I think I speak completely on my own behalf here, but as a new parent I must admit, I had this firm belief when Charlotte was born that I was going to be the “perfect parent”. I thought that our little princess would be the most perfect baby and human being in the whole wide world.
She would sleep for hours uninterrupted, would never cry, would feed without issue, would never get sick and we would constantly stimulate her so she was always staying in front of her “milestones”. She would then develop into an advanced infant and child who would have mastered chess, three different languages, golf and tennis by the time she was 10.
She would then eventually grow up to be a mild-mannered teenager who would choose books over boys, Q&A over The Kardashians, and would never back-chat or disobey her parents. She would graduate from high school in Year 9, turning down offers to join both the women's PGA golf and WTA tennis circuits, to be accepted into medicine at as a childhood prodigy.
She would then graduate with high distinction, find an amazing job, establish her career and then at the age of 25 meet the man of her dreams, who uncannily had the same qualities of her dad but slightly better looks, marry him and give Mrs Hughes and I many grandchildren to look after...
I still hold on to the latter expectations staying true, but I couldn't be more unrealistic with my "perfect" expectations for the first eight months. Of course I jest about Charlotte's life over next next few years, but there certainly is an element of truth to my expectations of the first few months of Charlotte's life. In hindsight it was unhealthy for me to expect such a perfect entry into this world.
I remember a few things in particular over the first six months of Charlotte's life that I had either read or heard from other parents, or read from "parenting experts" that I thought to myself, "that is excellent advice, I'll write that down and make sure I stick to that". If this was an episode of Family Feud, you'd hear a massive "bam bowwwwwww" right about now. Two months in of being a SAHD, and guess what - I've broken all the rules. If these were the 10 commandments of being a parent to a newborn, I'd be sweating it downstairs with Satan in hell...
Thou shall not allow thy child screen time. Guilty. God bless ABC2.
Thou shall not feed child anything but fresh fruit purée or veg purée. Guilty. Charlotte love, love, loves those squeeze packs you get from the baby section at the shops and is currently going through a phase of spitting out all things painstakingly home-cooked and prepared.
Thou shall not feed child hot chips. Guilty. As. Sin.
Thou shall not think evil thoughts toward your baby. Guilty. Many times guilty.
Thou shall pay 100 per cent of your attention, 100 per cent of the time to your baby. Guilty. Honey, have you seen Charlotte? I've lost her again. Oh wait, there she is, sucking on a power cord again.
Thou shall not let your baby cry. Guilty. Guilty at least four times per day when I put her down for a sleep, but she still looks at me with so much love and smiles after she wakes from her naps that I'm sure her tired cries aren't a major issue.
Thou shall hold thy baby whenever possible. Guilty. Have you ever met our baby? She constantly wriggles likes she is having an epileptic seizure. PS: Do you want your baby sleeping with you when they are 25? No. I didn't think so. Put your baby down and let them explore.
Thou shall not apply the "10 second rule". Guilty. I often catch myself dusting and blowing all the dog hair off Charlie's rusk, saying - "It's still good, it's still good!".
Thou shall not "rough-house" with thy child. Guilty. Are you kidding? Charlotte loves being caught in the "possum trap" and the way I yell "weeeeeeeeeeeeeee" when I throw her up in the air.
As you can see I am far from being a perfect parent according to most of the advice you may read on parenting websites or that comes from well meaning family member or friends.
I guess the moral of my story is, parenting is hard. And being a first time parent is even harder still. There really is no right or wrong way to do it.
Us new parents don't have any comparisons for parenting to work from, and we often get given advice from our parents, other family members, from books or from websites, which despite all their best intentions, may just not be applicable or relevant to your baby and your situation or the way you want to bring up your child.
Take it from me, you'll find your own way to do things. It may not be "textbook" but it will work for you, your partner and your baby. And you know what, as long as you love the absolute crap out of your baby, your baby will be fine.
In other news, and with what could quite possibly be the best news I've had to pass on to you all so far is that Charlotte said her first word this week and it was (*drumroll please)...
Obviously I'm absolutely overjoyed that my hard work, persistence and brain-washing has finally paid off over the last two months! The only downside is that she'll probably quickly learn to say, "can I borrow some money"...
What rules have you broken as a parent?