Sleep when the baby sleeps! Don’t spoil the baby…you’re making a rod for your own back carrying that baby around all the time! He’s not sleeping because your breast milk isn’t good – it’s drying up! Don’t formula feed, it’s evil! His teeth are sore? Put rum on his gums – that’s the only thing that really works… Leave the housework and just be with your baby in the moment; but also remember – tidy house, tidy mind! Lower your standards – just embrace the chaos (but don’t lower your standards so low that people think you’re not coping). Enjoy every minute! If the baby bites, bite it back. Only talk to your baby in lullaby tones or they will be angry babies. Clean when the baby…oh wait, that isn’t one.
Watch: Things Mums never hear. Post continues below.
Anyway, you get the picture.
Just like birthing babies and weeing in your pants a little every time you laugh, advice and motherhood seem to go hand-in-hand. As soon as you’re pregnant everyone you’ve ever met is suddenly overcome with the desire to tell you everything you must do to survive.
So, what is the best mothering advice? What are the gems of wisdom that will save your sanity, especially in the early days of mothering, and what is the rubbish you can immediately toss aside?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I remember being bombarded with tips on how to handle all the changes ahead of me. There was unsolicited advice everywhere.
The bigger my belly swelled, the more people seemed to make a beeline for me in crowded places, honing in on me to touch my belly and tell me the must-buy items, the ways I should birth, how I should feed my baby when it was born and even how I should nourish myself in pregnancy (“how about I make you decaf instead of the regular coffee you just ordered…you know, for your baby’s health?”)
People just seemed to know how I should mother my child. There was advice from his first breath (haha, just kidding, there was advice from pre-egg fertilisation – I didn’t escape those experts) and the advice went all the way through to what I should do when my unborn son married and left me for his future wife (endear yourself to the wife, no matter how awful she is.)
Anyway, because I wasn’t a mum, I didn’t know which advice to store up and commit to memory and which to dismiss.
Looking back, I realise I took on a lot of the stupid stuff (like thinking it was my milk, me, the way I was mothering instead of just a baby development phase when things were tricky) and I dismissed some really good wisdom.
I dismissed advice about buying lots of little cute things because my baby would grow out of them quickly…even though he did.