Parenting: the good, the bad & the ugly
This is my first blog post for The Parenting Chapter and I thought I'd start with the obvious… parenting, of course!
Before I begin, I feel I should provide the following disclaimer: I am a first-time mum to a 10-month-old baby boy, and thus, I can’t claim to be experienced in every aspect of parenting. However, being a mum is such a steep learning curve and I have discovered so much in the past 10 months. My aim is to pass this knowledge on to prospective parents and parents who self-judge when it comes to how they raise their child. The Parenting Chapter blog will be a warts-and-all view on what I've learned so far and will provide the help and advice I believe many parents are lacking.
Information is king, and although the internet provides us with the not-so-helpful answers to ‘Why is my baby doing green poos?’ or even better, ‘How do I suck the snot out of my child’s teeny tiny nostrils using an oversized aspirator?’, there is just too much information and it's overwhelming. I want to provide consistent, tried-and-tested information and solutions to parents, and this is the centrepiece for The Parenting Chapter courses.
Detailed below are three things I struggled with initially and still do now on a daily basis as parent. I believe this is due to a lack of information and insight when I was a prospective parent, new parent and now parent with a baby approaching the end of his first year. I want to encompass the good, the bad and the ugly sides of parenting. Clint Eastwood, eat your heart out.
In this post, I have focused on myself and my husband, not because we are narcissists, but because we both felt we neglected each other in those early days, while the world revolved around my son.
1. Doing your best and why you need to adapt your personal expectations
In my former life as a marketer, my best had to be perfection. To the point where it impacted my mental well being and I shied away from doing things in case I ‘failed’. Along came my son and I tried to apply this same way of thinking to a new baby who did what he wanted, when he wanted, which made me feel constantly disappointed in myself. Eventually the penny dropped and I realised that nobody knows what they're doing! Whether your baby sleeps through the night at six months or six years old, it is often down to luck. I wished somebody could've helped both my husband and I to understand how I needed to adapt my way of thinking and to let go of perfectionism before having a baby.
2. How sensitive you become as a parent
Before I had my son, I was sensitive at times, but able to brush it off and move on. Another day at work, another load of BS from my bosses was the attitude. However, give me my own flesh and blood and ask me, "Why are his veins so visible on his forehead" and I go into meltdown, feeling guilty that it's my fault and there must be something wrong with him! Cue the doctor being called for the 10th time that week. The reality was that the poor chap has inherited my see-through complexion. That’s all. As time has passed, I've learned to not take things people say to heart, especially insensitive comments. And I try not to blame myself for everything, although this one is still a struggle.
3. Mum guilt
Arghhhh, mum guilt. It can be as fleeting as feeling happy that the baby is finally asleep so you can watch the next episode of Game of Thrones, but then feeling bad that you’re happy the baby is out of the way. On a grander scale, it appears when you go off to work for a whole day and enjoy every second, but suddenly feel like the worst mum in the world for having left your child at home and, worst still, for enjoying yourself. My conclusion on mum guilt is that it will never go away, even when your children have grown up. God knows how it feels with more than one child in tow and comments are welcomed on this one and how to manage the guilt.
So in conclusion, parenting can be mentally testing. A lot of focus is placed on the physical aspects and the negative mental aspects, such as postnatal depression, but what about the stuff in between that I’ve mentioned above. The stuff that needs a coping mechanism attached to it to be able to keep it in check. Stay tuned for more on this. I hope you enjoyed reading my first post and welcome to The Parenting Chapter!