Dear Gods, when will it stop! Why does it have to be so damn complicated?
In the lead-up to one of the most life-changing events that we’ve yet to experience – namely the birth of our first child – my husband and I are in very real danger of disappearing under an avalanche of advice. Honestly, it seems that everywhere we turn we are bombarded with words of wisdom that are often contradictory with the previous lot and it’s all become a little overwhelming.
In fairness, we are partly to blame for our current situation – we did decide to be parents, after all. And yes, we contributed further by reading parenting books and speaking with our own parents, siblings and peers who’ve already been through the process. Unsurprisingly, this has been helpful and frightening in equal measure.
Adding to our information overload, there has also been a great deal of unsolicited advice. Granted, it’s all very well meaning, but there has been rather a few times where I’ve nearly strained a muscle trying to stop my eyes from rolling back in my head and barely resisted the urge to simply shake them until they stop speaking.
Everyone appears to have an opinion on the matter, regardless if they happen to be parents themselves or not. Nothing is sacred, from bed times to bowel movements and everything in between. Don’t get me wrong, it is a thoroughly daunting task ahead of us and we are grateful for the help but perhaps in some cases it’s best to wait until asked before unleashing your torrent of heartfelt recommendations.
Don’t even get me started on my genuine fear that people will only ever want to talk to me about baby and child related issues for the rest of my natural life. Admittedly, women do have it harder in a certain respect as they receive the same barrage of child-rearing counsel but with the added heft of being informed of everything they’re allegedly doing wrong while pregnant in the first place.
I’ve also found myself increasingly exposed to the world of parent shaming, both of friends and strangers. It really surprised me how malicious some people can be in regards to condemning the parenting styles of others. Yes, I may have been guilty of this from time to time, particularly when locked in a flying metal tube on a long-haul trip back to Australia with what I could only assume at the time to be some sort of hellbeasts having an epic tantrum. Nowadays, with my impeding fatherhood mere weeks away, I do have far more sympathy for those who are trying to navigate their daily lives with a screaming child in tow.
Thankfully, they’ve been quite a few people who impart their knowledge with the caveat – this is what I do, but you’ll find out what works for you. In saying that, I do understand that every child is different but it would be ever so helpful if there was one universal manual to control all the little buggers – is it really too much to ask?