When you have your first baby, one of the biggest realisations in motherhood is that there is a special group of advisors out there. Ones that you didn’t know existed. They are an integral part of our society and they serve to make the world a better place. They are full of advice on what and how you should be raising that new born baby of yours and will willingly dish it out any time you make eye contact. Failing that, they will do it over the phone. They shall find a way. Most don’t even realise they have this coveted role.
They are the parenting police.
It can be fairly traumatic to be bombarded by all the advice and comments about how you are doing every thing wrong and how you should be doing it like *this*. Everything is so new when you first become a mum and throwing a bunch of “Oracles” into the equation can be really stressful. And parenting police will vary in their advice which means you can quite easily get contradictory advice on everything from how to lay your baby down to sleep, to feeding to dressing them to sleeping routines. So on top of being completely sleep deprived, overwhelmed and completely knackered, you literally won’t know if you’re coming or going when it comes to raising your baby in the “correct” way.
Never fear though. All this well meaning (and rarely, not so well meaning) advice does eventually go away. It’s usually when you stop looking like a rabbit in the head lights and stop sobbing on a weekly basis about how its all so hard. You grow a thicker skin and become confident in your mothering abilities and and eventually let it slide off you like water off a ducks back.
What I didn’t realise though is that the Parenting Police doesn’t go away completely. They simply go into hibernation for a while. Ready to surface again when the world needs them once more. Ready to rise. With the next stage of advice. When to have your NEXT baby!
And if you have one child around the age of 2 or above then, it seems, the time for you is right now. It is time for you to have another child! And this will be advised to you in varying ways. Some very subtley put. Others a lot more bluntly. Most, of course, well meaning. Other just being nosey and wanting to understand why you aren’t following a life plan timeline you haven’t been informed of. All reminding you that this policing squad are still out there. Determined to keep the world populated. Ensuring the gaps between children are not too big. Or too small. But just right.
If you do realise that YOU are one of the parenting police (Like I said, you may not even know it!), then here’s some top things I think you just shouldn’t say out loud.
1. Don’t leave too big / too small a gap between the two – its not good.
2. You’re getting on a bit now.
3. You should have 2, 3, 4 (Depending on who you speak to).
3. Only children don’t know how to share (Eh? Whaaa?)
4. I’m pretty sure he wants a sibling. He’s alluding to it / said it. (Eh?)
5. Is there something wrong (Eh person I don’t know that well!)
6. It would be good if you had a boy / girl next (Eh? Ok…Abracadabra! Oh wait, no that doesn’t work.)
7. Asking if the person has “any news” every month or so – with added knowing looks. (No no no no no no …)
Say it first in your head and ask yourself “Is this really necessary? Do I sound like the parenting police?”. As Thumper’s mum once said in the movie Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is always a good approach to take.
This time my wings are like a shield of steel! This time I will bat your comments away. Mostly. Probably. Possibly.