Just had a baby? Welcome to the sticky, messy, emotion-encrusted world of new parenthood. There’s something about being responsible for a tiny human that flicks a switch in your brain.
Your view of the world is suddenly converted to a high-def, surround sound assault on the senses.
Be prepared to see the world and the people in it, with bleary but brand new eyes. The downside? You won’t always like what you see. In fact, here’s 5 people you’re going to hate!
1. The Persistent Givers of Unsolicited Advice
Everyone loves a freebie, right? Wrong. Not if it’s unsolicited advice about all things baby!
Steel yourself for a running commentary from friends, family and strangers alike as to what you’re doing wrong and tips on how you can improve. It’s a sad reality that you don’t need a licence to have an opinion because everybody has one and they’ll swerve across the room, road or shopping centre to batter you mercilessly with it.
Obviously there’s something about you that tells the world you’re a new parent. Oh yes, the baby.
Before you know it, you’ll be on the receiving end of a torrent of well-meant new mum advice and information on how to feed, settle, bathe, dress and raise your baby. No topic’s out of bounds, not even your cracked nipples, pelvic floor issues and shaky sex life. Sure, it takes a village to raise a child but that’s not an invitation for every self-anointed, self-appointed baby guru to stick their nose into your business. Want to stay sane? Learn to tune out or politely say thanks but no thanks.
2. The Mums and Dads Who Treat Parenthood as a Competition
Become a parent and you’ll suddenly find yourself participating in an ultra-competitive sporting event. At least, that’s how some parents see it. For them it’s a race to the finish line…and their eyes are on the prize.
Prepare to be peppered with questions about what your bub does and doesn’t do and whether they’re achieving their milestones. Be prepared to feel like you’ve scarred your child for life by not having downed kale smoothies while pregnant and played baby Mozart to them in utero.
Sure, as parents it’s only natural to want to compare notes. But if it’s done in a way that’s calculated to make other parents feel like crap, it’s just not tennis. If you’re only hearing the good stuff about someone else’s kid, you can bet your bottom dollar you’re only getting half the story. Parenthood’s a marathon of epic proportions and you’ve got to run, walk, crawl…or be dragged kicking and screaming through it at your own pace.
3. The frowny feeding naysayers
Whipping out your boob for a feed? Put it away, it’s obscene. Giving your little one a bottle? Tsk, Tsk, breast is best. You can’t win. No matter what decision you make about feeding your bub, you’ll always be the spawn of the devil to someone. Hungry babies just need to be fed, so do what’s best for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else piss on your parade.
4. The Underminer
When you’ve got a new bub, it can be a struggle to find your feet and develop some semblance of a routine. If you’ve just got your baby to sleep after hours of endless cooing, patting, rocking and cuddling, you’re going to be pretty distraught when someone else ignores your wishes and insists on waking them for a cuddle.
It’s only going to get worse as your baby gets older. You might not want them snacking on junk food between meals but your best laid plans quickly become undone when your rules aren’t respected and Nanna’s house is a veritable smorgasbord of all things salty, sweet and sugary.
Think of new parenthood as an opportunity to develop your assertiveness skills and flex some serious parenting muscle. Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Put the doughnut down and back the f#$k away from my baby!”
5. Yourself … Sometimes
The really bad news is that you’re going to hate yourself a lot of the time. One minute your waters are breaking and the next you’re swamped with a tidal wave of relentless, bubbling, frothing mother guilt. You’ve inadvertently opened a Pandora’s Box of unwanted emotion and once that sucker’s out, you’ll never be able to squeeze it back in again. Ease up on the angst and self-doubt. Be kind to yourself, you’re doing a kick-arse job.
Hats off to the people you’ll LOVE
The good news is for every person you’ll hate as a new parent, there’ll be a dozen you’ll love. The arrival of your baby will herald a shift in your priorities and widening of your friendship circles.
Best of all, there’s the realisation that you’re not in this alone.
- You’ll find a mum in your mother’s group who just gets you.
- You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the sudden offer of a helping hand and kind word when you’re exhausted from wrangling a screaming child at the checkout.
- You’ll be saved by the friend who drops everything to help when you need it most.
- And most of all, you’ll be supported by the unexpected shoulder to cry on when you’ve got vomit in your hair and you’re having a shitty day.
Don’t forget to pay it forward.