Things the Parenting Books will NEVER tell you!(92 Posts)
I thought it would be fun to start a thread on those secret, unspoken little woes of parenthood that no book will ever tell you about!!
If you could, what would you tell your pre-baby self?
I would tell myself that those little foibles my babies developed at 10 weeks that seemed so cute at the time - DD playing with my hair, DS stroking my eyelashes - are abso-fucking-lutely NOT cute 2 years down the line when you've got a bald patch and bleeding eyeballs!
(is it just me that gets mauled by their kids?)
Read as much as you can about parenting before your children arrive. Decide what you will and won't do. Especially with regards to feeding, baby's sleep habits, dummies, discipline.
Revel in your newfound knowledge, and look at parents around you with condescending smugness - it's the only time you will ever have all the answers.
Once your children are born, realise that you had no STINKING idea, and break (almost) every rule you had made for baby/yourself, in the interests of sleep/your mental health.
That you will still be awake at at 4.45 am with a refusing to settle back to sleep nine month old, after sorting out a leaked nappy and soggy pj's at 3am.
floatyflo that 3am will be the start of every day and therefore when the neighbours pop round at 8.30pm they will apologise for it being so late when I open the door in my pyjamas!!!
No one has a clue what to do, they're all just trying to see what works for them and they are doing it.
Don't judge, everyone is just hoping to survive.
Never suppress a kind/generous act. You might need one yourself one day.
And as for teenagers - well, your best and greatest reward will be grandchildren! So don't kill them - the teenagers not your GC. Grandchildren are your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
That 4.30am isn't considered the middle of the night anymore, it's morning
I wish I had realised how bad the first few weeks would be. I had read it - just didn't believe it. Breastfeeding for me was almost impossible, sleep was non existent and showering by the time bed time came (and DH got home from work) was the norm. BUT it all passes and is so worth it.
Even when baby sleeps, you're so tuned into to waking every hour, you're still awake all night regardless of their sleep pattern
hence mnetting at 5 am
LOL - all so true!!
Hairylegs I'm still on preschoolers. My DD is an entirely independent being who disregards most of what I say in favour of making up her own mind. I get cold sweats thinking about the teenage years to come. I'm fairly sure I was a saint compared to what's coming up for me in 10 years time.
Grumbelina When I started my maternity leave with DC1, I wrote myself a little rota of all the wonderfully useful things I'd do during all those hours my baby was asleep. Wash the windows once a fortnight. Polish the silver once a month. Weeding the garden every week. Washing the car... etc etc. Inbetween all this me and baby were going to go to the beach every day and snooze in the direct sunlight together, blissfully happy just to be together.
Why did nobody tell me I was deluded?!?! I totally blame my mother.
Cooki3 - haha, tell me about it. I had visions of having my baby in a (brace yourself for the "R" word) <whispers> routine within weeks so I could be on the elliptical or do Pilates for half an hour, then cook a meal, all while he napped. I was going to be skinnier and fitter than I had been in 20 years, after that baby was born!
And I used to hear mums complain about being in pyjamas all day, not being able to shower. "pfft", I thought "how ridiculous, and gross! surely you just shower when the baby sleeps".
Then I had a baby. One who didn't sleep. Unless he was held, anyway. And even then he only slept 30 mins at a time, 45 if I was having a particularly good day. Kind of ruined my personal hygiene and grooming schedule, never mind exercise and meal preparation.
A previous poster mentioned showering when her DH got home ... I have two children now, and neither of them are reliable sleepers. I am lucky if I get a shower every day! (I don't stink ... I promise. Or maybe I just don't smell it anymore).
I wonder if those of us who had the most
ridiculous ambitious plans for post-baby activities were given the worst sleepers?
Perhaps we should take a vote?
I've just got out of the bath. No shaving, no exfoliating, no face mask, just a wash. It took me 30 minutes because DS, who is 2 1/2, had a poo on the way and wanted his nappy on, off, on, off, on off. He finally did it n the potty (btw... is 20cms a normal length for a toddler poo?) then got up too quick and finished it on DH's towel (which DS had already pulled off the towel rail).
But at least I don't stink.
What most parenting books wont tell you, is that most parenting books are not truth and only truth, evidence-based and impartial. The authors have their own opinions, and that's what they will push. For every book that claims 'x is the thing to do' you will find 10 others claiming that 'x will damage your child and should never be attempted'. So read, pick and choose.
Babies sleep a lot in the car and you cannot sleep with them because you are driving. When you get home thinking that you can catch a snooze with them, they are suddenly active and wanting to play. No sleep for you. LOL
That no matter how deeply or soundly your baby is sleeping in their pram, they have an inbuilt radar that will fire them to wakefulness and desperation to be entertained the nano-second your key slips silently into your front door lock.
I think whether it's getting out of the car, or you locking your door, or you moving them off your chest the simple truth is that babies just DON'T WANT YOU TO SLEEP!!
They are alien sleep thieves sent from another planet as part of some cruel social experiment.
Having a baby taught me that human evolution still has a long way to go. We might not die often enough in childbirth to damage the chances of the species, but it's still far more difficult than it needs to be. Ditto breastfeeding.
Raising these emotionally and physically dependent little squishes is also bloody hard work, guaranteed to make you feel guilty all day long no matter what choices you make. Parenting books only serve to enhance that feeling of guilt - you are almost certainly doing something wrong. Bin them all and get some real life advice here or from some good friends.
That when you follow the very reasonable sounding advice of giving your toddler limited choices to avoid tantrums, said toddler will not follow the script.
'DD, its time to get dressed! Do you want to wear the blue tshirt or the purple tshirt?'
'NO! No! No tshirt! Nappy off!'
And when your baby does sleep you don't know whether it will be five minutes or an hour so you don't get the ironing board out - pension the bigger jobs as you are sure he will be awake soon AND that's when he does sleeps for longer and you could have done it. Ironic.
Even the most down to earth book will have a scare monger snippet in it (eg average weight gain being massively exaggerated, suggesting you steri wipe your baby down whenever touched, pre boiling washing water past newborn phase in tge same book that says take them swimming...). It's like an unspoken rule.
Hives are relatively common post partum but never mentioned. In your sleep deprived state you flea powder your pet free home even though you're the only one with them. And you can only take rubbish medicine for them grr ...
That your little beautiful baby will turn into that screeching toddler you just saw being carried out of the supermarket bodily by his poor mother, the one you gave evils to. That will be you in about 18 months. Enjoy!
Oh and friends who tell you you'll lose your figure, nor wash, never go out the house ... everyone gets a SUCKY THING but not the same thing and not at the same time.
Those smug know it all pregnant women are as much a product of sleep deprived paranoia as everything else.
Play it forward and be realistic but not scare mongering. And it's all relative ... The woman who told me I'd never go out has as good a social life now as I did during busy work months pre baby - to her its a bigger change than me. But I used to go to central London a lot, and can't with a big pram. So I have to be careful not to say "you never go ANYWHERE" because actually I often go to Brent Cross, Westfield, local parks and nature reserves.
You have to balance knowing how massive it us without being too subjectively scary to pregnant women yourself!
She says knowing the answer to "was it a long labour" should not be phrased "nearly shot out in the taxi, terrifying" but has said this instead of "oh no some labours are pretty quick:...
1) You may well have zero 'maternal instinct' about whether or not your baby is ill : if you're like me, you may well have no clue at all whether or not your baby needs to see a doctor.
For example, I took DD (aged 9 days) to A&E in utter hysterics since I couldn't get her to wake up. I was sure she was dying. She was just very deeply asleep.
2) 'Happy mum, happy baby' may well assuage some of your guilt, but it isn't always true. Sometimes the things that are best for babies are a lot harder than the alternatives (for example breastfeeding: can be incredibly tough but, IMO, is ultimately better).
3) You do not know better than the doctors. Makes me crazy when people (generally on Nethuns - ahem) spout rubbish about how 'you know your baby best' and 'what on earth does the doctor etc know?'. Unless you have gone through extensive medical training, probably best to follow their advice or at least get a second opinion...
It doesn't get easier, but the problems change. When they are little, you are exhausted from lack of sleep, when they are older you are worn out from worry and aggrevation.
Seriously, if you don't have any yet, just don't. Ignore any urges or pressure. It's not worth it.
The first few poos are like something a swamp monster might produce: liquid marmite with bubbles and added stench.
Whatever age/sex your child is, get used to people saying 'just wait till they're crawling/walking/running/talking/going to school/teenagers' as if somehow whatever hell you're currently going through is minor compared to what they're going through and parenting will get harder as the years go by. These people are annoying and not helpful.
Perfect parenting does not exist; we just love them and do our best!
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