People are really truly well meaning and what they offer you might work for them, but your life isn’t the same as theirs, so take everything offered (including all my ramblings) with a big pinch of salt!
So, parenting advice is EVERYWHERE! People will recommend books, books, books ~ you will have bought piles of books, you will have actually read some of them, some of them you will have read the first few chapters and some of them will languish in a pile next to the sofa until you are able to pass them on to another expectant parent, who can let them languish dustily in his or her lounge too.
Everywhere you turn people will offer you nuggets of wisdom ~ your self-sufficient friends will turn up with their twins Xanthe and Tarpaulin and offer you advice on using stinky-nappies dot com, your brother and his wife will turn up with their screaming toddlers and sink a glass or four of claret as they tell you how the ‘Naughty Beanbag’ has solved all their woes, your parents in law will tell you over skype from their chateau in Bordeaux that they never saw the problem with Flash Cards to learn a second language from newborn!
The internet is full of people telling you the best way to bring up your nippers (yes, hello kettle, meet pot!). Every hour on Television you can find a programme like Supernanny with ‘Jo-Jo’ Frost telling someone that cheesy wotsits are ‘unassessptable’, or Nanny 911 with a broad Yorkshire Nanny telling some Mississippi kids ‘that’s not the reet way to be chattin’ with your Muaarmmmmy on the sidewalk’.
The advice you get will vary from a really brilliant and helpful tip which you might be able to base 4 years of parenting on, to the completely useless and unlikely hints and tips which you can forget about during the first sleepless night. People are really truly well meaning and what they offer you might work for them, but your life isn’t the same as theirs, so take everything offered (including all my ramblings) with a big pinch of salt!
During those last few months of your or your partner’s pregnancy start training yourself to function on less and less sleep
During Pregnancy the most familiar advice you will hear is from bleary eyed parents of little ones telling you to ‘Get as much sleep as you can.’ This seems completely wrong to me, my advice during those last few months of your or your partner’s pregnancy is to start training yourself to function on less and less sleep. Sleep deprivation is what you need to be getting used to. Before you settle down for the night, set an alarm to wake you up every 2 hours, and make sure you get up for at least half an hour each time it goes off! Try and get used to going to work on 4 and a bit hours sleep. Train your body clock for the mental torture ahead!
Well, I thought I would take a minute out from offering you advice on Babywearing, and offer you some practical parenting advice which no-one else will tell you.
Secret Parenting Tips
Here are my top ten tips on Baby Parenting which you won’t find in the books!
SLEEP! Yes, that again. Honestly you will soon realise why I am obsessed with shut-eye. When they sleep, you sleep. When they decide to have a nap during the day, you have a nap too. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is a good time to catch up on work, or sort out your ever growing inbox. Simply NAP!
If someone offers to babysit then for god’s sake take them up on that offer, in fact exploit it!
You can never have too many Babywipes
Travel with your children when they are young and small. They are easier to entertain when they are little bundles, so you might as well get a tan and see where you want to see before they get demanding and its a good ten years or so before you can holiday somewhere of your choosing again
Get yourself a small, rechargeable cordless handheld vacuum cleaner. This will become your best friend, and your carpets, furniture, and car will learn to love it as much as you do
The Microwave is your friend. Learn to cook yourself an entire dinner in it, and know that this is just a modern and convenient way of cooking and not a cop-out!
Someone should always be the Grown-Up in your relationship with your child, and by rights that person should be you. Easier said than done, but always try and remember that a two year old has the right to act like a two year old. You don’t
Freecycle, Charity Shops, and Hand Me Downs are your new ‘shopping hot spots’. Get everything you can second hand, and once you’re done with it pass on the love! Or Ebay off all the unwanted baby clothes and gubbins. You can then build yourself a healthy nest egg which can then be used on the next years baby wants, or a large bottle of mother’s ruin!
Keep seeing your friends, and family. Make time for the other relationships in your life, its not just you and the bambino. Seeing you being a good friend, seeing you being social, interacting with others, and seeing you being a loving partner are all going to teach your child more social skills than you could learn from any book
Sometimes we all suck. At times you will think you are a really rubbish parent and you will wonder why you had kids in the first place. This is perfectly normal, don’t get hung up on these moments, just accept them, and its perfectly fine to mourn your pre-parent life sometimes too. Have a glass of wine, get some sleep, and wake up afresh and get back to work. Its a tough job, but it’s worth it!
So, take or leave any or all of this advice, hopefully you will be able to glean a helpful nugget and use it to help in the hardest but most rewarding job you will ever do.
Oh, and before I forget, some advice I was given which was my particular gem ‘Before the baby is born, go to the pictures and see a movie’. Its true, your cinema days are numbered. Trips to the cinema after baby comes will be like a bank heist involving weeks of preparation and careful planning, so get out while you can, enjoy now, and you will most certainly enjoy what’s to come.