Five Pertinent Pieces of Advice From My Mother

I love my mother.

And not just because she made me roll around laughing for 20 minutes today after claiming that Prince must have died because his body was “too small to fight off infections.”*

She has also come out with some brilliant pieces of parenting wisdom.

1.) About breastfeeding: “You’re doing it because you enjoy it.”   The only response to this is to cover your ears and shout “WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION” repeatedly.  Yes, I enjoyed every moment of sitting there with a baby literally attached to my sore breasts solidly for the first two months, and now I only do it because I “want him to be dependent” on me.   Dependence is a terrible quality in a child under two.  He should be off down the mines.

2.) “Don’t tell him.  Just go and do it!”  I was only informing said small child that I was going to go and have a shower.  I’m not sure what I expected; him to throw himself on the floor in anguish and sob hysterically at the mention of his beloved mother leaving the room for a few minutes, possibly, but before we moved in with my mother, showers were spent trying to keep him entertained in the bathroom with as many waterproof and battery-free toys as possible, whilst simultaneously trying to make sure he didn’t bang his head on the toilet bowl.  We are bathroom buddies, I can’t just leave without telling him where I’m going.

3.) “Watch out!  There’s MUD on there!”  We are in the garden.  It is a veritable jungle which includes an entire section of around five square metres which is basically a giant cat litter where every single one of the neighbourhood’s five thousand cats regularly come to do their business.  There are bits of gardening equipment the like of which I have seen used as actual murder weapons in Midsomer Murders and random gas canisters strewn around as the shed is in the process of being emptied. Piglet is in the middle of the only reliably safe section-the lawn-accompanied by his mother (me), a woman who likes to think that she is somewhat concerned for his safety, and yet he needs to be warned by my mother shouting above the din to watch out for MUD?

4.) “I know you say that rear-facing car seats are better, dear, but I ask you this, WHERE DO THEY PUT THEIR LEGS?  It’s all very strange, if you ask me.”

I appreciate your concern about the placement of legs when sitting in a rear-facing car seat, but I’m going to go with the latest safety recommendations here, not whatever we used to do in the 1980s when it was jumpers for goalposts, everyone left their doors unlocked and drink-driving was a socially acceptable Friday night pastime.

5.) “Well, if you ask me, this baby led weaning business is all a load of rubbish.  They need SPOONS.  They can’t feed themselves, and it’s ruining my carpet!”

I bow to your better judgement about what’s right for the carpet, but if this child ends up so obese that we have to knock down a wall and haul him out of the side of the house by crane, I’m blaming you.

Seriously though, I cannot complain.  My mother may like to voice her opinion about how parenting in the 1980s was much more straightforward when you could feed children aspirin with impunity, sit them outside the house in their prams for hours on end, and the most difficult question you could be asked was why everyone called Boy George a boy when he was quite blatantly a girl, but I cannot fault her.  Who else but a mother would put up with her 35 year old offspring moving back into the family home like the prodigal son after a dissolute and more than slightly too long youth, tiny child in tow, and encouraging said mother to take on a second career late in life as an unpaid childminder for the tiny child in question?

Never let it be said that I am not grateful for her unerring support in the face of my decision to embark on parenthood alone, a decision that she must have considered to be a severe case of modern madness.

However, apparently, back in the 1980s, parenting was another country.  They did things differently there.

*I am smaller than Prince.  The future is bleak.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

49 Comments Add yours

  1. Jade Lloyd says:

    Haha Oh bless her, I love the sound of your mum. Don’t worry if you are smaller than prince I will send you some build up tonic, my nan sent me some after I looked peaky! THEY NEED SPOONS…haha still chuckling!x

    1. Min says:

      She is a legend, even though we don’t always agree! The build up tonic sounds good, but I’d be very surprised if it added anything to my height. Believe me, I’ve tried everything.

  2. Oh this is such an entertaining read – the rationales hilarious – too small to fight infection, the carpet will get messy – I think generationally we try to put our own mark on things – I think perhaps your mum is right – it used to be more straightforward – everyone has an opinion now – social groups, social media, friends – and I hate to say it – even mothers!

    1. Min says:

      You’re right, I’m sure it did used to be more straightforward. Once I asked my mum if she ever felt guilty over having had 3 C-sections as I felt bad about mine, and she basically just laughed in my face, and quite rightly too!

  3. Sarah says:

    Haha! Mine was always on at me to give up breastfeeding as well. And my aunt. To be honest, I probably would have been happier and had more sleep if I had, but I’ll never tell them that!!! #tribal 🙂

    1. Min says:

      I have considered that I might have more sleep if I gave up, but as I can’t guarantee that he won’t still be waking up and I will be stuck with no means of getting him back to sleep, I decided it wasn’t worth trying!

  4. Ellen says:

    Ahaha too small to fight infection! I love it. My parents have become hyper paranoid despite the fact they successfully raised four children. My son was laying on the floor and I walked near him holding a plate and I really thought my dad was going to have a heart attack! It’s funny how things have changed though. I remember sitting on my sister’s lap up to the age of 5 when we all went in the car (basically if we were going on holiday!!) as it was a 5-seater. It wasn’t legal then but can you even imagine someone doing that now?!

    1. Min says:

      My mum says the same-she was never as worried about my brothers and I as kids as she is about Piglet. Something to do with wanting to be in control but not, or feeling the weight of extra responsibility when looking after someone else’s child maybe, I’m not sure. Love the car story! Nope definitely can’t imagine that now.

  5. Lol, yes it is funny some of the things our mothers come out with – I think mine is a bit mystified by extended rear facing seats too but like you, I think I’ll just go with current safety guidelines rather than the nostalgia of bouncing around in the boot of the car which was how we seemed to travel when I was a child! I do love the comment about “there’s MUD there!” too and your comment about dependence being a terrible thing in a child of two did make me chuckle.

    1. Min says:

      Glad you liked it. Yes, my mum does come out with some howlers from time to time, but I’m sure I’ll be the same in 30 years time!

  6. I love this post…you the way you write is so brilliant…mothers hey!? You know that’ll be us in thirty years time! Ahh the perils of mud…such dangers lurking there…like the notoriously aggressive worm.

    1. Min says:

      Thank you! Yes, I can guarantee that in 30 years time I will be eating my words…..probably after Piglet writes some sort of harrowing misery-memoir about his childhood with a mother who wouldn’t get off her damn phone!

  7. Aw, this reminds me so much of my mum. All modern parenting advice is ‘rubbish’ made up to frighten new mothers, yet at the same time danger is everywhere and I am nowhere near vigilant enough… #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Yes exactly-it’s completely contradictory!

  8. Mrs Tubbs says:

    Well yes. One of my older mummy friends said they used to put whisky in the final bottle of the night to help baby sleep. Everybody did that in the ’70’s apparently. It really was another world!

    1. Min says:

      Indeed! My mother told me that she recently visited an older friend of hers, who is now in her 70s, with a daughter of 50, and she still had an old (empty) tin of formula in the kitchen from when her daughter was small, that she now uses for storage. Apparently the instructions on the back said to add a load of sugar to the formula milk. Can you even imagine?!

  9. This could have been written by my older sister! For some reason my mother seems to think it necessary to point out the bleeding obvious to her about her parenting skills and it drives her bonkers. She can’t say as much because our Mum is basically providing on-call childcare though! We just bite our tongue and nod our heads now. Frustrating and funny all at the same time! Thanks so much for sharing this funny post with us on our first week of #fortheloveofBLOG – really hope you come back next week! x

    1. Min says:

      Quite-my mother looks after Piglet 3 days a week so I can’t really complain. Thanks for hosting and commenting.

  10. Emma says:

    Oh I found this so funny! Mainly because my first thought was we need to arrange my Mum to meet your Mum they would get on like a house on fire, I can imagine my Mum saying all of these things. Especially the Prince comment. 🙂 I really enjoy reading your blog, it’s brilliant!

    1. Min says:

      Thanks! I love reading about your mum too. I think we should definitely arrange for them to meet!

  11. Emma says:

    ah brilliant! it’s amazing how much things have changed. she must have done something right though ey! (i.e having raised a fab daughter!) even if they didn’t even have car seats and blw!! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Well yes *nods head approvingly,* and the car seats back then can’t have been all bad because I survived an accident unscathed in one!

  12. Good read.. loved the car seat one in particular! #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Thank you. I know, it’s so ridiculous!

  13. Jane Taylor says:

    Wait! You weren’t talking about my mum?!! This is hilarious! It really gave me a good chuckle so I’m glad, #KCACOLS brought me here today. My mum must have been given the same crib sheets as yours. Does your mum also think the solution to most of lives problems is a ‘bowl of salt’?! Damp in the garage? Bowl of salt. Mobile phone dead? Bowl of salt. Baby not sleeping…Bowl of…Well actually, she didn’t say bowl of salt for that one…But you get my drift. My husband saw a posh version of a ‘bowl of salt’ in Lakeland for about £20 and wanted to get it for her but I didn’t want to upset her…They give this advice out of love…I SUPPOSE!!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Haha, no I’ve not heard of that one! I am quite partial to a bit of salt and just get the glare and the same look normally reserved for questions about whether I’ve paid that credit card bill yet. I love the idea of a bowl of salt though!

  14. aahhh your mother sounds amazing!! I loved your post and it made me really properly smile, thankyou!!

    mainy – myrealfairy


    1. Min says:

      Yes, she is fab! Thank you for commenting 🙂

  15. This was great. My mom and I hardly see eye to eye. What I deem safe she says is crazy, like letting your 12 yo cross the road alone! (we live in the country on a dead end road….) However, by all means let the drive your car down the road, underage..because THAT is safe..sigh! I love her but I think part of their job is to drive us crazy not matter what age we are 🙂 #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Yep, and I’m sure we’ll be the same with our own children in the future! I call it “back seat parenting.”

  16. Tara says:

    Bless your mum. Mine is also full of “helpful” advice (from the 70s) although thankfully we don’t live with her so it’s much easier to ignore . Also, when talking about car seats, my MIL said: “We used to just pop his Moses basket on the back seat.” Ooook then.

    1. Min says:

      OMG! I thought that was how things rolled back then to be honest, until my mother pointed out that we had actually had quite a serious car accident when I was a year old, and I had been protected by my car seat. I guess I have something to be thankful for there!

  17. Helen says:

    You must be my long-lost sister, because we clearly have the same mother!

    1. Min says:

      Haha, I think much of the advice here is common among older relatives!

  18. Your mum sounds ace!! Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for hosting!

  19. haha they are very funny actually!! The one about Prince is hilarious!! lol My mum also likes to give advice all the time. Sometimes her advice is very good but sometimes she comes out with very random things that I’m like: What? lol But bless them, they just want to help us!! 😉 Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. It is always great to have you. I hope to see you tomorrow, 🙂 xx

    1. Min says:

      Thanks Franca. Hopefully will be back again tomorrow, Piglet-permitting!

  20. Yvonne says:

    Ha ha, I think the baby-led weaning thing is mind-boggling to older generations. My mum openly admits panicking every time I put the kids down to sleep. The whole sleeping on their backs theory just freaked her out. In the 80s it was drummed into them that they would choke in their sleep. I think advice has changed dramatically over the years. #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      It has. We’ve had the sleeping on front vs sleeping on back debate too. And it does seem as though everyone over 50 is completely opposed to BLW!

  21. Madeline says:

    It’s funny isn’t it, but I think Grandparents really are more worried about their grandchildren than they were about their own children when they were little! And all the advice is different from what it was when we were babies! x #KCACOLS

    1. Min says:

      Yes, my mother admits as much. Thanks for commenting!

  22. Hannah says:

    My daughter was born in 1986. My partner worked on interior design for a car manufacturer & was given a rear facing car seat to test when our daughter was born. He brought it to the hospital to collect us whereupon two midwives wouldn’t let us use it because “it’s not safe, you need to sit in the back & carry her on your lap”!! (they hadn’t seen one before). We drove to the hospital entrance, stopped & put her in it! I also did BLW only it wasn’t called that then. Main thing that would never happen now was that all my children slept on their front, in fact, an HV told me, just a few weeks before the sleeping on back research started to emerge, that my foster daughter needed to be stopped from sleeping on her back due to risk of choking & developing a flat head!

    1. Min says:

      The differences in advice from then to now are astonishing aren’t they? My mother says that when she lay us on our fronts to sleep in the 1980s my grandmother was appalled. Apparently the advice in the 50s was for babies to lie on their backs, so it’s come full circle again! Love the car seat story!

  23. Sophia says:

    My lovely mum said exactly the same about car seats! Also took quite some persuading that it wasn’t safe to buy a secondhand one..

    1. Min says:

      Haha! Thanks for commenting.

  24. Sarah says:

    Ha ha she sounds like a hoot 🙂 thanks for sharing #FabFridayPost

    1. Min says:

      Thanks for hosting and commenting!

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