Oh hey, my name’s Ted and for the last few days, I’ve been in a maternity ward with my parents, surrounded by clued-up midwives who attended to our every need. Clean sheets, warm showers and a little red button to push if something went wrong – it’s been awesome.
Now I’m home and they’re freaked out, bone-tired (because I like to party between 1am and 5am) and worried they might accidentally kill me.
Mum is also unaware of the large streak of poo across her face (mine, sorry) and the house looks like a dump – but everyone wants to come over for a visit. Everyone.
Here are a few things I want you to know before showing up and scaring them even more:
I know you want to meet me (who wouldn’t), but mum hasn’t slept more than three consecutive hours in seven days. Her brain is like cold mashed potato, she’s slumped on the sofa in a milk-stained t-shirt and I’ve vomited on her three times (again, sorry mum). Please check if there’s a good time to visit, and don’t be late. Her brain can’t cope with any more unexpected surprises.
Be that friend.
Text my parents a few hours earlier to ask, “I’m going to the shops – can I bring you anything?” Chances are, they’re running low on something essential (wine or chocolate).
Show up healthy.
Wash your hands and keep the snotty colds in your own houses, people. I haven’t had my major vaccinations yet and am basically defenceless.
Tell me I’m cute.
Even if I have the face of a shrivelled monkey, say I’m gorgeous. My adorability (in my parent’s eyes) is their only coping mechanism for the sleep deprivation.
Tell mum she’s cute, too.
She cannot remember the last time she showered. She’s leaking from weird places, her boobs feel like two sacks of rocks and her stomach resembles a withered balloon. She’s finally mustered the energy to comb her hair and squeeze her ass into a tracksuit. Tell her she looks great. She knows you’re totally lying, but doesn’t care.
Don’t forget dad.
Okay, so he doesn’t have engorged boobs and a foo like a bag of red ribbons, but dad needs plenty of lovin’ too. Give him a big man-hug, and ask how he’s doing.
Don’t say you’re tired.
Unless you’ve had a newborn, you have no concept of tired. I’m like an alarm that goes off at random intervals, sometimes stopping after a few beeps, sometimes not switching off for hours. My parents lie wide awake, wondering if it’s safe to go back to sleep because any minute now, I’m going to go off again. Even if you’ve pulled four all-nighters in a row, do not say you’re tired. Ever.
Mothers of newborn babies will probably be feeling like this. Post continues below.
For the love of boobs, I don’t want (or need) any more stuffed toys. Mum and dad are struggling to find the time to eat, let alone cook, so bring food. Bake a lasagne and brownies and package it up in disposable containers, because their brains can’t cope with remembering to wash and return your precious matching crockery. Throw in a bottle of wine and don’t even think about saying ‘yes’ if they offer to open it. That stuff is their nectar of the Gods squeezed from the udder of heaven. It must not be shared with impostors under any circumstances.
Wait for the green light to pick me up.
I know you’re desperate to hold me, to stroke my peach-fuzz head and watch in awe as I wrap my tiny hand around your finger. However, please wait until I’m handed to you and don’t be offended if the opportunity doesn’t arise. I like to stay close to my parents and may not want to be handed around like a football, especially if I have a tendency to spontaneously spew in people’s faces. #sorrynotsorry
If you’ve got me, don’t jig me.
Enough with the rapid-fire bouncing on your knee, the loud voices and weird, wide-eyed expressions right up in my grill. Keep it quiet and low-key and if I start wailing, hand me back to my subordinates (mum or dad).
No advice (please).
You may be a seasoned parenting expert, but no one is in the zone to attentively absorb your well-meaning advice, especially mum. I know you think you know why I’m screaming (trapped wind), but let me figure it out with mum and dad. We’ll get there together – eventually.
Be the host.
Don’t just sit there – put the kettle on. Vague, open-ended questions about what we ‘might need help with’ are not helpful. If you see something that needs doing, just do it. Mum and dad will not be offended. You’ve just made their lives 100% easier for the next twelve hours.
Tell mum she’s amazing.
Giving birth to me was one of the scariest, most beautiful and awe-inspiring experiences my mum will ever have. Whether I was pushed out or pulled out, she needs plenty of credit for the amazing thing she did. Look her in the eye and tell her she’s incredible (because, in my eyes, she really is).
Don’t be a lurker.
Come and visit us, by all means. Visitors from The Other World are appreciated. However, please understand the superhuman levels of brainpower and energy it took to even contemplate your arrival. Stay one hour, tops. Then…how can I put this politely? Buh-bye.
Did we miss anything? Anything you’d like to add?