Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Undermined Times

It's hard to trust your gut when you are a parent. You want to, you try to, but there is a little nagging feeling in the back of your mind, reminding you that you are new to this, and that there is a good chance your child will be asking you to fund their shrink bills when they're 25 years old (retaliate: show them the receipts you haven't got around to throwing out, your pot belly, your grey hair and your mortgage repayments). Until that rather awkward discussion ensures a quarter of a century from now (yikes), here's a list of people you may find yourself listening to at midnight, after a 4 hour battle at bedtime (or feeding, or bathing, or whatever plays to the tune of Merry Hell in your household on a daily basis):

  1. Oprah. Come on. She's Oprah. She's bound to have something on her website, TV show, other TV show and magazine that will help.
  2. Dr Phil. Same, but with a mo and a degree in RE-AL-ITY, people!
  3. Dr Oz. Same again, but with a California tan and an ability to make every topic about your sex life.
  4. Other mums. And not just friends. People in the supermarket line.
  5. Your mum or MIL. If they can manage to get past telling you how gorgeous your child is, and how utterly perfect he is, there is some good advice in there.
  6. Parenting magazines. These things are mine fields, and usually result in you second-guessing everything from how you settle your baby to what brand of wipes you use and how you decorate the nursery.
  7. Books. Same, but with fewer adverts and more pages.
  8. Health professionals. This can be a hit or miss area. If you find a GP who is supportive with current baby knowledge and a gentle approach, court them. Flowers, candy, the whole bit.
  9. Strangers in the cafe who tsk and give you that "aw, you don't really know what you're doing, do you, darling?" look that makes you want to throw the nearest thing at hand in their direction (which you don't because despite the secret urge to piff your kid at them, you don't. And that's what makes you a good mum). Their advice is usually that your baby is either tired or hungry. Not a genius observation, really. I mean, they're hardly arching their back and grizzling because they're frustrated by the stance taken by the Labour Party on gay marriage.
  10. Parenting websites. Kinda like magazines, only with endless amounts of anecdotes, quasi-scientific "facts" or bullshit wives tales from 'ordinary mums, just like you'.
So there you have it. Either one of these will provide the magic bullet, or drive you nuts. Whatever happens, eventually your sweet one will grow out of whatever it is that causes you to consider tracking down Mary Poppins*, or you will move them into the garage when they are too big to rock in your arms and change the locks.

*Fictional character. Try to eat your greens and get more sleep.

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