It occurred to me last night, and again this morning, and again on the way to work in the car, that I have quite a lot more to say about early motherhood. Principally, I want to own up to all the things I did ‘wrong’. Apologies for my excessive use of inverted commas the last few days, but they do seem necessary at this particular juncture. (And, as a complete aside, clearly, writer’s block is no longer an issue!!)

So here, in no particular order, is a full admission of all my ‘wrongness’ as a first time mother.

  • My kids never did tummy time. Never. They hated it. It made them puke, scream and face plant, and it stressed me out completely. According to every expert out there, tummy time is vital for the development of their spine etc etc. Guess what? My kids both figured out how to walk anyway, right about when they were supposed to. 
  • Sometimes, when the screaming had been particularly persistant, I would put them in their crib, close the door, walk away to another room and have a good scream myself. Seemed a better option than screaming at them. Sometimes the car was my screaming venue of choice.
  • I gave them both a soother. Shock horror!! With D, I was more cautious and held out a good three weeks. M? Day 2. Didn’t affect breastfeeding in the slightest. In fact, affected it so little, that she refused a bottle entirely till she was ten months old and had no choice any more because I was back at work.
  • I started solids before 6 months, even though they were both breastfed, and again, current wisdom indicates that’s a big no no for breastfed babies (I’m not sure why when bottle fed babies can have solids after 4 months). Either way, I wasn’t holding out – they were practically taking the fork from my hand well before the six month mark.
  • I never used follow on formula once they turned one. Off the formula, on to cow’s milk. 
  • I carried them constantly.Spoiling them apparently
  • Sometimes (gasp!!!!) I used food FROM A JAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • There were periods where they subsisted on nothing but weetabix. Literally. Refused everything else. There was also a porridge phase. And a toast phase. Right now, M is in a dry pasta/rice/potatoes/noodles phase
  • I let them drink from a bottle till they were over two. Well over.
  • I let them watch TV
  • I let the dogs lick their faces
  • When I managed to escape for a whole hour by myself to do something as mundane as the food shop, I would literally dance down the driveway with excitement
I’m sure there’s more. I’m sure there’s lots more. But that’s what’s coming to mind right now. I’d like to say that doing all of the above was easy. It wasn’t. I spent 99.9% of my time riddled with guilt, because I was doing it ‘wrong’. Turns out I wasn’t, and it took a long, long time to see that (thank you Therapist). I was doing what worked for us. Motherhood is hard. If your baby is fed, clothed, warm, and above all loved – that’s enough. I said it yesterday, I’ll say it again – burn the parenting book!!!

This article has 2 Comments

  1. this is fun!
    makes me feel so much better to know there are other bad mums out there 🙂 If you let the standards of internet and books guide you, you wonder if there is any parent left with their children, most should have been taken by social services according to the books and the "helpful mummy pages"!!!

    – She is 4 and still needs her dummy at night and we still haven't managed up the courage to throw it out. We tried over christmas, and it's still there…
    – we're inconsistent as hell
    – when I was depressed and lying on the sofa when they came home (2 years old): Yeah, mummy's ill again, let's go get chips!
    – I breastfed for 2 months and was utterly miserable and jumped for joy that I had a reason to stop ( I had to have an operation) She's had formula and we both felt much better straight away.
    – cow's milk from day 1 after she turned 1. (hey, she's dutch)
    – utterly spoiled with lots of toys ( mostly inherited from my sister, but you are supposed to put some away and change them out, instead, we have tons and tons in the living room)
    – Daycare for 3 or 4 days since she was 5 months. she loved it.
    – shock horror, jars! ( not always but some)
    – shock horror, at 2 she ate lamb with port sauce and loved it. The port was definitely not evaporated. we still eat this now and again.
    – bottle well over 2 years.
    – Baby TV at night to get her to sleep in the first year. now she can watch dora before going to bed.
    -she still crawles into our bed every night and we let her as waking up with the three of us is soo sweet.
    – if she doesn't like something I cooked, she get's a dry cracker and there are weeks where she eat mostly that at night. On the other hand she loves food and eats lots of different things, so she'll catch up when she's hungry. She also eat a lot of fruits (is that an appology? )

    There's just so many things that other mums do different and 99.999999999% they come out just fine…. .

    Annemiek

    1. 🙂 D had soother till 4 and we only got him off it because we actually lost it on the way home one day and didn't realise till bedtime. M is ADDICTED to hers. She's 3 and a half. Love the night time shnuggles, love them. M likes to be as close as possible, usually with her face pressed up against mine and her little arms around my neck. Gorgeous.
      We're all doing fine!!

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