When I was pregnant I read all the books/blogs/forums I could get my hands on. As one of the last of my friends to have a baby I pestered them daily for tip and hints on being the perfect mother.
My family were sick of hearing every new tid-bit and random fact I’d taken to sprouting to them.  I was ready! I was armed to the teeth with info. This was going to be a breeze!
Then I went into labour and from that second on everything I’d read or learnt was thrown out the window. Because my baby had NOT read the same books as me and clearly did not know how he was supposed to behave!
Two more children later, I have rebuilt my stash of tid-bits and random facts, with a little help from experience with a dash of reality. Here are my favourites:

  • Every single person has an opinion on your parenting and they are more than happy to share it with you. Whether you asked them or not.
  • You are doing it wrong. Well, according to someone, and they’ll let you know.
  • Nodding and smiling and backing away slowly from “well meaning” people becomes easier with time.
  • Nobody really cares at what age your child talked/walked/somersaulted – unless it was earlier than their child. Then they probably won’t ask you again.
  • All children will at some stage try and eat sand. Most regret it immediately.
  • It’s okay to breastfeed your baby. It’s okay to bottlefeed your baby. Seriously, as long as the baby gets fed does it really matter? No one will care in five years time.
  • Women are their own worst enemy sometimes.
  • Rocking your baby to sleep in your arms will not result in you having to rock a teenager to sleep in your arms. Even though the community nurse very kindly told me that it would. She was wrong.
  • Boys squeal just as loudly as girls.
  • You’re going to yell at your kids. Sometimes it just happens.
  • PND doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone and not just after first babies. There are people who will help you even though sometimes asking for that help is very hard – you’re not a ‘failure’.
  • Girls get just as dirty as boys.
  • You will never sleep soundly again. You will always sleep with one ear open listening for any hint that your child needs you.
  • All children are different. What worked for one may not work for another.  You have to adapt to your child.
  • Children have the most embarrassing tantrums right at the most inappropriate times. Ignore the glares from strangers, it happened to them once too.
  • If your head says yes but your heart says no, go with your heart.
  • You never get tired of kisses. Ever.
  • You have no idea how much love you have until it is running around outside of your body.
  • There is no such thing as the perfect mother. Only a mother (and father) who does their very best for their child.
  • A child will go to sleep. Eventually.

There are many more, some negative, some positive and as with everything each person has a different experience. If parents spent as much time supporting each other as they do comparing each other, being honest about bad times as well as good then communities might feel a little closer. New parents might find it a little easier.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you?
This article was written by Kristi Grigg
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