I wasn’t sure what this post should be about initially.
A ramble about every doubt I’ve had as a mother, a problem-solving, self-help guide for parents who are having a rough time, or just a list of some of the most challenging parts of parenting and my experiences and some advice…
In the end I decided it should be a bit of all of those things with the main goal of this post being the message:
This too shall pass, you’ll come out the other end enormously stronger and ready to carry on. I hope this post can be calming if you’re going through a tough stage, and at least make you laugh (even if you aren’t a parent).
This may be the case, and there will be a time in the future (maybe when your daughter has been out all night and you’re convinced they’re in a ditch somewhere) when you think that all the stress you went through when they were a toddler was NOTHING compared to them being a stroppy, hair-flicking teenager, but that phrase can be helpful when you’re down in the dumps because it’s true. Even though it can be annoying to hear when you’re in the thick of it.
We’re all in this parenting game together. We’re trying to bring up our kids so that they become strong, kind and peaceful people with decent morals and who treat others with respect. We’re trying to give them the belief that they can grow up and be anything they want. We’re all praying that they don’t turn into a serial killer, or start dating that horrible lad with the souped-up SEAT Ibiza, or that annoying spoilt girl with the atrocious parents. We all doubt ourselves and constantly worry about every aspect of their lives whether they are 2, 12 or 22.
That said, advice from people who have been there (as long as it isn’t unsolicited; only dicks give unsolicited advice and should be poked in the eye) can be helpful. Sometimes.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of some crud that we (and I) have to deal with as parents, especially during the early years and potential ways of dealing with it…
I’m breastfeeding and I’m getting hassle. I’m formula feeding and I’m getting hassle. What?
Even a krill knows that breast milk is the ideal food source for a baby. We get it. However, like with most things in life, it can be hard or even impossible to achieve the best all the time, and on the same page an individual may not feel comfortable or want (GASP!) to breastfeed their baby. That’s fine. You do what works for you. It’s that simple. It doesn’t mean you care less about your baby.
Breastfeeding is one of the most incredible things you can do with your baby. The bonding experience is wonderful, seeing a woman feeding her baby this way is beautiful, and women who choose to do this should be supported to the max.
However, there will be a number of pathetic women (and men) who will try and make you feel bad for using your boobs, formula (or a bottle if you have latching issues) and believe that they have the right to interfere in the type of food you give your child. Ignore them, be sarcastic to them, block them, tell them to piss off. It doesn’t matter what some bored woman in Hampshire on Facebook thinks.
One thing I find disturbing is how strangers think that they have a say in the way milk gets put into your child’s body. People who wouldn’t have looked at you twice before suddenly believe that they can tell you that you’re ”disgusting” for breastfeeding, that it’s ”sexual” (see a therapist, for real) or berate you if you don’t wear anything smaller than a burkha whilst doing it.
In a nutshell, if some people don’t support the way you feed your child, whether by tit or by teat (healthcare workers included) they definitely won’t support you further down the line, friend. That’s something to consider.
My child hasn’t started walking/crawling/taking yet. Other mums are banging on about how advanced their children are and I’m starting to get a bit worried.
Ugh, aren’t those people irritating?
I’m a vague aquaintance of a woman who banged on about how her son was walking down the high street at nine months. Girl…
It has to be said that if you have genuine concerns about your child’s development you should go and see a pediatrician to see that everything is okay. However…
There will always be that one mother who is convinced that her kid is the most gifted child in The Western World, but 99% of the time you can call bullshit on this. These are the same people who were either told they were incredible every day (in a bad way) and spoilt shitless by their own parents themselves as a child and are continuing this unhealthy pattern, or were belittled by them and feel like they must overcompensate with their own kids. Sorry to get all “Ms. Psychologist” on you.
Children develop at their own rate and do things when they’re ready.
Everyone else’s kids are eating quinoa and homemade stews and organic celery, but mine only wants to eat fish fingers and refuses anything else. I’m clearly failing.
There were times when I honestly believed that my kid was getting nutrients from thin air, as she only wanted to eat nuggets or nothing for a good few months. This still happens, and there are days when I’m baffled that she can still put one leg in front of the other given the amount of nowt she’s eaten. Normally, after a day of me fretting and worrying, she’ll surprise us all and eat 12 fish fingers, an entire tub of cottage cheese, two apples and a kiwi. They’ll eat. Maybe not as organically or Waitrosey as Pretentious Perdita down the road and her immaculate kids, but they will.
I’ve got one child and I’m ‘one and done’, but people are asking us ‘when we’re having more’ and I’m starting to feel uncomfortable.
“When are you having another one, then?”
“It’ll be a boy next!” (Calm down, Henry VIII)
“You don’t want anymore? They’ll be lonely!”
Most other people – even family members – don’t know everything about your private life. Something as personal as your sex life, family planning and life decisions like how many children you choose to have are yet another topic that randoms and family members feel is fair game. It isn’t.
Maybe, like me, you’ve suffered miscarriage, difficulty in conceiving or the horrors of stillbirth and are too traumatised to want to risk going through that again. Maybe the fear of carrying a baby and being terrified in case it all goes wrong again still haunts you. Maybe you can’t afford another baby. Or, maybe, you weirdo, you’re perfectly fine with that one fantastic child that you already have.
Personally, if people ask me when I’m having more children (I’m not), I am honest with them about my past. This either provokes an embarrassed shuffle of the feet and an ”Oh, I had no idea…” (Of course you didn’t, you’re some women I’ve never met hassling me in H&M when I’m trying to have a nice morning out) or some kind of awkward apology. That’s a good thing. I am forever baffled by these people. Mind your own business. Plis.
Have you ever experienced any of these things? Have you got an anecdote to share about people who can’t keep their mouths shut? Have you got any advice for new parents thathelped you when you were down in the dumps? Let me know and I’ll feature you in my next blog post!