New parents, your worst fears are realised: your teeny-tiny baby is judging you.
She can’t see very well, doesn’t know where her nose is, and is pretty sure you smell like home, but she’s definitely, definitely judging you.
And you are doing a terrible job.
That’s what we learned this week, from a very helpful article called: 10 ways you don’t realise you’re accidentally shaming your baby.
Here's a quick guide. If you have ever, ever done any of the following, you are definitely, definitely shaming your baby.
- Telling them there's no reason to cry. (Who are you to decide that? Their tears are as valid as yours.)
- Saying 'Be a Good girl/boy.' (What? They're not good enough for you already?)
- Whingeing about your baby to a friend in front of the baby. (Because they can definitely hear you).
- Joking about how smelly their nappies are. (Like your sh*t don't stink?)
- Stopping them throwing food. (They are expressing themselves, lady).
Babies are smarter than we think, people. They can observe all of the above behaviours, understand them to be negative and let them fester until they manifest as twitchy, adult neuroses.
And that's bad news for us, the parents. Because who among us has never complained loudly about a smelly nappy to a friend while simultaneously stopping our toddler throwing food and asking everyone 'WHY are you crying again? WHHHHY?'
Listen to Holly and Andrew talk baby-shaming on This Glorious Mess:
What we fail to understand as new parents, in our sleep-deprived, trackie-pant-wearing, day-and-night-merging state, is that we are bad people, ready to ruin lives.
So, in the interests of trying to make you a better person, here's a guide to a whole lot of things that I may have said to my babies when they were little that you absolutely must not, never-ever-never say.
- "You don't mind hanging out in your carseat under the table while I have a cheeky wine with my Thai do you? Thanks."
- "Why did you come here? To ruin everything? "
- "Your feet are oddly long for such a teeny-tiny person. What's that about?"
- "Don't bite my boob. Don't bite my boob. Don't bite my boob. DON'T BITE MY BOOOOOOOOOB!"
- "If you weren't so cute, I'd throw you out of the window right now." (this is definitely not best said in a cutesy, sing-song voice).
- "What do you mean me blaring House Of Cards while you feed doesn't make you feel very sleepy? What's wrong with you, baby?"
- "I can't believe you waited until we left the house to do that. That's just mean."
- "Why aren't you rolling? All the other babies at mothers' group are rolling. Are you trying to make me look like a bad mother?"
- "Why does your teething drool... smell bad?"
- "I love you more than spaghetti, more than wine and chocolate and days at the beach. More than coffee and ice-cream and hugs from your dad..."
The only reason you shouldn't say that last one is that it will be the only one of all the above statements that they won't actually remember to tell the therapist in 20 years time.
Don't waste your breath.
What do you think? Tell us below.
And listen to the whole episode of This Glorious Mess, here: