image by Gengiskanhg

Yesterday I was chatting to a new mum friend about the world of parenting. It can be a pretty daunting place. First there’s the pregnancy and how you’re carrying (is it a boy or a girl?) and then there is the pressure to be the best parent ever!!!!

I loved the way my friend put this and yes, I’m going to steal it for my own glory. She said that being a first time mum is like being in year 7 (she’s a high school teacher). You are new, wide eyed and terrified. You look around at all the other mothers with awe and a little insecurity. Out of the blue you find yourself standing in a baby warehouse surrounded by cots, prams and… what the heck are these? Breast pumps, Bumbo seats, wraps, booties and weird baby toys.

The second tier of motherhood is the second/third/fourth time mum. They’ve been here before. They were the pale, frightened first timer and now they know what they’re on about. They can wrap, burp, feed, rock their baby without a care in the world. They are the 9th graders. They almost own the joint, almost.

The 12th graders are the shop assistants. They know everything! Which pram does what and when you should use a stroller and what bottles are the bomb! Their cockiness is unsettling and comforting at the same time. Basically, you need someone  to show you the ropes. It’s like peer support, I guess. The bigger the peer the better.

There is so much to learn in the parenting world. Forget all the equipment you need to raise a baby, the most important thing you need to know is that you are capable, you can do this. You must do this. You should also know that for a lot of people, parenting means competition & guilt. If your child is not walking, talking and using the iphone before the age of 2 you are a failure.

And you MUST have them booked into kindygym, hop skip jump, kindamusic and swimming lessons at two weeks old or it is the end of the world. You will not have that superstar soccer player or Olympic champion if you don’t start them early. You are a failure if they can’t read before they go to school or if they’re shy it’s all your fault for sitting on your lazy bottom and instead of getting out of the house even though you know you’ll trip over your eyelids if you do.

You must be perfect, you must wear the right clothes and seem like you have it all together when inside (like everyone else) you’re screaming out for help and sleeeeeeep.

Ultimately, your happiness and those of your family comes first. Forget the competitive nature of parenting, because in the end, we all fail.