It’s six months in and I’m still terrible at this parenting gig. It’s not just that I’m a bit crap; it’s that babies change so much and so fast that as soon as you get to grips with one issue another five rear their (drooling and teething) heads.
Every new week with your newbown is a glorious and amazing chance to screw up even more badly than the previous one. Just some of reasons I am the world’s worst mother (this week) include:
Someone at playgroup recently asked if 6 month old babies should still wear onesies. Opinions were divided; some people thought they were good for at home wear but not going out, others thought they were only acceptable as pyjamas.
…I had no idea this was a thing. I love onesies; they’re easy, fast and allow instant access to a nappy. Childzilla likes onesies as I don’t spend an age annoying her by faffing about at her clothes. Some days we don’t even make it to a onesie and she rolls around for the day in her nappy and a vest like a teeny incontinent Onslow Bucket. Childzilla will be in onesies and easy outfits until she’s old enough to tell me she dislikes them or until they stop making them in her size. And, as they make awesome adult onesies, that could be when she’s 90 and back in nappies again.
My dog is my baby monitor.
I could turn the real one on while she sleeps and I am out of the room. But there’s no point as the dog always notices the moment she wakes up and goes in to wag his tail ingratiatingly at her. Perhaps he is trying to entice her to play ball. Perhaps he is trying to make up for my terrible parenting. Either way, my first warning of the stirrings of Childzilla is always a vanishing dog.
I send my child to daycare…
I am completely unconvinced by parenting’s unofficial first rule, that Mother Is Always The Best Caregiver. The way I see it is – Childzilla could spend time with her sleep-depped and inept mother, me. I have no younger siblings or nearby cousins, little to no interest in or experience with other babies.
Or she could occasionally spend the day in daycare where the staff are trained professionals with years of experience who have also had some sleep in the last 72 hours. I leave my child in occasional daycare with a light heart safe in the knowledge she’s surrounded by care, attention and far more toys than she has at home.
…and enjoy myself while she’s there.
The second rule seems to be that it’s only okay for mothers to spend time from their baby if they’re are not enjoying it. If your child is in daycare it’s because you must be weeping through your working day or undergoing invasive and uncomfortable medical tests or, preferably, both. No peace. No sleep. No breaks. If you are not actively suffering right, you are doing parenting wrong.
You know what I do when she’s in daycare? Whatever needs doing. Some days that’s 2 hours frantic housework and a doctor’s appointment, and some days that’s a grocery shop followed by walking the dog and a lovely unrushed lunch.
I am ruining her musical taste with a steady diet of terrible and profane 90’s pop…
Childzilla loves to dance and I love to sing, so this should be an easy spot to pick up “Good Mother” points, right? Not when your sleep-depped brain can only remember songs heard while out drunk and clubbing in the 90’s. This week has been particularly bad – we’ve had gems such as I Like to Move It Move It. the Guinness dancing man advert sung entirely using the word “tequila” and endless repetitions of Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (the cover with Timmy Mallett).
…because I can not for the life of me remember the lyrics to any appropriate stuff.
I can’t remember more than a few bars of nursery rhymes and tend to ad lib new verses as I go along. But the sleep dep appears to have turned off my inner censor. Yesterday I caught myself singing The Outhere Brothers, Avenue Q, and the lyrics “and if that diamond ring turns brass, Mama’s gonna buy you a piece of ass”. Oh dear.
I cheer myself with the thought that that’s still better than Hush A Bye Baby where you tell your child that they have nothing to fear from sleep other than plummeting to their death. Who the hell puts their child’s cot in a treetop anyway? It may not have been a stellar week here but at least I haven’t put Childzilla to sleep with the squirrels. Perhaps I’m not the worst mother out there after all.