Smiling and Nodding While Wanting To Punch Your Face.

Sunday, 18 February 2018


This is a skill that all parents need to master. The old, smiling and nodding while whatever crap someone is spouting goes in one ear and out the other. It's also one that I still haven't quite mastered. All parents warn you through pregnancy that you're going to have to learn how to do it, to try and just smile and say thank you while you try and not punch them in the face.

It's weird huh. Even in pregnancy I found people constantly commenting on me, my body, my pregnancy. They said things to me that they'd never say if I wasn't pregnant. I absolutely hated it and struggled daily trying not to be affected by these throwaway comments. And it's been the same now. "Oh babies do this.." "I never would've.." and my personal favourite - "Oh dear, you're creating a lifetime habit there."

F*** off. Please. *Smile.* Is that how it works?

The thing is, as new parents, we'd probably love some advice! We'd cherish all the little tidbits you share with us (especially if it involves some magic trick to get our baby to go to sleep) but that's not what we get. What we get is being told what to do. Or that we're doing things wrong. Or that what we're doing is something they would never even THINK of doing. Which is the last thing we need because already we're doubting every decision we've made or thinking we're not doing enough. So instead of having a little boost of confidence, we're being knocked back.

The world of parenting has changed a LOT since our grandparents were new parents. They were a lot tougher back then, with strict routines and the old "cry it out" method. And sure, that worked for them. We've all turned out okay. But for some reason, they can't really get used to the idea that maybe we'd like a more gentle experience. One where we follow our babies cues and trust that they know what they're doing and what they want. That maybe we let them occasionally (or always) sleep in our beds because that's what they need. That we spend hours on the couch in the evenings switching them from boob to boob because they're hungry and want to grow. That we let them sleep on us instead of in their bed because they just want a cuddle.

The thing is, these babies are just so new. They've been inside their Mums for the last 9 months and are suddenly pushed out into a world they know nothing about. It's been warm and snuggly and now it's cold and loud and there are so many new exciting things for them to experience - it's full on! So it's no surprise they want to be close to us. And that they want to follow their natural instincts. To survive! So if they're hungry or crying, it's for a reason. Little babies aren't shits. They're not naughty. They're just trying to live.

Already I've had comments on Jackson's "fat tummy." That maybe I should talk to my Plunket nurse if I'm worried about how much he's eating (which I've never said). That big babies need extra so I should probably look at supplementing with formula (not actually a thing). And the best one "just don't feed him, he's had enough.. He'll go to sleep I'm sure." Myyyy goodness. It's actually enough to drive you crazy and make you rethink every bit of parenting you've done so far.

But you know, I've been with this guy basically 24/7 for the last 10 weeks and I'm getting the hang of what he's all about. What he wants and needs and his signals to get them. I've already tried everything to get him to sleep, attempted to put him into his bassinet five times and given him to Rob in the hopes that maybe he's not hungry anymore (he never is. Of course). I've already googled what could be wrong with him, called my midwife and asked my mother in law. We've tried the swaddle, done the shushing and changed his nappy. So please, don't tell me what to do because I've already tried it. Twice. 

I just think it's time to celebrate new parents huh? To say "I know it's hard but you're doing such a great job." Time to say "I'm here if/when you need me" and wait until they ask for advice before thrusting it on them. And we'll appreciate it more, I promise. There won't be any more smiling and nodding while wanting to punch you in your face. Just a big thank you and maybe a bit of a hug - I can guarantee we'll need it.

2 comments

  1. I’m not sure how long I’ll hold my tongue over the unsolicited advice and I’m not sure why I feel I should - just to ‘be nice’. If I walked up to someone random and offered dietary advice or critique on their outfit, I’d be considered a b***h but apparently mum’s are fair game to be told whatever is on a strangers mind.

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    1. IIIIIII know! We go through so much as Mums, I feel like we're allowed to be a little shitty and tell people what's what. And maybe we should, just so they'll learn to shut up haha! It's such a vulnerable time (both pregnancy and motherhood) so there needs to be way more support and less judgement.

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