Stop it! Sayings and pearls of wisdom that no new mum wants to hear
The baby has barely taken its first breath and you’re already getting your first bit of unsolicited advice. Even if people mean well, the tips and sayings aren’t normally very useful. Here are 20 claims I’ve heard myself – along with 20 sarcastic answers.
After being in labour for twelve hours and then having a short stay in the maternity ward, I came back to our flat exhausted and with a baby. And that was how I started my new life as a mother. The fact alone that my husband and I went to the hospital a few days earlier with an empty Maxi Cosi and then came back with something living and breathing was absolutely absurd.
Nothing was the same as it was.
And as if that didn’t give me enough to process emotionally, people I knew and even those I hardly knew, both with and without children, sensed their opportunity to ask (inappropriate) questions, unsettle me with (ambiguous) statements or give me (unnecessary) advice.
Below are 20 statements I could have quite happily have survived without hearing. And, of course, with the answers I’d give today. Or, at least, that I’d be thinking to myself.
1. «Just sleep when the baby sleeps.»
Right enough. That’s a good idea. Especially as all newborns are permanently asleep anyway. Thanks in advance for dealing with my mountain of washing while I sleep, and for emptying the dishwasher and making lunch. Oh yeah, and on that note, I really need to have another shower – could you do that for me, too?
2. «You shouldn’t carry your child around that much.»
Why not? I’m actually so happy that my child will only fall asleep in my arms. Their little bed is just for show, after all. I also love the feeling of having someone constantly glued to me. Let’s face it. Me time is totally overrated. Apart from which, it means I get to do my workout at the same time – two birds with one stone and all.
3. «So, how exhausting is it being a mum?»
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a firm 100.
4. «Congratulations! You’re pregnant again.»
Hahaha, fooled you. I thought I’d leave my belly like that for a bit longer just to confuse everyone. Next week I’ll bounce back to my six-pack.
5. «It’s just a phase.»
OK, cool. In which case could we just skip straight to the next one? Because this damn shitty phase is lousy and has been going on forever.
Do I look tired? I’ll tell my kid they have to sleep through the night this time. Promise.
6. «So, how’s the little one sleeping?»
Pretty much not at all, with incredible consistency.
7. «You look so tired.»
It’s an imposition, I know. I’ll tell my kid they have to sleep through the night this time. Promise.
8. «Just you wait till they start to stand up.» (Can be replaced with «crawl», «walk», «teethe», «eat».)
Only then will I be worldly-wise, I know. It’s not like I haven’t had about 500 lessons in that.
9. «You’ll just have to see it through now.»
Yes, but fortunately without your help.
10. «You haven’t been in touch in ages.»
I’m sorry. I’ll do better. I mean, I had so much time to call you, after all. Like when I’m going from the shower to the wardrobe, for instance. Or while I’m sterilising the baby bottles I’d have a slot free.
11. «You should go to baby swimming lessons and take the baby for a massage.»
Oh, that’s nice of you to think of us but we prefer going to the baby spa.
12. «Try quietening them with a dummy»
Wow. That’s a mind-blowing idea. I can’t believe I never thought of that. Thanks so much for the tip.
13. «Little children, little problems. Big children, big problems.»
At first, I had no idea because I didn’t have kids. Now I have no idea because my child is still a baby. And then later on, I’ll have no idea because my child won’t be at school yet. Yip, I’ve understood the parenting principle.
14. «You spoil your baby too much.»
You’ve got a point. I help him get dressed, wipe his behind, breastfeed him and always rock him to sleep. I should really stop all that before it goes to his head.
When am I coming back to work? I’m staying on maternity leave forever and enjoying doing sweet nothing.
15. «Are you enjoying your maternity leave?»
Oh, to the fullest. I’ve never had such a long holiday.
16. «When are you actually coming back to work?»
Never. (With a deathly stare.) I’m staying on maternity leave forever and enjoying doing sweet nothing.
17. «What do you find to do at home all day?»
Oh, just a spot of changing nappies, breastfeeding, doing the laundry, rocking the baby to sleep, sterilising bottles, breastfeeding, cleaning up sick, soothing the baby, carrying them around, bathing them, changing their nappy, cooking, eating, breastfeeding, changing nappies, changing shit-stained clothes, doing the shopping, cooking, breastfeeding, changing their nappy, rocking them to sleep. But apart from that, not a lot really.
18. «You’ve changed since you had a baby.»
That’s so hard to believe. My life has only turned entirely on its head. Nonsense.
19. «Relax. Only relaxed parents have relaxed children.»
And only smart-arse parents have smart-arse kids.
20. «Don’t worry. It didn’t do any child any harm.»
If you’ve dished out any of these sayings, my well-meaning advice is to keep it to yourself in future. Why? Because it has nothing to do with you. And because every child, mum and dad is different. You can happily drop in your own experience and pearls of wisdom – but only when you’re asked for it.
Conversely, there are actually things nobody told me about giving birth that I wish I’d known. For instance that I’d still have blood running out of me weeks after I’d given birth. Meaning I’d have to wear XXL pads, aptly named «surfboarders». Recently, I wrote a piece about this taboo topic.
Have you been on the receiving end of any of the phrases on the list above? Or maybe there are other annoying things you’ve been told as a new mum or dad? Let us know in the comments.Header image: Fabian Stieger
These articles might also interest you