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You’re A Parenting Expert Too?!

The other day as Emma and I were out and about I got a call from my best friend, who has a gorgeous 3 month old baby boy. She had been at a baby group and another mother, upon watching her breastfeed decided to tell her that she read in the newspaper that a woman exclusively breastfed her child and one day he/she just dropped dead. Now, those of us with toddlers can roll our eyes at that, but as I take myself back to when Emma was 3 months old, I would be just as worried as she was. All she said to me is “I just need you to tell me I’m doing the right thing”.

She is doing the right thing. You only have to take one look at her gorgeous boy to see that. He’s perfect. She’s doing amazingly well and juggling it all effortlessly. She is a supermum already, waking every 2 hours to feed and just trying to stay sane throughout the day. I’m so proud of her. But like all of us, she winging it every second of the day (like a boss I might add!) because these babies didn’t come with an instruction manual. We don’t have a boss who can pull us into their office and give us a monthly appraisal. It’s Mummy and Daddy working it all out on our own, and most of the time we’ve got our fingers crossed the entire time that we made the right decision.

How many times has this happened to you – an inappropriate comment about how you are bringing up your baby. It starts off as a newborn, there’s comments on how you change their nappies, what wipes you use “my friend Sheila swears by Pampers, you can’t scrimp on these things you know”, to how you feed them. Then before long you have to wean them and the baby led weaners throw in their sixpence worth. I’ve even had comments that it’s not right Emma is going to nursery and being at home with me would be better. Whenever I hear these, I try to let it wash over me but sometimes that is so hard. It reminds me of the Amy Poehler quote “good for her, not for me”. Why can’t we just accept that we all make decisions for our family and just because that might be different to yours, it doesn’t make it wrong. It’s just your choice.

I’ve written before about how much this irritates me, but what bothers me more is that with new mums, it can really knock their confidence. When you are utterly sleep deprived and mainlining in coffee and cheese on toast, it’s like the perfect storm. One little comment makes you question everything you are doing – should you be doing it differently? What happens if I’m being negligent and just didn’t realise? And above all, I just don’t understand why people can’t just smile and comment on how sweet and adorable your baby is. Surely that can’t be too much to ask?

So if you’re a new mum reading this, perhaps something similar has happened to you. Perhaps you dared go to the supermarket without putting socks on your child and a Granny at the checkout tells you how you must ALWAYS put socks on the poor girl’s feet (may or may not come from real experiences). Or maybe you’ve had ‘the look’ when your child starts tantrumming in a cafe for some unknown reason. Perhaps you’ve had those judgemental comments about the type of snacks you give your child and whether they drink out of a sippy cup at 10 months or not.

Just remember this: you’re doing great and that self-doubt is totally normal and absolutely inevitable. It’s easy to believe that everyone around you has a Pinterest-worthy set up to raising their kids. However take away that sugar coating and the reality is this: we’re all just doing the best we can for our mini humans. Some days will be alright, and others a complete shocker but we’re doing it and parenthood is a tougher gig that any of us care to admit. Because admitting it would make us all hideously overwhelmed. Take one step at a time for now and remind yourself how far you’ve come every day.

Pink Pear Bear
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  1. March 6, 2017 / 9:44 am

    I think I have a look that says ‘I don’t care, leave me alone’ or very thick skin because I never got this – apart from on the sleep thing. Oh people LOVE LOVE LOVE to tell you how they got their kid to sleep through the night by four weeks old. Usually they have one kid. I hope karma bites them on the bum with number two!

    • March 6, 2017 / 12:29 pm

      Haha they really do don’t they?! I think my skin grew a bit thicker as the months rolled on, great that you didn’t experience much of it! Thanks for your comment.

  2. March 6, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    Oh my goodness, I hate it when people do this. Your poor, poor friend. She does not need to hear things like that. What person in their right mind would say that to the mother of a newborn??? There is too much opinion sharing these days. I remember a very good friend lecturing me (I don’t think she felt she was lecturing) on the virtues of baby led weaning. 2 years into this whole parent thing and I think I’m learning how to switch off to it. But doesn’t make it right! #MarvMondays

    • March 6, 2017 / 5:49 pm

      Oh thank you for such a lovely comment – I totally agree and very much think that if you have nothing nice to say…just smile and nod! I know some people don’t mean anything by it, but in those early months it was so tough with the tiredness! xx

  3. March 6, 2017 / 9:56 pm

    Rev T stayed at home with the Tubblet when he was small. He never got this because everyone was always so amazed he could do anything! When we went out, I’d get all the advice. It drove me nuts even though it was mostly kindly meant. #bigpinklink

  4. March 7, 2017 / 8:28 am

    Yes! Happens too when you have adopted your kids! Thanks for the advice, but no, I know my kid and I know what I am doing now shut up and go away. At least that’s what I am thinking. Haven’t had the courage to say it yet. Everyone has their tuppence worth! #bigpibinklink

  5. March 7, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    First time around I got this a lot, and I took every little thing on board and to heart. The first time I took E out on my own, I put her in a stretchy wrap. It took me so, so long to put that bloody wrap on and then work up the courage to go out, by which time it had started to rain. I did a long loop around the block and towards the end, a woman coming in the opposite direction stopped and said “God, is there a BABY in there?”. My confidence was knocked and I didn’t even get what point she was trying to make! Anyway, sorry your friend had to hear that. Love that Amy quote too.

  6. March 9, 2017 / 12:02 pm

    I heard that awful story about the baby who died following his mum being pressurised into exclusively breastfeeding-but there was more to it than that, and for someone to just recount that story to your friend, was so insensitive. I really wish people would remember how terrifying it is to be a new mum. Someone once told me I was a bad mum for using anti stretch mark cream-that I would make my baby blind. I actually felt sick with shame and worry, wondering why I never knew this-apparently it was briefly looked into, but there’s no actual evidence to back it up. And the amount of old ladies who have said ‘I think he needs a feed,’ when one of the children cried…! It enraged me!! I was the only one in charge of when they needed feeding, and knew if they were fussy or genuinely hungry! At least we know never to offer this ridiculous unwanted advice to others!!

  7. March 29, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    Fantastic post! I totally empathize. I actually wrote a post about breastfeeding vs formula when I read that story about the baby who died… I had debated it for so long as it was so personal but I had one of those ‘enough with this shit already’ moments, pardon my French, and went for it. The amount of judgyness and pressure that is placed on mums, especially new ones, is momumental and quite frankly unacceptable. We are all doing the best we can and we are enough! #dreamteam

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