Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What the parenting books failed to tell you

I am a bit of a planner (that's an understatement), so before I had my girls, I read almost every parenting book I could get my little pregnant hands on.  This was on top of what I already knew as a paediatric nurse and health visitor.  Knowledge was power.  But now being a mum to Bee, four and a half, and LL, 16 months, I realise that there was a fair chunk of information that the books completely OMITTED.  Maybe they omitted it because they didn't want to scare new parents to be.  Maybe it's some secret code that these are the things in parenting that one must never speak of.  But I'm calling it, and today I thought I'd tell you the realities that I never read in the, 'you and your baby' chapter. 

1. It's OK not to love being a parent all of the time
Yes, we know we are #blessed and of course, we know to #cherisheverymoment , but when your little one has pooped all up their back and you are in the middle of Sainsburys without so much as a wipe, you aren't going to cherish the memory and take a picture for your baby album.  Similarly, being awake from 2am to 5am with LL might be great so I can browse ASOS, but as much as I love her, I would rather be in bed, asleep.  We all know how lucky we are to be parents, and its an amazing job.  But, it's also bloody hard and it's OK to admit you don't enjoy every single second. 

2. It's ok to shout
I PROMISED myself I would never be the shouty mum.  I PROMISED myself I would always talk to my children in the way I would like to be talked to.  I PROMISED myself I would never lose it and screech like a wailing banshee.  The reality?  If my daughter runs a ring around me with her pants on her head when we're late for school and she's not even dressed, whilst the dog is barking, and LL is eating some tiny Shopkin she has found at the same time as mysteriously appearing without her nappy on, I lose it.  Even the dog goes quiet as I shout.  I don't feel good about this, and I know I shouldn't.  But I'm only human.  Sometimes you shout and it doesn't make you a bad parent. 

3. Meltdowns in Sainsburys do and will happen
The memory of my daughter rolling horizontally along the tinned goods aisle screaming is a day that is forever etched in my mind.  I had no forewarning in ANY book that this could happen.  No book told me to never go shopping with a tired and hungry toddler.  Don't do it.  It would be better to eat that last tin of corned beef in the cupboard and risk starvation than to risk the horror of a supermarket meltdown. 

4. It's ok to look forward to bedtime (and sometimes lie about the time)
I love spending time with my girls and playing and reading and singing and dancing.  But sometimes, especially following only 3 hours of sleep, I want to lie in a darkened room and sob.  Just because you want a bit of peace and are looking forward to bedtime doesn't make you a bad parent. Also, I have been known to bend the truth slightly with the actual time, I'd appreciate a book that states that this behaviour is occasionally acceptable in it's appendices. 

5. You will feel guilty 99.9% of the time
The books should say, that whilst the most powerful feeling you will experience when having children is utter love, the second most powerful emotion you will feel is guilt. From feeding, to sleep, to behaviour and all of the points above, nobody warned me about the guilt (especially when I had a second baby).  Am I doing it right? Am I doing it wrong? The guilt is normal, and I'm afraid doesn't go away, but don't despair, because that brings me on to, 

6. You're NOT a bad parent
Breastfeeding? You're a good parent. Formula feeding? You're a good parent. A stay at home mum? You're a good parent. You're a working mum? You're a good parent. If you are doing what feels right for you and baby, then chances are you are doing an amazing job.  There are more ways to parent a baby than there are books on the topic.  If someone had the magic formula for how to manage sleep, deal with tantrums, never ever shout, then they would be making a fortune and we'd all parent in this same magical way.  Unfortunately, this magic unicorn of parenting doesn't exist.  Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we may get it wrong, but that never makes you a bad parent.  Do whatever feels right and you really won't go wrong, and I think these should be the parting words on any baby book.   

1 comment:

  1. hehehe! This did make me smile. I think you're right. All the baby books miss these things out so they don't scare new parents.
    I used to lie to my girls about the time when they were little so they would go to bed. They're older now and it doesn't work any more. :( lol x