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"The 9 apologies to my friends with kids. I'm truly sorry."

It really is true what they say; until you’ve walked in the shoes of others you really don’t have a clue what’s going on.

Okay, so that’s not the exact saying, but you get the gist. After entering the world of parenthood a few months ago I have had cause to reflect on my interactions with new parents, pre-sprog.

It’s not until you’re up to your elbows in poo, with sore nipples and a dull headache due to no sleep that you truly begin to understand the plight of the new parent.

And so, now, as an understanding of motherhood begins to take hold, I feel a long overdue apology is in order for those friends of mine who reproduced first. Here are my top nine apologies, in no particular order.

1. I’m sorry for overstaying my welcome.

You’re a new parent, I know, but I’m your best friend, surely staying for two hours and watching you rock your newborn with tired eyes, while trying to maintain calm and look like you know what you’re doing is okay, right? Wrong!

Only now do I understand that anything over an hour is a no-go zone, and even that is a stretch for anyone other than family. A new parent is not going to think you’re rude if you pop in for a mere 20-minute cuddle.

2. I’m sorry for buying you beautiful clothing with buttons.

Evil, evil buttons!  Yes, that Marie Claire growsuit is extremely sweet. However, have you ever tried putting nine tiny buttons through nine tiny holes on three hours’ sleep? Come on, there’s a reason Bonds wondersuits are so popular. Please buy me five!

Image via bonds.com.au

3. I’m sorry for buying you big toys.

Sure, you live in an apartment, but I saw this enormous playcentre thing that makes coffee and cooks you dinner and thought you had to have it!  No, I don’t. I live in a shoebox, please give me something I can use, like vouchers, nappies or, better yet, a cleaner!

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4. I’m sorry for giving you noisy toys.

Do I really need to tell you why? Just leave it.

5. I’m sorry for silently judging.

Is that a dummy I see in your newborn’s mouth? Did you sterilise that when he spat it out? Are you using disposable nappies?

My catch-cry as a parent has become ‘whatever works’. It’s incredible how you waddle around, nine months pregnant, all smug and know-it-all after reading Baby Love, talking about all the things you will and will not do as a parent. Took us less than a week to break our first ‘rule’ and we’re still going. Remember, it’s not nearly as easy as it looks. It’s not all powder, coos and milky smiles.

6. I’m sorry for not doing more.

Having a new baby is hard. Having visitors with a new baby is harder – particularly for the house-proud among us who would rather forego a nap than have a visitor look at a dirty floor. Please, offer to do the dishes, take the nappy bin out, cook, anything!  One of the best gifts I got was a container of home-made scones and a jar of granola. Amazing!

7. I’m sorry for the unsolicited advice.

Ooooh … someone looks tired!  How many times have I said that? Too many! Leave the parenting to the parents. If they want advice they’ll ask for it. Remember how you feel when someone tells you how to do your job.

8. I’m sorry for using my nieces and nephews as examples.

Every. Baby. Is. Different. Say it with me: ‘Every baby is different’. We don’t want to hear what your niece did at that age. We don’t want to hear how Olivia was sleeping through at six weeks.  We don’t want to see that look of confusion on your face when we put our baby down for another sleep because Toby didn’t sleep that much. Every. Baby. Is. Different.

9. I’m sorry for not noticing how much your world has changed.

The new parent doesn’t have time to get excited about the new restaurant to hit Flinders Lane (if we even know about it at all), they dream about espresso martinis, but know that their next one is far away – if it can be timed with feeds, sleep and a sunny disposition. Sure, they still want to hear about the outside world – really we do, we do get sick of talking about our babies, it’s just hard for us to talk about anything else when they’re all that’s going on in our world – but they’re not completely living in it yet. A little understanding of the adjustments required goes a long way. Remembering lunch instead of dinner and coffee instead of cocktails is a step in the right direction.

Do you have any to add to the list?

Carly Greenwood is an editor, writer and mother of a five-month-old.

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