• 100+ things I never knew about parenting (an incomplete guide):
  • It’s utterly incredible. Honestly.
  • After pains are real and realistic.
  • The placenta is like something from a 1950’s horror film. It’s enormous.
  • You bleed a tsunami after labour.
  • Newborn girls can have ‘periods’ and have small breast like mounds. It’s normal.
  • You have to show the nurses your wee. They really wanna see it.
  • Leaving the house seems like an insurmountable task at first. You’ll become a pro.
  • However much love and respect you have for each other as a couple, parenting does test that relationship, to it’s very limits at times.
  • If for some reason your baby is unable to breastfeed, prepare yourself for being milked like a cow by a midwife. Yes, that really happened.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Just because you’ve had one child, doesn’t mean you’re an expert. Each child is totally different. Two is a lot more work than one.
  • If you have a boy, be prepared to ignore his obsession with his bits. They’re fascinating to him. But don’t forget to show him how to ‘poke it down’ when he wee’s else you’ll have wee everywhere.
  • If you have a newborn, you’ll think you hear them crying the second you step into the shower but nine times out of ten, it’s just in your head.
  • Post natal phantom baby kicks are very real and very odd. I still have them from time to time, 2.5 years after having my youngest.
  • No two births are the same.
  • Don’t judge.
  • Pyjama days are necessary.
  • Take stock.
  • It’s beautiful.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Getting pregnant is a science.
  • You may not want all that plastic tat that comes with kids but you will have a house full of it. They love it.
  • You can never have enough kids books.
  • You will be tired in every sense of the word.
  • There’s really no good reason not to vaccinate your children.
  • Forceps are enormous.
  • Get comfortable with having someone else’s poo on you. It happens more often than you’d think.
  • You will never not be worrying about something. To be a parent is to live somewhere in-between absolute joy and fear.
  • Every day, it gets a bit easier. Unless it doesn’t, then get help. Talk to someone.
  • Every day throws up a new challenge.
  • Every day throws up a new rewarding moment.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • It’s an experience beyond comparison.
  • Refrigerated maternity towels with tea tree oil on them, are a post natal recovery tool your faff will need.
  • All children find any mention of poo hilarious. Get used to it.
  • A cuddle with your little one is like a drug. Literally. It gets all those chemicals going in your brain and does wonders for your mood.
  • Tea is life.
  • You will cope with labour. Not matter what you think.
  • You bleed more than you can imagine for the first few weeks after giving birth. Buy 3 x as many maternity towels as you think you’ll need.
  • Not everybody gets that instant rush of love when they see their newborn baby for the first time. I’m lucky I did, but don’t panic if it doesn’t wash over you like a warm light. Your body and brain just went through a traumatic experience, give it a moment.
  • Not everyone can breastfeed. Not every baby wants to breastfeed. You have the choice not to. Don’t be bullied into it.
  • In fact, don’t be bullied into anything when it comes to your pregnancy and/or children.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Being a parent can make you feel like a superhero.
  • Just because you have one child, you are not obliged to have more. Don’t do it for anyone but yourself.
  • Social media/tv isn’t real life.
  • A good parent is a subjective idea.
  • In my opinion, kids need sleep and lots of it. The one bit of advice my mum gave me when I became a parent was to get babies sleep routine sorted ASAP. Everything is easier if everyone has had some sleep.
  • Hangovers and sleep stealers do not mix.
  • Kids need to know how to be bored and occupy themselves.
  • If they are playing happily alone, leave them. Don’t break their concentration or make it so that they are unable to play alone or lack imagination.
  • They don’t need tons of toys. Books, colouring stuff, boxes, balloons, bubbles, Lego and balls seem to be the things they favour most.
  • Every day that passes is a day you’ll miss, because you don’t want it to all be over. Dramatic as that sounds.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Childbirth is traumatic for your partner too.
  • Days out do not need to cost the earth. A picnic in a good (free) park or a stroll on the beach followed by proper chips are some of the best days you’ll have and cost next to nothing.
  • Children do not need hundreds of presents at Christmas or on birthdays.
  • Nobody has to live your life.
  • Surround yourself with people that support your family.
  • You can never understand the mind of a toddler. It isn’t rational, so don’t even try.
  • Screaming at your kids never helps. It only makes you feel worse.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden, potty train in warm weather, so any accidents happen outside and are therefore a bit less stressful.
  • Pick your battles.
  • Be consistent with your children. They want to know what you expect of them.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Get out everyday, if you can. Fresh air makes you feel better and stops everyone going stir crazy. Even if it’s just an hour outside.
  • There’s nothing wrong with going back to work. It doesn’t mean you love your children less.
  • There’s nothing wrong with choosing not to go back to work. It doesn’t make you lazy.
  • You will get bored. Very bored.
  • Children want to be friends with everyone and everything. Even dog poo. Be prepared to say hello to it.
  • They grow ridiculously attached to unlikely things. Dead bugs. Leaves. Nappies. Prepare yourself for tears when they have to let them go. It’s their friend.
  • Every day is full of love.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • You’re emotions rub off on them and vice versa.
  • We’ve all had to leave the room and take a few large, deep breaths to contain our frustrations.
  • All parents get angry and dish out punishment that they regret. Don’t obsess over it. Children get told off. That’s life.
  • Try to recognise the warning signs of your frustration boiling over and remind yourself to breathe through it. If you can.
  • You’ll be at the doctors every two days because your child has a ‘funny looking rash’.
  • Do a baby/child first aid course if you can. There’s loads of them about from as little as £10.
  • Post natal depression (in all its forms) is real and should never go ignored. Get help. Immediately.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Calpol is your friend.
  • Get a sick bucket.
  • When you first give birth, make sure you only let those you really love, visit, and for short bursts of time. You’re not a circus freak for everyone to gawp at.
  • Big knickers are your best friend.
  • You are NOT obliged to resume marital ‘relations’ until you are ready.
  • You are not obliged to look like a magazine Mum.
  • Baby wipes clean everything.
  • You are allowed time alone. In fact, it’s highly recommended.
  • Going to the toilet alone is a luxury.
  • The word ‘NO’, translates to ‘let the battle commence’ in toddler speak.
  • A small child says ‘Mum’ about 37,000 times a minute.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Smell their heads. It’s incredible.
  • You can never fill up toddlers and small kids. They are bottomless pits.
  • Kids make up jokes that aren’t funny, nor do they make any sense. You are obliged to laugh. They will repeat it many times. You must uphold the initial level of enthusiasm.
  • It isn’t ‘cruel to deprive’ your children of chocolate. Nor will it make them obsessed with it. Stand firm with those around you who are desperate to give it to them.
  • Nobody knows your child like you.
  • Of all the concepts babies and children have to learn, sharing is the hardest. Whether that’s, toys, food, space or your attention. It’s difficult and it takes time.
  • Children will tantrum wherever, whenever. It’s normal. They will cry over silly things. Be patient.
  • Nobody will ever love you as much as your child.
  • While you may be counting down the minutes until they go to bed, you will instantly miss them when they do and spend an hour looking through the 784 photos you took that day.
  • You will tell anybody who will listen about your labour, gory details and all.
  • No matter how testing your child has been, one cute smile can diffuse your anger. Normally.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Their little bodies are so beautiful. You can’t believe how gorgeous they are.
  • They are funny.
  • They are loving.
  • They make you feel physically sick with love.
  • Cutting a toddler’s hair is a military operation.
  • Whether you gave birth to your child or not, becoming a parent turns you into a lioness, ready to claw someone to death to protect your them.
  • The TV is the third parent.
  • Kids are expensive.
  • Don’t be fooled by gender norms. Boys like pink and girls like cars. Get over it.
  • There isn’t a single parent on the planet that gets it right, all of the time. We all make mistakes. It’s a ‘learn on the job’ situation. Sometimes you mess up. Don’t crucify yourself over it.
  • Be honest with your partner if you are struggling. Check that they’re ok too. Tell each other what you need.
  • Don’t compare yourself, your partner, your children, your home, your life.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • That first ‘Mummy’ will break your heart. As will that first smile. In fact, a million little wonderful moments will splinter your heart with joy.
  • You’ll cry. That’s ok.
  • You’ll laugh. A lot.
  • You’ll have a million blurry photos.
  • Soak up the cuddles.
  • Time really does go too fast.
  • It’s not always easy to keep your daily struggles separate from your parenting.
  • Baby finger nails are like the sharpest razor known to man.
  • Not all kids are brave. That’s fine.
  • Not all kids behave. That’s fine.
  • Not all kids fit into the mould.
  • Ask for help. It really does take a village.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Always make sure your cuppa is within your reach. There’s nothing worse than being stuck under a sleeping baby when your cuppa is just out of reach.
  • Bad days happen.
  • Great days outweigh them. Generally. If they don’t, get help.
  • You’ll never get a proper night’s sleep again. You’re always alert even when asleep.
  • Get a thermometer.
  • Toddlers and small children are rubbish at hide & seek.
  • Don’t buy half the stuff you see advertised for new parents.
  • If you can afford a bottle prep machine, you won’t look back.
  • Children going to nursery are just fine. Don’t upset yourself for months over the decision.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • If you give birth, your body will be permanently altered. That’s not a bad thing. Embrace it. Stretch marks, scars and a dodgy pelvic floor are to be expected.
  • You will become obsessed with your child’s sh*t. The colour, texture, smell, frequency. You’ll know it more intimately than you can imagine.
  • Children progress at very different rates. Just ‘cos your mates kid is fluent in French by age two, doesn’t mean your child is behind.
  • Other Mum’s can be tw*ts sometimes.
  • Kids waffle.
  • Siblings fight. They also love each other fiercely.
  • Children are fickle. Just because they like toast one day, doesn’t mean they will like it the next.
  • Introduce them to bugs.
  • Take walks in the wild.
  • Staying in is ok.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • It’s overwhelming.
  • Childbirth is a bloody big deal. Take your time to heal.
  • Adoption is a bloody big deal.
  • IVF is a bloody big deal.
  • Miscarriage and child loss is beyond comparison. Take your time to heal.
  • Your mental health is paramount. Look after it and nurture it as well as you do your children. It benefits them.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Every time you think you couldn’t love anymore, your heart seems to swell and make room. Cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.
  • Dummies are nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Bottle feeding is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • If you see a parent struggling, help. We’ve all been there. Don’t be a d*ck about it.
  • It can be lonely. Get out there. Go to groups. Go for a coffee. Call your Mum.
  • You’ll have a new found understanding of your own parents.
  • But you are not your parents, you will/can do things differently and that’s ok.
  • Never wake a sleeping child. And if someone else does, the rule is, ‘you wake it, you take it’.
  • Every kid rolls off the bed. They’re all fine. You are not the worst parent ever.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Not everybody is as fascinated and enamoured by your children as you.
  • When your kid waves to someone from the pram, and that person doesn’t wave back, it is important not to rip their face off. No matter how much you want to.
  • Car seats are a pain in the ar*e.
  • Don’t be surprised when your kid says ‘shit’. It’s inevitable. Although not preferable.
  • Nobody’s children are as clever, beautiful, kind or wonderful as your own.
  • Sometimes, they will be an ar*ehole.
  • They will draw on the wall.
  • Your carpets will suffer.
  • Your hair will go uncut.
  • Your children want nothing but your love.
  • Whatever you think of yourself as a parent, I can guarantee that your child does not see it. To them you are the brightest star in the sky and you are doing a great job.
  • Keep smiling.
  • Enjoy it.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
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