I have heard it all, “my baby has been sleeping through the night since she was only 2 weeks old”, “my house was always immaculate when I had my first born”, and comments like “…. oh, is that all the milk you can express, I use to fill bottle after bottle” ……As a first-time mum such comments can feel like a punch in the face, especially when you have insecurities that your home isn’t as clean and tidy as it use to be, or that you have been trying to pump and all you can express is an ounce in an hour of trying. You feel exhausted and emotions are high.
I felt so much pressure to help my son hit certain milestones and do more as a mum just because of comments from others. I felt like i wasn’t doing enough even though i was. I would literally try to train my son to hit milestones that maybe he wasn’t ready to achieve yet, like standing on his own, which he didn’t do until about 11 months, he didn’t even crawl properly until then and didn’t start walking until he was nearly 14 months.
I felt so much anxiety with all the pressure around me that on my sons 1st birthday I made a promise to myself. I told myself that I am good enough, and that I will stop comparing milestones, and the cleanliness of ones home, I mean who needs the stress. My decision was to call BS on any parent claiming this and that to me, this isn’t a competition, don’t make us mere mortals feel inadequate because you have everything “under control”, and your baby is some kind of Matilda.
I told myself don’t let these bragging parents make you feel bad, and I’m telling you the same. So what if your not in control of the housework, or if you end up having a takeaway a few nights of the week just because you haven’t had the time for a weekly shop or mustered the energy to cook, and having time for a 5 minute shower feels like a spa day.
When it comes to your child, stop the comparison with other children, don’t worry if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet, that they haven’t had their first tooth cut through, or that they’re not walking yet. Trust me, every child develops at their own pace, it’s not a race, even though sometimes it can feel like one.
I found most of the parents who’s homes looked immaculate and had home cooked meals every night of the week, and who’s babies seemed to be leaps and bounds ahead of other infants with their development had extra help. Whether this was paid help like a cleaner, a nanny, au pair or simply doting grandparents who practically live next door; having help gives parents extra time to spend nurturing their child with certain milestones, it’s not that they are better parents, or have a child genius, they simply have an extra pair of hands and that’s all, and that’s a luxury many of us can’t afford or simply don’t have family and friends nearby.
The next time a parent makes a claim whether its BS or not, call it BS anyway (I certainly did – made me feel better for sure!), and remember that you are an amazing parent with an amazing, precious child who will be hitting their milestones when they are truly good and ready.
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