One of my first published blogs was all an apology to my friends with kids. It was centred on ridiculous presents, and not understanding nap times and the like. You know, the newborn stuff. Now, more than two years later, I realise that there are so many things I need to apologise for now that I have entered The Toddler Zone. So, here goes …

I’m sorry for suggesting the hipster cafe
Shall we go to the child-friendly cafe down the street that has perfectly good coffee? Nah, you only have one kid with you today, let’s go to the pretentious place while you worry about the mess your child is making, the plate they might break, the wall they might draw on under the watchful eye of the waiter who hasn’t long been out of nappies themselves. Yup, sorry about that. You enjoyed the coffee though, right?

I’m sorry for judging when you didn’t clean up
Confession: My daughter has had an accident in a garden centre at a hardware store. Yup, I’m mortified to confess to this, but it was outside so I figured there was no harm in leaving her little puddle. Did I do it out of laziness? No. Did I do it to piss people off? No. I did it because I had a screaming child, very upset after wetting herself, wearing sopping wet leggings and socks, and in need of comfort. I feel I need to apologise to friends with kids AND people in garden centres right now. Seriously, I’m blushing with shame.

Next: When my daughter said, “Girls can’t do that”.

I’m sorry for rolling my eyes
I now realise that every single toddler has bad behaviour moments. Usually they occur when the kid is just fed up (like when they’ve been forced to sit in a boring hipster cafe for an hour with only a lipstick to entertain themselves). Missy lost her shit just last night because someone dared to sit in “her seat”. It happens. And I felt the eyes roll and thought, “Don’t you remember this?”

I’m sorry for more ridiculous presents
As the kids get bigger, so too do the presents. Our house resembles a graveyard of toys. Toys that should have long been binned litter the house, haunting my dreams of a clean house. I’m sorry my friends, I did nothing to help your quest for just a square metre of adult space!

I’m sorry for suggesting dinner, ever!
Who wants to go over to someone’s house for dinner when you have kids? Nobody, that’s who! OK, there are some champions out there who do it, but unless you’re eating at 5.30pm and are OK with me pissing off at 7pm I just don’t want to do it. Better yet, give me three weeks to tee up a babysitter and ask me out for a child-free dinner. Paradise!

I’m sorry for not understanding what tired means
I used to complain when I had to get up before 10am before I had kids. 10am! That’s, like, LUNCHTIME! And my tiredness isn’t even from early mornings. It isn’t even from lack of sleep. It is from being consumed by constant love, energy and emotion. From working in a big job while worrying about sleep routines and kids at childcare. The mental energy required for being a parent is something that no person could prepare me for. I get eight hours of sleep a night and I am a walking zombie.

I’m sorry for thinking your complaints were genuine
There’s an unspoken practice that you don’t realise until you’re part of the club. You hide the love you have for your kids by complaining about them. It’s true. Anyone asks me how missy is and half of the time I roll my eyes and say, “she’s a handful”. (The other half I gush about how much I love her, but the response from whoever I’m talking to is never as good.) The thing is, now that I do it myself, I realise that the love you have for you child is an unspoken known quantity. You don’t need to gush about it. You feel it every day. It consumes you. So, in the meantime, you cover it up with complaints of time outs, bedtime tantrums and brushing unruly hair.

Next: To our fun-loving neighbours