At the moment, I seem to have a lot of friends who are pregnant, about to pop or have just given birth. Every now and again somebody asks me for parenting tips. Although flattering, this makes me laugh a lot as I have spent the last five years, fifty three days, nine hours and thirty five minutes blagging, making it up as I go along. hoping for the best and that nobody cottons on to the fact that I am the equivalent of a lorry driver without a licence.
Nervous laughter, pretending I know what to do …….
Eight things that might be of some use are;
1. If you are in the shower and your vision suddenly goes super blurry and a bit streaky, before panicking check you’re not still wearing your glasses.
2. If you want your baby who won`t poo to do so, put on your most favourite clothes, place baby naked on your lap and hey presto, they will poo to their bottom´s content.
3. Random strangers know best. They know more than you do and ever will about your child, be prepared for helpful comments whilst you try to calm your screaming purple faced offspring. The classics are “He`s too hot” “He`s too cold” “He`s hungry” “His coat is too tight” “He doesn’t like your singing” There is always the option of breaking out some kung fu moves, but the reality is you’re probably too shattered to even lift your leg and arm at the same time and if you do resort to violence, you will not only have to sort out childcare while you are behind bars, but also deal with separation anxiety early on. At the time of writing, there is unfortunately still no known cure for randomstrangerknowsmorethanyou-itis , so you just have to grin and bear it, sing really loudly, or before leaving the safe confines of your house go crazy with the facepaints to create the I`ve come out in some mysterious highly contagious rash look; it works wonders.
4. You bottle feed? Great! You breastfeed? Great! What matters is that your baby is getting fed, not how. Just because you do one or the other, or both doesn’t make you an any better or worse a mum. It makes you equally as awesome and probably zonked as the next mum. Besides, both bottles and boobs have the tendency to leak in inappropriate situations.
5. If you have a dog, it will spend the rest of its life with this facial expression.
6. Your child is not my child. It is a sad fact that people tend to compare their parenting skills to others. Just because their three and a half week old can count to 99 in Russian, French and Swahili, it doesn’t mean you are an inadequate parent. It’s pretty impressive that yours can puke, poo and scratch you all at the same time.
7. Postnatal depression is incredibly common and doesn’t mean you are failing in any way, it means you need to talk to somebody and you mustn`t be afraid to ask for help. The sooner it can be diagnosed, the sooner you can be helped. Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for (taken from http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk)
• Low mood for a long period of time
• Panic attacks
• Lack of concentration and motivation
• Lack of interest in your new baby and yourself
• Feeling alone
• Difficulty sleeping or feeling constantly tired
• Tension – headaches, stomach pains or blurred vision
• Decrease in appetite or increased appetite
• Reduced sex drive
• Feeling useless, worthless and guilty
• Feeling overwhelmed with situations
• Unrealistic expectations of motherhood
It is NOTHING to be ashamed or embarrassed of and as the late Bob Hoskins said “It’s good to talk” and I most certainly wish I had.
8. This is possibly the best discovery I have ever made, your child(ren) has no clue that you have no clue. It`s perfect. Until they get their own opinions and realise the power they possess in their squooshy cheeks, you are technically their leader. Enjoy it while it lasts! (approx the time it takes to come round from giving birth.)