Parenting is perfectly imperfect, spread the word.

Before I conceived my first child, I had a picture of how my family might look. You imagine the sweet baby, the chubby toddler and calm family meals where everyone laughs. Don’t get me wrong – I fiercely adore being a mum to my four boys, but the reality is different, (and much, much noisier) to the preconceived notions I initially had.

From the moment we conceive a baby the expectations or ideas about how that might look and who they might be are in our heads and hearts.

 I vividly remember planning my family. I was going to have a boy and a girl who were best friends. I’d pick them up from school and make their afternoon tea from scratch, before talking about their day together, calming, without talking over the top of each other.

You can imagine my shock when I had two boys close together. One screamed relentlessly for 24 months, sick with allergies and reflux, and my toddler would run away from me, push kids off the top of the slide at the park and then...

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Why you should never tell a new mum to “sleep when the baby sleeps”

When I had my first son 11 years ago I got a lot of advice from family, friends, professionals and even the lady at the post office about what to prepare for. 

There was advice about not buying a corduroy couch because the babies spit up would get stuck in the grooves (for the record this was good advice and I wish I had listened), advice about what pram to buy, and also lot’s of advice about the need to sleep.

 Before the baby……..

“Sleep now while you can because you will never, ever sleep again” many an experienced mum would chuckle.

After I had the baby……

“sleep when the baby sleeps, it’s the only way to survive ”.

Good advice, in theory. But the effect it had on me was that the minute my baby was asleep – and I wasn’t, I would worry. After all, this was what I needed to do to be a ‘good mum’. Sleep when he sleeps!

Fast forward to today, and I have survived the lack of sleep of four...

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