I’ve become one of THOSE mothers!

I would NEVER give my child a dummy/soother.

I would NEVER feed my child from a jar or pouch.

I would NEVER let my child cry.

I would NEVER let my child leave the house in her sleeper.

I would NEVER leave the house with messy hair and no makeup just because I have a baby.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Prior to having Izzie I had a million preconceived notions of what I would be like as a mother. In my mind it was all wonderful  and I never had a stray hair or a bad day. I was just happy because I was going to have a baby and to do anything wrong would mean I was ungrateful for that gift I was being given and it would mean that I was not a “perfect” mother (inconceivable!). I would find myself walking in public actually judging other mothers in my mind for all the things they were doing “wrong”, I would NEVER become one of THOSE mothers. I was even guilty of doing this with my nearest and dearest and thinking back now the fact that I ever had those judgmental thoughts is really shameful and frankly quite naïve and pathetic.

Becoming a mother for the first time is daunting to say the least. You are on the steepest roller coaster and learning curve of your life and no matter how much advice people give you, ultimately you end up just having to figure it out on your own. You end up doing what works for you and usually those are the things that make life easier – “anything for an easy life” I can hear my husband saying. After all, why complicate matters. Isn’t it about doing the very best for your children and having a lot of fun doing it?!

The thing is, I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. I have had numerous very honest conversations with other new mums who have openly admitted to having been just as judgmental. I’m sure that some of you reading this will be internally acknowledging that this was or still is you. The lesson we ‘judgers’ all need to learn is that being a mum is hard work. Judging each other is so counterproductive. We should be each other’s biggest fans! I’ve never been able to completely understand why we as woman always seem to have an opinion about what others are doing wrong. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a primal instinct in that we are all innately fighting to be the most “perfect” woman, but perhaps it’s a simple as jealousy and envy as so many say it is. Whatever the reason behind this judgmental nature we seem to possess, we really need to work to change it. Why shouldn’t we be each other’s biggest fans?!

Since having Izzie my perspective has definitely changed. I feel I have in fact become enlightened to the trials of motherhood and it’s almost never easy! I have found my mummy friends to be my biggest supporters, I absolutely adore listening to their differing opinions and approaches to every aspect of child rearing. They have helped me to be confident in establishing a routine that works for our family and I know I always have them to bounce ideas off of. I am definitely their biggest fan and I can honestly say that in becoming a mother, I no longer look at another woman and judge her for how she chooses to raise her children. Instead I think about the things she is doing which I should perhaps try. Guess what?!? Sometimes, she’s right! I for one have proudly and quite intentionally become one of THOSE mothers.

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Guest Blog: A Gorilla Dad’s top 10 tips

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I, like many brave men before me, have just embarked on the biggest test of my manliness to date – fatherhood.

Like most fathers, my first thought was that I was happy to be a “producer” –  I have fulfilled my most basic human purpose: producing an offspring to continue the human race. I hope to produce more children to further continue of the human race, but, as I know it would continue with or without me, my simple hope is that one of my offspring will grow up to become be a world famous sportsman/woman, hugely successful businessman/woman, or…just someone that makes loads of money, and looks after good old mum and dad in their old age.

Now, I love my wife, she is awesome and my best friend. I also love kids, they are very cute and make me laugh, but, like most men, I am worried about being a good Dad. My attention span is limited to say the least; can I stare adoringly at our child for hours without getting distracted? No. Will I get bored of Iggle Piggle and want to punch him in the face? Maybe.

We have been blessed with a daughter who is, without doubt, the most perfect little creature I could have wished for. Putting aside the pregnancy (for another post, but involved telling my wife repeatedly she did not look like a whale, and an exorbitant mount of flatulence – blamed on the baby), I started the fatherhood journey happy, relaxed but slightly concerned about how on earth to look after a little person who can’t walk, talk, eat, clothe or bathe themselves, and who knows absolutely NOTHING. No knowledge, what so ever. But I decided to look at it as an opportunity to teach her all the things I know; a limited range of sports facts, drinking games (admittedly not handy for a few years), where to find the best pizzas in London, and directions to places).

So, as a new dad, here are my top 10 tips so far for fathers about to embark on this wonderful, tiring, stressful yet rewarding journey:

1.       Your wife is a natural  mother and thinks of the baby first, so just do what she says. If she wants you to make a bottle for the baby, stay on target and make the bottle. Do not get distracted by washing up, getting other bottles ready, making yourself or her a drink, Sky Sports, going to the toilet, downloading the next episode of The Wire on Sky Go extra or Whatsapp. These can wait. Do it now. Trust me.

2.       If you get the baby out of her cot first thing in the morning, change her nappy. A simple rule, but one you will feel like an idiot for forgetting “have you changed her?” – “No, maybe I should” – “well, her nappy is fuller than the BFG at an all you can eat buffet, so, yeah, maybe you should”.

3.       You can try to find out what your baby wants by studying her like the Grand National Form book, or by listening to your wife. “She looks so tired! I am putting her down for a nap”.  The response here is “yes, I was thinking exactly the same thing” (whilst trying to work out how she looks tired, as she looks fine to you).

4.       Your little bundle of joy now is the boss. She dictates what you do. She may be a few hours, days, weeks, moths old, doesn’t matter, you now work for her. Your life revolves around her. So embrace it.

5.       Bottled formula milk smells terrible, but in a weird way you will get accustomed to it.

6.       You now sleep with some kind of lamp on, and will do so forever.

7.       Babies do so many farts, and produce so much wind, it’s ridiculous (and very amusing). Maybe it was the baby’s fault you wished for a gas mask for 9 months during the pregnancy.

8.       Know the limitations of your power. Your biggest strength is that you have arms and can carry stuff. Never ever overlook this, or think your remit goes beyond this. Your main job is to carry things to the car, back from the car, from one room to another. You are a carrier. This is what you do. Your mission is to get x amount of stuff (for 3 people this normally involves 5 – 7 bags full of various items, including the biggest bag containing your baby’s “stuff” – even though she is by far the smallest and her clothes use the least material) to a set location. This is where you can really go to town; go crazy! YOU get to control how you carry things and in what order. This is the one thing that is now in your control, so enjoy your freedom.

9.        If you think you are tired, your wife is more tired, so never complain or expect sympathy. This counts if you are ill, have a cold, you are stressed as the baby won’t stop crying or you are stressed about work. Whatever you think you feel, your wife will feel it more but generally not complain. So do not waste your time.

10.   Last, and my biggest tip of all. Never, ever, and I mean ever, come home, look around and say “what have you been doing all day?”. Golden rule number 1. And it sounds so simple! You will not always come home to a happy smiling baby, laughing wife, washing done, dinner made, house cleaned, so never expect it or wonder why. Soon you will have the baby on your own for a day, and if you manage to leave the house you have done well. Even if you didn’t mean it the way it came across, this one sentence is one you should never, ever say. Practice saying it now. Go to the mirror so you can see your lips move and hear the sentence out loud. You have proved you can say it. Now completely delete it from existence, because if you do say it, no matter how much you have followed rules 1 -9, I promise, you will regret it………..

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There’s no i in mummy or daddy

Why do you stop saying I and me when you have a baby? It’s a phenomenon we’ve all observed, and one that leaves me completely baffled. “Come and give daddy a cuddle” says my husband, “Daddy loves you”, “Should daddy clean that bum?”. Maybe we’re still getting used to being “mummy” and “daddy”, maybe we’re subconsciously trying to reiterate to the baby that we are his mum and dad (as if he didn’t know?) or maybe parenthood brings on some sort of existential crisis?

Answers on a postcard please.