Things you shouldn’t say to a first-time Mum
Maybe I’m just being a big grump, or overly-sensitive, but one thing I’ve found since becoming a parent is that people want to share their opinions. I love hearing advice and opinions from other parents, and I love being able to chat about Dougie with friends of mine, but there are some comments and questions I’ve had over the last year or so that have really bothered me…so naturally I thought I’d put them into a blog post!
You look tired
I know. I know that no matter how much make-up I wear, no matter what I wear and no matter how I do my hair, I’m going to look tired. I’m currently adjusting to learning how to keep a small human alive and healthy, and the small human doesn’t yet know how damn good sleep is. I was used to lie-ins and eight consecutive hours of sleep, now I basically go to sleep in the knowledge that at any moment a scream or cry will wake me. But being told I look tired will not help me look any better. On the other hand, if the sentence is followed by ‘…so go and have a nap, I’ll take the baby’ – then by all means!
He’s the spitting image of his Dad!
I’ve never been good at looking at babies and thinking ‘Ohhh he’s got your nose’ etc, so when Dougie was born, I just saw Dougie. However, all I ever heard was how much he looks like Sam – and while that is definitely a lovely thing, it’s a bit frustrating/upsetting to feel like the little baby, who I carried for over 41 weeks and then gave birth to, looks nothing like me! Just say how cute he is. That’ll do just fine 🙂
It must be nice having so much time off!
I got this comment quite a lot. Maternity leave is not time “off” – it’s the complete opposite. You are literally on-call 24/7.
Shouldn’t your baby be doing ‘x, y, z’ by now?
ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT. I’m not going to sit and compare Dougie to other children. Dougie might not be walking as well as another baby, but maybe his motor skills are better. It doesn’t matter. As long as he is healthy, he’ll get there. It’s great if your baby is mastering every skill, but please don’t sit and pit them against each other.
When’s the baby due?
I got this question from a stranger when Sam and I were on holiday. Six months after I’d had Dougie. There’s really nothing to knock a post-partum body quite like this. I cried – did I still look like I was carrying a baby?! Unless you are 100% certain that someone is pregnant – and you know them, DO NOT ASK THIS.
Stay-at-home Mum? What do you do all day? OR Working Mum? Don’t you feel bad leaving your baby all day?
I can answer both of these. Dougie goes to nursery some mornings, and while the first few days I felt so sad and guilty, I’m so glad he goes. He loves it, he’s thriving – he’s never sad when I take him there, and he’s always excited to see me. And I work because I have to, and because I want to use my brain and my skills, not because I don’t want to spend time with Dougie.
And days where I’m at home, or working from home, what do I do all day? I get Dougie up, I change him, I give him breakfast, I attempt to get myself dressed while keeping him entertained and happy. We’ll play together, or go for a walk and run errands or get the shopping. I put Dougie down for a nap and then I frantically try and do as much work as I can. I try and keep the flat as tidy as I can, I’ll usually do one of the many piles of washing that’s building up and then hang that up. In the afternoon we’ll go to a baby group, or see some of our NCT friends. Sometimes we’ll go to the park. Sometimes Dougie won’t nap so I’ll plonk him in the buggy and walk for a couple of hours so he gets a decent nap. I make his dinner, sometimes I make dinner for Sam and I, usually with Dougie attached to my hip. We give him his bath, we read him a bedtime story and give him his bottle, then we put him to bed. Then I usually carry on working into the evening. Sometimes Dougie sleeps through the night, sometimes I’m up and down with him for hours. That’s what I do all day.
I know a lot of the time, these questions or comments come from the right place, but we’re dealing with sleep deprivation, sad babies, happy babies, clingy babies, tired babies, and being a first-time Mum can be terrifying, as well as exciting and amazing, so sometimes little comments can carry a huge weight.
Have you heard any of these comments if you’re a Mum?