Let’s do a little debunking here, shall we?
During my first pregnancy, I received a lot of advice about what to do when she came along. To be fair, some of the advice was pretty good. But then there was the advice that us mothers get twitches over. Not nervous twitches. No, no. Thwarting twitches. What always cracked me up was that a lot of the suggestions came from non-parents.
I grew up in a traditionally large extended Irish family. So, you know what I’m probably guilty of giving unsolicited advice at some stage too. Honestly, I can’t remember but if I did, I’m sorry.
I think the funniest, and probably most popular piece of SHIT advice we as mammies hear is the good old, “sleep when baby sleeps.” Yeah, okay. In a dream world, I would definitely have done this. Any mother would. Let’s be realistic though, it’s not possible for many reasons.
- You’re exhausted.
Sure, you should be able to sleep from utter exhaustion but you can’t. You’re a whole new type of exhausted. Ever been so overtired that you can’t sleep? No? Have a baby.
- You’re too excited.
You just had a teeny tiny baby. Look at all those little features. How can you sleep and miss them moving a finger. Is that not considered a missed milestone?
- You’re so nervous
Right, whether you grew up raising other people’s babies or not, you now have this miniscule human in your care. Nothing prepares you for this. Nothing! You may have read all the books in the world. You may have been a babysitter all your teenage years. Doesn’t matter. Try not worrying over the million and one things you’ve seen on Google that could happen to your baby. Every time you shut your eyes they spring back open and you check if your baby is still breathing.
Seriously! Maybe you have another child that needs attention. Maybe you want/ need to clean the house. Hell, maybe you need a shower. God knows you’ve gone days without one. You might even want to catch up on that show you haven’t watched in ages. There are tons of thing we want to do when baby is sleeping. Sleeping ourselves is not always top of that list.
- You’re not tired
What? Is this even a thing as a mother? Yes, sometimes our bodies trick us into believing that we’re not tired. We are. We most definitely are but it has somehow been suppressed.
The advice doesn’t stop there though, does it? Oh no. There is so much people want to tell you when you’re about to become / first become a parent.
Make sure to have time for yourself.
Time for myself, huh? I’ve tried this and yes, it does work … sometimes. But with kids, you can’t always do this. I’ve planned some “me time” and have had to text myself with a rain check. Kids get sick, kids need to be fed and sometimes you are their sole feeder, kids needs their mothers, and quite frankly, sometimes we don’t want time for ourselves. Sure, when we’re sitting on the toilet and the toddler crashes in through the door suddenly needing to poop also, yeah we would like that time for ourselves. But sometimes we do actually enjoy spending most of our hours with our little ones. It kinda makes us feel whole.
Don’t hold your baby too much
Bla bla F’N bla. Bad habits, you’ll spoil them, they won’t want anyone but you, yada yada yada. This is one of those pieces of advice that really gets up my nose. I will hold my baby as much as my baby needs to be held and as much as I am physically and emotionally able to. Granted, I had to hold Reagan basically 24/7 for her first four months and that was tough going. Do I regret it? Hell no. I would do it all over again if it meant that my baby wouldn’t feel stressed. Contrary to popular belief, babies are not manipulative little people out to ruin our lives. They really do need love, attention and cuddles.
Let your baby cry it out
How about no? Imagine you feel really upset about something. You really just need a shoulder to cry on or a cuddle. You go to your best friend and she/ he looks at you and walks away in your moment of need. Essentially the same thing. I can’t even watch a movie where a baby is crying. I think the sound of a baby’s cry is one of the most upsetting sounds to hit your ears. I just can’t cope. And this thing of it developing their lungs … seriously? Stop, just stop!
What’s funny is that these are only the tip of the iceberg and the suggestions and advice comes ten fold as time progresses. Someone is always there with a tip when you least want one.
Rule of thumb, wait to be asked for advice. Unless asked, bite your tongue because chances are your advice is falling on deaf ears. I tend to zone out completely once I hear, “you know what I did with mine…” or “You could …” or “Have you tried …”. No I haven’t tried any of that. I’m completely clueless (insert eye rolling emoji here).