On a daily basis I still have a few pinch myself moments that I’m responsible for another life. In fact I think a few people around me have the same. Not that I shouldn’t be responsible, but the fact that so much has happened in such a short space of time, it all feels a bit surreal. In fact a few weekend’s ago a friend of mine had mentioned she’d been reading my blog and said ‘I bet you didn’t think you’d be a dad, let alone writing about it’. And she was absolutely right, I didn’t. My decision to start writing about our experience as parents was primarily to have a diary to look back on over the years, but a weird kind of diary that’s open to the public, designed to give an insight into what to expect when you’re expecting and beyond.
Looking for advice
When I was doing my own research of what to expect as a parent, the science and statistics were interesting, but I knew that the most honest advice would come from those living in the world of parenthood and sharing their experiences first hand, that’s what led me to the world of parent bloggers and ultimately gave me the kick up the arse to do it myself. My initial thought was ‘bloody hell, there’s a lot of them!’, then the realisation of how there was a real footprint of dad’s online starting to give their take on what parenthood is like and the experiences they’ve had, whether it be 1 week in or 5 kids later.
The content I was reading and still read today was constructive, informative, funny and genuinely really useful. From product reviews and advice on prepping for delivery, to tips on sleeping and feeding, there’s some great content out there. Reading an honest opinion of parenthood when you’re about to take the dive yourself is worth its weight in gold, if not a little terrifying in places when you see what’s headed your way.
The “right way” to parent
Something I’ve always stood by is the fact that there is no set or “right” way to parent. Of course you have to approach parenthood with common sense and safety, but from the range of stories I’ve read about sleeping routines, weaning methods and keeping a normal life when your baby arrives, it has cemented in my mind that every parent walks a different path.
If you can’t say anything nice…
As much as there is great stuff out there, there is also a lot of forceful information of how you “should” parent and the “right way” to do it. Amongst the plethora of opinionated forums, Facebook groups and competitive mum’s and dad’s it can become overwhelming. I distinctly remember in our antenatal classes a couple of mum’s-to-be in the room looked very worked up based on what one (yes ONE!) other lady had said within a Facebook group about delivering a baby and their opinion on pain relief, to the point that they looked visibly stressed over the situation (even more so than you would be at the thought of popping a baby out). Or on the topic of feeding and how if it’s not the breast then ultimately you’ve failed, which led a couple in the room to completely question their own beliefs and fear that they’re going to parent wrong. I found it difficult to understand why there are people out there that want to add pressure into an already stressful situation, but I guess the world works that way.
Fear not though, despite what seems like doom and gloom there is fantastic content out there where the focus is on experience and advice from those who have been there and done it, as opposed to telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. If you want to bottle feed, bottle feed. If you want to feed sat on the edge of a cliff… well maybe not that. But my advice (take it or leave it of course 😉 ) do what feels right for you and go and enjoy it, pressure brings stress and stress brings bad times and what parenthood should be about is exciting new experiences every day. Now, speaking of stress, I’ve just remembered I need to get Ivy from nursery!