We all know that becoming a parent isn’t easy. But, there are the things the books warn you about, and there are the things you learn purely by accident. By Lisa Witepski
If you were to read a guide to parenting, you’d be forgiven for thinking that, barring a few tantrums and spills, all will be plain sailing – pretty much. Sure, the guides might give you a few tips on when to introduce solids and how to handle a public meltdown. But, they have nothing on how to handle wardrobe malfunction (read: When your newborn’s nappy leaks all over your dress). Ah yes – some lessons can be taught. The others are learnt the hard way.
We asked some Living & Loving Online moms to share parenting lessons they discovered by accident.
Kids love repetition
“Don’t do anything unless you’re happy to repeat it a thousand times. I found this out when I ‘flew’ my little girl on my knees. It was fun the first five times, but by the twentieth I was convinced I would never be able to do another stomach crunch again.” – Lisa
Your baby will eventually become a bad sleeper
“Don’t think that, just because your baby skipped the dreaded four-month sleep regression, you’re safe from all the others.” – Joanne
“Check both sides of your maternity bra before leaving the house.” – Mara
“Hold the willy down when you change your baby boy for the first time.” – Leeanne
“Cover your little boy’s penis with a wipe or a wet facecloth when you change his nappy!” – Nikki
“When you change your little boy, open the nappy, blow, then close the nappy and wait for him to finish his wee. Best advice I ever got from my mother-in-law, who has three boys.” – Stephanie
“Stand well back whenever you change a newborn’s nappy. You’d be surprised at their propelling power.” – Samantha
Don’t go anywhere without baby’s ‘blankie’
“Never go anywhere without the dummy (or whatever sleep soother your little one prefers).” – Abigail
“What works today will not work tomorrow.” – Bretta
“Don’t imagine that, just because your first baby was super easy – followed a routine, slept through the night, and ate everything – your second one will be the same. It’s not you, it’s them.” – Menique
Double up on prams
“If you have twins, buy a single pram as well as your twin pram. We had times when one baby wouldn’t sleep, but could be soothed by the forward/backward motion of the pram.” – Judith
Do a nappy check
“Never, ever, trust that there are enough nappies in your bag. Check every time.” – Shane
You can’t own anything white anymore
“Don’t wear white. It’s the most impractical colour ever, especially if your baby is very young.” – Jo
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.