Thursday, September 9, 2010

With hindsight, as a parent, I would have...fill in the blank for me please.

Have you ever tried to give advice to a pregnant friend or relative? It is like walking a tightrope with snarling sharks on one side and rabid wolves on the other. I try and remember whether I ever listened to advice from parent friends. I regret to say that I don't think I did. It was NOT NEEDED. I had read the books, used my instincts and I KNEW BEST.

I didn't know best. I bought a frickin' awful pram, terrible car seat and could have done with listening to my mother-in-law about routine and discipline. You see, I have those children.
I always thought I would have obedient, pliable children who would sit and converse with adults in cafes in a charming way, who would use please and thank you and basically do as they were told but still be spunky and plucky. Hmm...

My sister is pregnant and any cautious pieces of advice are met with a polite stonewalling. I feel like shaking her by the lapels and screaming "I've been through the fire, damn it. It's a war out there with children and you need to know your enemy. I'm like a veteran of that war, hear me out!!!" Instead, I just chuckle and think 'Just you wait. Heh, heh, heh.'

Here are my top 5 things I wish I had known as a newbie parent.

  1. If you are even contemplating having more than one child, immediately buy a Phil & Ted's or similar. Otherwise you end up with just having to buy another pram after no.2 arrives. And a McClaren. Most of my friends and I have fine, expensive collections of prams. The worst thing that happens is that you can shove extra groceries or a friends toddler in the seating area of a stacked pram.
  2. Don't get too wedded to your birthing plan. The goddess of birth has a hilarious way of farting in your face if you assume all will proceed as planned. Whale music, schmale music.
  3. If someone offers to babysit - take up the offer! Short of the wicked witch from Hansel & Gretel babysitting I wish I had hurled my babies at more bystanders. An exhausted parent is not a joy to behold.
  4. Sometimes you should just give in. I did not want to co-sleep with my babies. My son wanted to sleep with his tiny face pressed against mine. We always started out with good intentions but ended up doing the dance of the seven beds where we would ricochet randomly into various bedrooms at night in search of sleep. I wish I had just given in at the beginning.
  5. Don't buy a 'diaper genie' (nappy bin). The room will just end up smelling of stale poo.
What are your top 5 hindsights?


  1. Don't give up work if you really don't want to. You will end up bitter and twisted, drinking far too much wine every night, and ageing prematurely. (OK well maybe not quite that bad but just don't...)
    Oh and completely agree on the stinky Diaper Genie. Just take the poo in a bag straight outside.

  2. Hilarious! No children of my own (yet?), but lots of young parents around, and it's funny seeing all the things they are "doing differently because all the other people don't know what's going on".

    Yes, of course. Because no one has been a parent before they took on the job.

    I am already looking forward to my own children, so I can be foolish for a change. (^v^)

  3. Oh good grief - I think I have fogotten everything that anyone ever told me and although I keep begging no one tells me anything (I want to hear) anymore! Perhaps they never did hence me forgetting...The only thing I would add and wish I had done is to go out walking with the baby in a pram as much as possible, it puts them to sleep, you lose weight and everyone feels better!

  4. 1. It's a phase
    2. It's a phase
    3. It's a phase
    4. It's a phase
    5. Buy pretty maternity bra's - it's going to be a long while before those puppies see lacy underwiring again.

  5. Expat - agree with the work thing, I think it also works the other way too, I know so many women who want to be at home but end up working 5 days a week!
    Diandra - you will end up being very very foolish with children about!
    Tattie - Totally with you on the walking thing. The only thing is once I had my new baby no 2, my toddler hated going out for walks, so it was gutting.
    Kerry, are there such a thing as pretty maternity bras? I have never seen one!

  6. Love it! V funny and totally agree with all your points (yes we have a collection of buggies, including the Phil & Teds, yes we ignored all babysitting offers in the first year of parenthood, madness.. all so true!)

    My tips would be:
    1. ignore ANYONE who tells you that your baby is teething / hungry just because he/she puts his/ her hands near her mouth - it's not true and just puts you under more pressure to feed/ soothe/ dispense medicine
    2. Lavender oil and soothing music will make ABSOLUTELY no difference during labour - it's all an NCT myth!!