Expectation vs Reality – The first few months of parenting

Before I get into the deep stuff, having been a parent for 5 months basically means I know nothing and having only known about it for 6 months means I’m am literally the last person you should ask for parenting advice. Therefore don’t all jump down my throat accusing me of thinking I know best. Because I assure you, I don’t.

So last week a post went viral after a woman (and new mother) claimed she was fed up parents turning parenting into a ‘martyr profession’. Woah Nelly, way to make the whole parenting blogosphere feel really valued. After reading this woman’s thoughts I decided to speak about expectation vs reality, as this woman who at 2 weeks thing thinks she’s got the whole thing sussed right out. I’ll talk about what I thought I had sussed at 2 weeks.

The truth is no one becomes a parent with the intention of forgetting the last time they showered and washed their hair. And I’m going to safely assume that no woman has ever popped out a sprog and said yes, I cannot wait for my house to become a chaotic mess of soiled baby grows and dust. And finally I don’t think any parent has ever turned round and said you know what my lounge is missing? Some peanut butter covered curtains. Because the truth is when it comes to parenting what you expect to happen and what actually happens are two very different things.

Expectation number one, the idea that I will be extremely productive during nap time. What is this elusive nap time that everyone talks about? I have produced a master cap napper and this means that the 20 minutes, the reality is  I might get sporadically through the day is enough time for me to get dressed or maybe put the dishwasher on. This idea that parents can be productive during nap time is just a cruel cruel myth spread by Gina Ford.

Expectation number two is the idea that your baby will follow all the big developmental milestones. Apparently babies are supposed to start sleeping through the night at 3 months, it would appear that Nora didn’t get the memo. The reality is we are up once maybe twice in the night for a feed.

Expectation number three, the idea that your social life won’t take much of it. In the words of Kanye, I’m gonna let you finish. But girl you being hella foolish! The reality is that even if you’re not asleep by 8pm, you’re pretty darn wasted after one glass of wine. And looking after a baby with a hangover is HELL. So I’m afraid to say that actually, your social life will take a hit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Finally expectation number four is the idea that you and your baby will both be dressed all day err’day. I’m just gonna put it out there, the reality is that sometimes you just don’t feel like getting out of your pjs. And sometimes your baby will poo through so many outfits that you just won’t see the point of putting anything on but a onesie.

So there you have it, my expectations vs the actually reality. So the expert parent who after 2 weeks thinks she knows better than the entire parenting blogosphere. Screw you. I look forward to your retraction piece which should be coming out imminently. The parenting blogosphere isn’t here to make parents feel bad, it’s not filled with Mother’s who wake up with perfectly quaffed hair wearing their pearls. It’s here for the strugglers, the one’s whose babies are sleep fighters, the improvisers and the list writers. It’s a place where we can share experiences and not live in fear of being judged. Because you know what we’re doing the hardest job in the world. And you know what if your sprog does decorate your home with peanut butter, just think they’re giving it that little bit of je ne sais quoi that it was missing.

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