Life’s a cliché
On my way into work last week, I was listening to the radio and they were talking about National Cliché day. They asked people to ring in with the favourite clichés. The whole piece got me thinking about parenting clichés, and how true they are. I think some of the best advice you’ll ever receive as a parent is stored in those oft-repeated clichés.
Top of the list is “Your life changes forever when you have children.” Before I had Little Man, people would say this to me, and I’d think “Duh! As if I don’t know that!” Now I understand why people say this. It’s a futile attempt to convey just how much things change when little ones arrive on the scene. Your life changes. You change. The world never looks the same again.
Next on my list of favourites is “Enjoy them. They grow up so fast.” I remember being stunned the first time Little Man outgrew an item of clothing. He was about ten days old. Ten days old and already he had outgrown something. For the first few weeks, after a feed he used to fold his arms under his chin and arch his back and make a little milky face that was so cute. I remember thinking several times “I must take a photo of him doing that, it’s just so cute.” And then one day at my local breastfeeding support group, I saw a new baby make the same gesture, and I realised Little Man didn’t do it anymore. Growing up before my eyes. This week he started walking and feeding himself with a spoon and fork. I’m sure in 17 years time when he’s heading off to college I’ll be looking back on this week wondering how the time went by so quickly!
Another one I heard a lot was “It gets easier.” That one was a bit hit and miss for me. Months 1-3 were easier in a lot of ways than months 4-6 for us. Little Man didn’t sleep much for months 4-6 and I don’t cope well with sleep deprivation. But true to its word, it did get easier again after that. And harder. And easier again. I think each stage brings some things that are easier and some things that are harder. Maybe that cliché should be “It changes!” (Or should that be “Just when you figure it out, it changes!”)
But my favourite of all has become more mantra than cliché to me: “This too shall pass.” Those four words can get you through anything. Teething, sleepless nights, painful latches, settling in at creche… It’s all covered. If anyone asks me what the best bit of advice I can give a new mother is, this is it. (Oh that and the other repeated saying “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
I’m looking forward to the next few years when I can add a few more clichés to my list.
Well done girl.