Thursday, 20 November 2014

What the Parenting Books don't tell you.

Parenting books.  The bookshops are flooded with them.  And I was an avid and naive reader of them until I realised one thing.  They weren't about my child.

Here are the things parenting books don't tell you:

1. When you have tried the controlled crying, the 'shhh pat' method (yes, it really exists and yes, I really did try it), co-sleeping, rapid return, gradual withdrawal and all sorts of other ways of making your baby sleep at night and NONE of them work, you have not failed.  

2. Sometimes ignoring a toddler's tantrum involves allowing them to follow you around the house screaming for hours on end.  Wear ear plugs.

3. You cannot force a baby to open their mouth when you are trying to feed them mushed up, snot-looking puréed broccoli.  It just goes all over their face instead and adds to the smeared bogey already on their cheek.

4. Some babies hate lying on their stomachs for 'tummy time'.  They will still be able to sit, talk, walk and do their GCSE's.  

5. I have never met a child who likes to stay still on the 'naughty step'.  Instead the battle then becomes 'stay on the naughty step or you will have to sit on the naughty step'. What?  Exactly.

6. Despite trying all the advice given to you, sometimes you will still feel like the worst mother in the world and you will want to run, screaming and flinging your arms around, out of the house.  In those moments, lock yourself in the bathroom.  If you haven't got a lock on your bathroom door for safety's sake, get one for your own safety.

7. When you leave your children to learn negotiation skills during an argument, expect to have to physically pull them apart seconds later when they are punching and kicking each other.  

8. I'm all for consequences, but make sure the consequences you give aren't more of a punishment for you.  Never, for example, ban screen time while you are making the tea.

9. Expect to be an expert on all alien body parts.  You will need to know how to answer statements such as 'Mum, my penis is keeping me awake.'

10. Spending 'quality time' with your children is very important.  But don't expect this to affect their behaviour.  They will continue to moan and cry at you, despite the fact that you have spent hours following intricate Lego instructions with them.  

11.  Some days your parenting brainwaves will work, and some days they will not.  All you can do is pick yourself up, dust off the insults hurled and the broken promises, and carry on.  

And I've only done 13 years.  After all this, the next 13 are going to be a breeze, surely? 

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