No Instructions Needed

Today’s lovely post is from Lindsey, aka Dexter’s Mum. You can find lovely Lindsey blogging here and tweeting here

This time last year we were all set for the imminent arrival of baby K-D. All the baby equipment was new and shiny. The OH was minus bags under his eyes and I had lovely pert boobs. I had read and digested nearly every baby book known to man, even reading aloud the bits that I thought were relevant to the OH (most of the books) and he loved this (not much). With every purchase came a huge cupboard box and a hefty instruction manual, each in at least 58 languages. We made a folder, titled it “baby instructions” and put all the booklets in the for future reference.
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Mummies Who Multitask

Black and white photo a family walking along the pavement, with the dad carryong a scooter and the mum pushing a pram containing two children

Another previously published post I’m afraid – life keeps getting in the way of new writing this week! This originally featured on another fab parenting site – The Blog Up North. 

Back when DorkySon was just a few months old, I had a moment. I was walking down the street, and for the first time I felt like I’d really made it as a parent. Why? Because for the first time I was managing to push a pram and drink coffee out of a cardboard cup at the same time.

I must have been watching too many Richard Curtis films, or reading too many chick lit novels, because in my hormone-addled head the definition of a Mummy Who Had Got Her Shit Together was exactly that – someone who could steer her baby while simultaneously sipping a hot beverage.

On reflection though, my pride doesn’t seem so misplaced. The two years since then have taught me that multitasking is one of the most essential parenting skills. “Stop running around” DorkyDad often says to me. But if I wasn’t running around – unloading the dishwasher, while also spooning mouthfuls of cereal into DorkySon’s mouth and squeezing the phone between my ear and my shoulder as I wait for someone at the doctor’s office to pick up – I wouldn’t get everything done. There are only so many hours in the day, and in order to get every item ticked off the to-do list, I often have to do three of them at once. Continue reading

Things they don’t tell you about parenting… Part 2

toddler holding assorted coloured crayons

A couple of days ago I posted Part 1 of ‘Things they don’t tell you…’ written when DorkySon was just a few months old. This is Part 2, covering the additional lessons I’ve learned over the last couple of years.

I was foolish enough to envisage that DorkySon child would be ‘part of my life’. That he would have his own room, where all his belongings would stay, and that there would still be parts of the house, and of my life, untouched by him.

Ha! Not so! DorkySon shares everything with me. He stashes his Lego bricks in my pillowcase. He sneezes, coughs and splutters his bodily fluids all over me, just to make sure that whatever cold he has, I catch too. And if he is eating something he doesn’t like, he will expect me to stick my hand out and catch it, when he spits it out.

In return, I am expected to share everything with DorkySon. Nothing is my own anymore. He will refuse his own sandwich but insist on eating half of mine. He will want to try every cleanser, toner and moisturiser I bring in the house, cheerfully oblivious to their price tags. He empties my underwear drawer, rearranges my bookshelves, and when I’ve got visitors he has been known to walk into the room with a handful of Kotex, saying “Dat?”.

So, acknowledging that having a child is all-consuming, life-altering, and very messy, here are ten other important lessons that I’ve learned during my time with DorkySon. Continue reading

Breast is best… but there’s no need to keep shouting about it

Grayscale photo of woman holding a small baby

Ahhhh. A week into my life as a blogger, and already I get to tackle one of the biggies. Breastfeeding!

You’d think after watching the fallout from Mairi Campbell-Jack’s thought-provoking post over on A Burdz Eye View recently, I’d know better, but hey, I will claim new blogger naievety and go for it.

*Takes a deep breath*

If I have to read the results of another study, giving yet another reason why breast is best, I will poke my eyes out. The latest one, which is splashed all over the papers today, states that breastfed babies develop fewer behaviour problems in later life.

Don’t get me wrong, I think breastfeeding, in general, is awesome. But what is the point of these studies? Who are all the resulting articles targeted at?

There are many women who, for one reason or another, choose not to breastfeed. I truly can’t believe that reading a story such as the one on the BBC website will do anything to change their minds.

There are many women who would very much like to breastfeed, but for one reason or another are unable to. As far as I can see, an article like this just rubs salt in the already painful wounds of such women, and increases the burden of guilt they may already be carrying.

There are many women who have successfully breastfed for anything from a few weeks to a few years, and are happy with their decision, but don’t feel the need to shout it from the rooftops. They, like me, probably roll their eyes when they see yet another headline about breastfeeding, and keep scrolling. (Or, y’know, go online and write a big ranty blog post about it…)

And then there are those other women, who dress their babies in t-shirts that say “I Love Mummy Milk” and raise an eyebrow disapprovingly when that one poor woman at the first antenatal class reunion brings out a bottle of formula. They are the only ones that care about the results of studies like this – because it gives them one more reason to feel good about themselves and one more link to post on their Facebook page.

I would truly love to see breastfeeding rates in the UK improve, because they are shockingly low. It is hard to argue with the fact that breastfeeding is good for your child’s health. In the current economic climate I would think the fact that it’s free would be a real selling point. But telling people that their children will be better behaved in five years if they breastfeed them now? It’s not going to work.

I would far rather see the money spent on such studies going towards initiatives that provide genuine breastfeeding support for those that need it; more health visitors working in communities where the rates are low, more breastfeeding specialists on maternity wards, more support groups, mentoring and buddying schemes…

Let’s stop finding new sticks to beat non-breastfeeders with, and instead spend our intellect, our money and our energy on more positive solutions. If we manage to do that, then maybe a few years down the line we will end up with a generation of impeccably behaved children. Somehow I doubt it, but the other benefits will be immeasurable.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash