The ‘New Mum Whisperer’
ONE of my friends has just had her first baby. Being a mother of three children, I thought I’d give her some advice.
Yet I’ve quickly realised that this is not the best way to be supportive, because telling a new mum what and what not to do is possibly the very worst thing you can offer. It’s hard enough getting your head round the fact that a person has just come out of your body, that the last thing you need is somebody, who isn’t even your mother-in-law, instructing you on how to look after it. But I can’t help myself. It’s so hard seeing her struggle. I will not be surprised if she stabs me with a knife - but at least it will be sterilised.
Now ‘New Mums’ are sweet and lovely in their innocence but, boy, they are frustrating especially when I think, at times, I can do better when it comes to their child. I have been chuckling because she is sterilising everything for hours, feeding at every whimper, only leaves the house if it’s absolutely necessary and takes baby with her when she goes for a wee. She doesn’t have a clue and although I have three children and still don’t know what the hell I’m doing, she turns to me for help and, well, I like to give it. Needless to say, a year down the line, I doubt she will be talking to me. But still this doesn’t deter me.
Once upon a time, I was a New Mum and it was horrible when people used to tell me what to do. It panicked me even more. And yet here I am doing it to my friend. Her baby, in the future, will seek its revenge, I’m sure. But to be fair, a lot of my advice is an attempt to prevent her going through the stress I had.
Oh but how I like to secretly pretend I am a New Mum Whisperer. It’s all a lie, of course, and any New Mum will quickly realise that I know naff all. If she hung around with me and my kids for a day, she’d understand that I’m just winging it. But, really, aren’t we all? Isn’t that parenting in a nutshell? It’s a bit like jazz – you make it up as you go along and pretend that the mess ups were part of an original plan.
One thing I do know is that all parenting gurus exist just to make you feel crap about yourself. There is no such a thing as a textbook baby. The best I’ve ever read is Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, who has the ability to train any dog to behave and, well, I reckon some of his wisdom makes sense for raising children, especially the positive reinforcement and good energy. Milan obviously has the advantage in that dogs can’t laugh in his face nor backchat. Yet I still live in hope that one day my kids will do something I’ve asked without barking.
I will leave it a couple of weeks until I stop my New Mum Whisperer act on my friend. Or maybe I’ll hang on until the weaning stage as obviously I’m an expert at that since I fed my four month old a rice cake and nearly choked him. But best wait until my friend is at breaking point and then I will let her know the truth. Yet I’m sure by then she will have performed an act of her own on me - which I doubt will involve any whispering.