids – and every domestic god’s nightmare.

It's not really an issue for me, I am naturally a little chaotic and messy. The problem is my husband is slightly OCD, and by slightly I mean obsessively. Marie Kondo has a lot to answer for at our house.

No sooner have I set up for the day, pulled out the play mat, spread out the toys, saucepans, spoons, egg cartons, he has packed it all away. I take our daughter upstairs for a nap and by the time I'm back down again, there's not a toy in sight.

What a joy, you say. What a gift to live with a clean freak. How wonderful to have a tidy ying to your messy yang. You'd think so but to be honest, it's a complete pain.

How do I break the news to him that it will be a good 20 years before the carpet is rusk free? If it's not rusk, it will be banana, then spaghetti, then birthday cake crumbs and before long it will be our kids underage drinking and spilling it on the lounge?

Now feels like an opportune moment. Honey, it's time to embrace the chaos. Those rules we made before kids are now out the window, along with the overuse of spray and wipe and the dust buster.

This is the new world dis-order, and it's OK. Our child can watch Bluey, eating a supermarket-bought pouch, next to a mountain of toys, and we will all survive.

Just watch out for the Lego on the floor.

Originally published as The parenting rule I broke - and why I'm glad I did it


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