4 Parenting Taboos I’m Not Scared to Admit To

4 Parenting Taboos I’m Not Scared to Admit To

The past 20 weeks of pregnancy has got me thinking and reminiscing about what I know now that I didn’t know before I had Elliott back in 2011. In particular, it’s got me thinking about some common parenting taboos that I was well aware of before having Elliott but which I’ve since come to realise are pretty ridiculous and often inaccurately portrayed on the internet and society.

Pictures of perfect families, happy people, women looking like they’ve stepped out of a salon and visit with a fashion designer all with a baby in tow, clean and organised homes, how much women love breastfeeding, that being a stay at home mum is great fun…. it’s often not what it seems. People tend to only emphasise the good things and omit the realities behind what they are portraying. It’s false advertising and puts undue pressure on new mums.

I think this is why I’m so over excited about little miss coming this July because I couldn’t give a rats arse about parenting taboos anymore, I’m comfortable admitting them and the fact that I’m real and far from perfect.

So I bet you’re wondering what taboos I’m talking about? Well, you’ve most likely heard of them.

You can’t say you didn’t fall in love with your baby in the very first minute

If you did fall in love with your baby straight away, that is absolutely wonderful. The thing is, I didn’t fall in love with my baby straight away but I thought you were supposed to. And because I thought you were supposed to, because it was all everyone seemed to talk about, it threw me into deep depression wondering why on earth I hadn’t bonded with my little baby yet, like there was something utterly wrong with me.  There was no way I could tell anyone how I was feeling, it was my little secret that I hoped would pass. What did happen after I gave birth to Elliott was the feeling of pain, pain and more pain, my placenta being delivered, exhaustion, more pain, tiredness, more pain, worry, thirst….just no gushing love feelings.

But do you know what? I did come to love Elliott. 4 and a half years later and I love that same little boy I gave birth to unlike anything else in this entire world. I cannot put into words how much I love him. I don’t believe in the fact that you either love someone or your don’t. Love is a process, love builds.

You can’t talk about how lonely having a baby can be

I didn’t talk about how lonely I was because I was worried that other people would think I was a horrible mother. Who on earth would be so lonely looking after a gorgeous baby, come on?

I WAS damn lonely, one of the reasons I started this blog as The Multitasking Mummy was because I was both lonely and bored. My post natal depression put a halt on me feeling comfortable getting out into any type of social group so I found myself constantly lonely at home with a child that could not speak.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’ll happily tell people I’m lonely if that’s the way it goes. Of course, it’s normal to feel lonely. Most of us mothers go from working to being at home with a baby, immediately cutting off our connections. It’s so easy to feel disconnected, shut out and isolated. The thing is, no one tells a new mum about the being lonely part. No one told me, yet, I think it’s such an important piece of advice for new mums to hear!

You can’t talk about your miscarriage

I’ve never quite understood why talking about miscarriages was  such secret women’s business, at all. But, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a failure and feeling like I hadn’t done something wrong to lose my pregnancies.

To me, it all centres around when it’s the right time to tell people you’re pregnant. I’m a big believer in telling my family and close friends early, before the 12-week mark, because they are the people I’d want there to support me through the tough times if a miscarriage were to happen. And that they did.

When I wrote about my miscarriages, here, here and here, I was amazed at the stories that came flooding in from other women. It’s as though I’d opened the gates, we could relate, it felt reassuring, I learnt that miscarriage, even though rarely talked about, was so common yet so traumatic. To me, talking about miscarriage, although emotionally painful, is also emotionally empowering and a chance to let some of the pain escape.

You can’t say your “average happiness” has declined

Now this taboo is interesting because I think many people would say their average happiness HAS declined (which is perfectly fine if you think it has), yet, I feel mine hasn’t since becoming a mum. Who knows, it may rapidly decline when I have baby number two!

The way I look at my happiness since becoming a mum is that I’m happy about different things, different things ‘fill my cup’ compared to what filled my cup without kids.  Pre-kids I was happy going out, drinking with friends. Fast forward to today and that wouldn’t make me happy, what would make me happy is sitting at home with my husband, watching a movie in my PJ’s. In both stages of life, I’ve probably experienced the same levels of happiness and unhappiness, so they’re kind of even.

I think the difference when it comes to my happiness as a mum is that the process of becoming and being a mum has meant I’ve learned a new level of appreciating things and taking fewer things for granted, my perspectives have shifted to ones that are more positive and optimistic and I now place importance on different things.

The most important thing I’ve learned 4 and a half years on in motherhood? It’s OK to talk about and share the good, the bad and the ugly of being a parent. At least, if we do that, we can all start to feel a little more normal and can hopefully start to put less pressure on ourselves.  But, also remembering that there will always be the ‘perfect parents’ out there, or what we perceive to be. I think it’s just important to remember that you just don’t know what’s going on behind that seemingly perfect facade.

So, can you admit to any of these so called ‘parenting taboos’? What parenting taboos do you think are a load of rubbish?

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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10 Comments

  1. April 12, 2016 / 8:05 am

    Eva,

    I love a refreshingly honest post about parenting taboos.

    I hear you loud and clear!

  2. April 12, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Interesting and I think it’s so important to remember that every single parent’s experience is different. What one parent feels comfortable sharing might be very hard for another to hear and vice versa. It’s great if you had an easy pregnancy and loved the birthing experience and are completely fulfilled in your role as a mother. That’s awesome! But it’s not everyone’s experience, and maybe people need to be more aware of how others might respond before they start gushing about their joy. Oh dear now I’m sounding all curmudgeonly! But I just know that I found it very hard to hear when people went on about how they loved being pregnant, and it was undoubtedly the worst time in my life, for pure physical misery. I don’t regret having my kids for a second, but I don’t want to hear people’s stories about perfect pregnancies either! So after that little rant, just wanted to say I hear ya! We do need to talk about things. But we also need to consider how our words might impact the listener and choose our audience. Found you on #IBOT! 🙂

  3. April 12, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    Love this Eva, very honest! There is so much I felt I couldn’t talk about when I had my kids, and even now that they are nearly grown, I rarely talk about the difficult parts of parenting. Perhaps if we were all more honest, we’d make it a better space for us all.

  4. April 12, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    There were many times I was linely do they is when I actually started writing. It was my friend, my outlet and my secret happiness when I had 4 little children at home

  5. April 12, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    I definitely felt lonely after having Punky. I really wasn’t myself for the first 8 months. Not quite PND, but not quite not, if you know what I mean. I was just lost and living in this thick fog that felt like it would never end. I went from being really social to not being social at all and it was struggle losing that adult interaction that I had loved so much pre-kids. Now I’m not so lonely, I’ve learnt to make time for friends and to get out whenever I can, but at the same time I really miss having adult conversations on a daily basis. I’ve struggled to re-adjust to life post-Tafe and not having that interaction with other adults, especially ones who shared my interest in photography. I think it’s why I like FB, IG and blogging so much, it breaks up the monotony of being a full-time SAHM, something I am really not very good at!

  6. April 12, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    I’m no stranger to sharing things people shouldn’t talk about. Right now writing about my infertility struggles is cathartic, but I’m also aware that lots of people don’t want to talk about it. I also agree with not loving your baby straight away, I didn’t feel a bond or overwhelming love when I first saw her or for the first few days {I’ve written about that too incidentally}. I think people need to talk about the taboo subjects, then they wouldn’t be taboo anymore.

  7. April 12, 2016 / 8:44 pm

    I think honesty is the best policy. There seems to be so much pressure around what motherhood ‘should’ look like these days. We all just do our best.

  8. April 13, 2016 / 10:30 am

    I am so wirh you on this. Especially the whole not telling people you’re pregnant. Like you say, if it all goes pear shaped- you need the support.

  9. April 13, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    Thank you for being honest! I’m a big believer in telling close friends and family you’re pregnant, before 12 weeks, for the exact reason you wrote. When you miscarry, you want those people to give you strength and know why you’re shattered.

  10. April 15, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    I’ve given up on all parenting taboos. If I’m doing it, I’m admitting it. I say yes to all of the above, except I have never heard of the ‘average happiness’ ratio thingy so I’ll just park that one. I don’t think I need to be thinking about that. All I know is that I feel happy today, I felt happy yesterday and I’m hoping for happiness tomorrow. x