Parenthood is scary.
Right from the start, parenthood is scary.
It’s always lurking, like a monster under the bed that you never get enough sleep in, and it’s there to stay.
My parental fear monster can spend a long time hibernating, allowing me to coast through situations that might well strike fear into the heart of the toughest parents.
Vaccinations don’t worry me. Dental check ups are just one of those things.
Hospital appointments, no problem.
Admittedly, I do flap a bit when it comes to emergency situations but as long as I’ve my very rational other half with me then I can just about manage to keep the flapping to a minimum.
There is a side to parent life that my monster just loves to feed on. So much so that it took me until my fourth baby to confront it.
Parent groups. Mother & Toddlers. Baby Classes.
The thought of other parents judging me, my child, my parenting style or lack of it was enough to keep me far away from those kind of gatherings for 11 years.
Those 11 years were filled with thoughts that those kind of things were for parents with a perfect handle on parenthood. The ones who had read all the parenting books ever printed. The ones who’s children ate their vegetables and had a wardrobe to rival any catwalk model.
During my fourth pregnancy, I was picking my son up from a friends house. His friends mum asked me which mother and toddler groups I went to with my other children. I rather embarrassingly tried to quickly think of a local group that I could say we frequented but this lady knew what I was doing. It turned out that she had also felt the same about those kind of groups, until she went to one.
I left the house that day with a massive box of maternity clothes and one of the best parenting insights I think I had ever been given…which mother and toddler groups had the best biscuits.
That conversation changed the course of my parenting career.
Once baby number four was safely at home, after a brief spell in neonatal, our baby social life began.
I’ll be honest, there were some parents who had read all the parenting books. There were parents & children who were dressed like they were off to a wedding.
But none of that mattered.
We were all borderline manic from lack of sleep and we were all grateful for a cup of tea made by someone else.
Making friends as adults is not as easy as I imagined. Mainly because I’m far more judgemental than I ever realised, but nonetheless friendships were made at those groups that would never have been made otherwise. For that I am grateful.
The monster still lies under my bed, mostly undisturbed just letting out the occasional anxious grunt when a mummy social occasion crops up.
As long as I can keep eating those not really scary biscuits every once in a while it can stay there!
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