parent opinion

'Offer them as entertainment': All the things you DON'T have to do when you've just had a baby.

This week, Meghan Markle has done something selfish – again.

She’s travelled to complete her royal duties in London, without her son, Archie. Not only is this inconsiderate of the ruthless paparazzi who want to make a living off his image, but also, what about ailing Prince Philip? He’s 98, and this could have been the last time he’d see his great-grandson!

Well, so the media reports claim. It’s the old trope of ‘selfish’ they’ve used to describe Meghan since Archie was born, after which they only got secret births and closed Christenings and boring things like ‘prioritising privacy and safety’ for their headlines.

(It might be relevant to note that it’s claimed Meghan has orchestrated all of this, and none it is Prince Harry’s responsibility or choice whatsoever.)

But here’s the real newsflash; no mother is obliged to offer her baby as entertainment for others.

The expectation and pressure put on Meghan in terms of Archie is something many new mums will be able to relate to.

We all have our struggles… watch the Mamamia team confess to the times we were bad mums. Post continues after video. 

Video by MMC

Yes, of course it’s lovely to have friends and family interested in your child. But it’s rather annoying when you show up without your kid, in clothes you used to wear before your whole identity changed, stepping out of the baby bubble for just a minute, only to be met by the disappointment of other people.

ADVERTISEMENT

That makes you yell internally, “Um, hello, I was here first!”

Being a new mum, you have enough to deal with without the crippling weight of other people’s expectations. But it can feel like a turf war, at times. For example, do the in-laws or your parents get to give the first presents on Christmas Day, birthdays, any bloody special occasion?

A friend was repeatedly told by her in-laws that “We won’t be here for long!”, as emotional blackmail to secure every Christmas lunch – for a decade. It was great they did not die, but… well, you can see how this tactic was unfair.

Then there’s the minefield of who ‘gets’ Mother’s Day lunch, when in fact, the only mother relevant to your child is you.

It’s something not addressed in baby books, but the social politics of having a baby is a major issue for many new mums. It’s unfair, unnecessary, and exhausting. It can disempower a mother from choices. Just because one person chooses to do something with their baby, doesn’t mean the next mum has to, too.

And even though it feels like it’s really important to do that people-pleasing thing in that moment, the truth is, in the long-run, it’s not that big a deal; and if it is, that person is welcome to get over themselves.

Listen to This Glorious Mess, where hosts Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo talk all things parenting in 2020. Post continues after podcast.

As soon as you become a mum, the time for people-pleasing is over; you’re in control. Cherish your baby’s relationships with others but place as many boundaries as you like.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the things you absolutely do not have to do with your new baby:

  • Anything you can’t bear the thought of.
  • Put them in an itchy/weird/fugly outfit just because someone gleefully gave it to you.
  • Bring your baby to a social occasion when you want/need time for yourself.
  • Consider anyone else’s relationship with your baby apart from your own because you are the only mother that baby has.
  • Oblige anyone who wants to hold or feed your baby.
  • Let anyone take a photo on their phone with your baby.
  • Give in to any sort of emotional blackmail regarding people spending time with your baby.
  • Hear anyone sabotage someone else’s relationship with your child.
  • Make decisions based on another person’s age!

For those concerned about how Archie is going sans parents, there are reports that he’s been ordering cheese pizzas and watching violent vintage movies, and has successfully defended his home from two hapless intruders. He’s fine.

Feature Image: Getty.

00:00 / ???