10 Myths about motherhood – BUSTED!

Laugh it up! She is YOU!

Laugh it up! She is YOU! [Harry Enfield and Chums, BBC]

Expecting your first baby in 2015? Congratulations! Now stop reading. I have wisdom – well OK, bile – I’d like to impart and I don’t want to scare you. There are some myths and misapprehensions about motherhood I feel need addressing so if you don’t want the truth, look away now. Still here? OK then, I guess I’d better find some positive stuff to say too to soften the blow…

You are worshipped like a sacred cow for giving birth
During your pregnancy, your other half might have sweetly brought you cups of tea and affectionately held your hair as you chundered like a drunk on Binge Britain, but rest assured, once the baby haze has gone, things will change. He’ll suddenly master an impression of a man in a coma while the baby screams incessantly at 3am – and that look of adoration he once had for you when you were glowing with child? That look rapidly dissolves to horror when you’re angrily looming over him in a gaping maternity nightie yielding said baby and an axe.
Some positive stuff to say: The truth is, yes, you’ll call each other c*nts at 3am but by 6am, you’ll have forgotten all about the row, let alone to apologise. Now that’s true love.

Maternity leave is a lovely long baby holiday
It takes a brave/ moronic person to say this to a mum-to-be but sadly such twats do exist. It’ll be some bloke in Credit Control or IT, who’ll trill: “Enjoy your baby holiday”, as you waddle out of the building clutching a bouquet and Baby Gap gift voucher. And when you’re scrubbing sick off the sofa, surrounded by full cups of cold tea, yet to brush your teeth at three thirty in the afternoon, you’ll remember what he said to you and you’ll want to bludgeon him to death with a bottle of Dettol.
Some positive stuff to say: It’s no holiday but it is lovely. You’ve probably heard it a billion times already; the first smile, chuckle, word, step – everything – makes those yellowing teeth and cold cups of tea entirely worth it.

Only chavs and slags shout at their kids in public
You’ve probably seen some ‘God awful’ mother in an aisle at Asda screaming at her toddler, who is lying on the floor, thrashing like a fish out of water, also screaming. You’ve probably tutted (inaudibly obviously, you haven’t got a death wish), before scuttling off to the safety of the ethnic food aisle.  Well, judge away because like it or not, this will be you. You might not have a scrunchie scraped in a pincer grasp on top of your head or use quite so many expletives, but you, yes you middle class mum, will be driven at some point to shout at your child in public.
Some positive stuff to say: So what? Losing your rag at a tantrumming toddler does not make you Kerry Katona. It makes you human. An epic, morning-long meltdown because you cut his toast the wrong way, could probably drive a Trappist monk to use the eff word.

Boob = bond
Once that baby’s out, it’s like midwives and health visitors are on some sort of breastfeeding commission. Dare to mention to the more militant of maternity medic the possibility of formula-feeding your child before she or he can chew steak, and she’ll look at you like you’ve suggested making a nice pair of earrings from your baby’s faeces. Of course everyone knows breast is best but when it’s not possible for whatever reason to breastfeed, don’t let family/ members of the medical profession/ the Daily Mail, make you feel shit about it. Feel guilty, perhaps, for losing her in Zara while admiring a very pretty top, or deliberately breaking his toy tractor because it’s louder than gunfire – but refuse to feel bad when you’ve done all you feasibly can for your child.
Some positive stuff to say: For the past nine months the baby has only known you – whether you bottle or boob, the sound, smell, sight of you will instinctively soothe him or her. That’s a pretty mighty bond.

Breastfeeding only hurts if you’re rubbish at it
Again, this myth is all part of the big breastfeeding drive, designed to make women persevere and keep the secret can of Aptamil in the cupboard. It’s true, there is the odd lucky woman who manages to escape any pain whatsoever from breastfeeding but she’s rarer than a baby who sleeps soundly for 12 hours. Strategically place tubes of lanolin, packets of ibuprofen and big bars of chocolate (because you’ll be both ravenous and sorry for yourself), at each of your breastfeeding stations.
Some positive stuff to say: It has to be said that, yes, for lots of women breastfeeding hurts initially, but before you know it won’t at all and you’ll be looking forward to those feeds when you can watch uninterrupted episodes of The Kardashians. And of course, until that point, feel free to swear a lot – it’s very cathartic.

You sleep when baby sleeps
Everyone will tell you when you’re home in those early exhausting days, to kip the minute she hits the Moses basket. It’s sensible advice of course, and your body and mind will be screaming at you to go to bed, but then you’ll realise that this is your only opportunity to eat, drink and talk about how shattered you are. So, despite the exhaustion, before you know it, you’ll be boiling the kettle while writing a status update (to let everyone know you’re very, very tired), and shoving some cold and questionable leftover chicken nuggets in your gob. Even when your baby finally makes the holy grail of Sleeping Through The Night you’ll still struggle to sleep, frequently waking, wondering if he’s OK or if you should stick a dental mirror under his nose to check he’s breathing.
Some positive stuff to say: You will sleep. It might never again be the nourishing slumber you used to have, but you won’t die and on some occasions, you’ll even feel quite refreshed. Don’t feel bad if you don’t always sleep when you could – eating, drinking, worrying, moaning and Facebooking are all very vital too.

The woman across the road is a much better mum than you
This mythological creature might take the form of a neighbour, friend, relative, playground mum – invented by your mum, partner, mother-in-law but most likely, yourself. She’s up and out by 7.30am with all three of her beautiful kids, decked crisply in Baby Phat, skipping and laughing gaily at her heel.  Her busy but breezy day will probably include Gymkhana for Jocasta, baby craniology for Jack, expressive Bollywood dance for Matilda, and all before a live studio chat with Woman’s Hour about how she became a mumpreneur turning old socks into life-saving mattress supports for children with sleep apnoea. Man, she’s a bitch.
Some positive stuff to say: Like the Wizard of Oz, pull back the curtain and she’ll probably be a stress-head with mental hair, just like you. Plus, to make you feel really good about yourself, she’ll probably have a set of in-laws saying exactly the same thing stuff about you – unless of course, it’s just all in her head like it is in yours…

Facebook photos of kids are for provincial baby bores
You might have sworn in your childless days, while bouncing off the walls in some pub, that you’d never be the type to bang on about babies on social media – but don’t, (and it’s not a dad joke), kid yourself. The scan picture tucked neatly in your yellow maternity book that you keep secretly squinting and smiling at on the bus? It’s going up. The first newborn pic of your alien-looking offspring in a blood stained hat? It’s going up. The blurry shot of your unsmiling tot with red eye and the top of his head missing? It’s going up. You will become the mum you slagged off and you can bet there’ll be a pub conversation somewhere all about your endless baby pics cluttering up newsfeeds and boring the tits off your Facebook friends – just the way you used to moan.
Some positive stuff to say: Facebook ‘rules’ or ‘etiquette’ exist in the digital strategy documents of big corporate brands, and heads of needy 12-year-old girls. As long as it’s legal, it’s up to you how you use your Facebook profile! If you want to smugly post pictures of your baby, do it. Think of it as a return for all those self-satisfied holiday and posed party photos you’ll jealousy observe on your phone, while slumped in front of Emmerdale, twitching nervously at the baby monitor.

Motherhood admits you to some sort of lovely ‘mum club’
The thing about pregnancy is that women of all ages and backgrounds feel compelled to say something – and it’s generally very nice. Other mums in particular smile, ask when you’re due, offer up seats and wish you luck. When your baby’s born it’ll be a slightly different story.  EVERYONE will have ‘suggestions’, particularly other mums, and often it’ll be neither welcome nor helpful. Did you mean to leave the house without a hat on him? Did you know that her baby grow is a size too small? Are you planning to potty train him before he’s doing his GCSEs? Take a deep breath. Smile. And then bellow: “FUUUUCK THE FUCK OOOOFF!” It throws everyone.
Some positive stuff to say: You’ll meet loads of mums who don’t make you want to scrape the skin off your face.  You’ll soon get discerning and discover the mums whose company you genuinely enjoy – and they will keep you sane. The others, you’ll scoff about in your first blog post [see first blog post].

You have instant maternal instinct
When they discharge you and the baby from hospital, don’t be alarmed if your first feelings aren’t of elation but more thoughts of, ‘I wonder if pretending I don’t speak English very well can get me out of this?’ Bear in mind that the baby you’ll meet is a stranger to you so you won’t know his or her personality for a long time yet – so how can you possibly know what he or she is thinking? You’re not Derren Brown. Chances are you’ll spend much of your time frantically flipping through What To Expect and Googling, ‘smelly green poo’ (among a million other things you’ll type into a search engine during the first year). It’s all pretty standard.
Some positive stuff to say: Again, it’s perhaps something you’ll hear a lot, but every day really does get better and better. Some things will come naturally and some stuff you’ll learn. The fear that social services and the world’s press will turn up on your doorstep because you’re a terrible mother, will subside. And you can be certain of a couple of things, because y’know, we’re a couple of posts in now and I feel like I know you – you’ll fall in love like never before and you will be an ace mum.

Copyright belongs to Word To The Mothers – so please don’t nick me stuff!

Discussions — 14 Responses

  • Carla Wright January 12, 2015 on 4:30 pm

    Oh Zeena Moolla.. how you makes I laugh… love it!!!

  • Sarah filby January 13, 2015 on 7:14 am

    Love love love this . Had me laughing out loud I woke the baby up . Xx

  • Christianne January 13, 2015 on 8:21 am

    Hilarious and so true! I actually laughed out loud while reading it on the train this morning (and got a few ‘uh-oh, mad woman alert’ looks).

  • Catherine kelly January 13, 2015 on 9:31 am

    Zeena, I hang on your every word!!! X

  • Davey Gravey January 13, 2015 on 9:43 am

    Expecting your first baby in 2015? Find out what it will really be like in a few years by sitting at the table and shouting ‘Teeth! Shoes! on repeat for 24 hours until you sink into a vortex of despair.

  • Sazza January 14, 2015 on 1:42 pm

    It’s funny COS IT’S TRUE! Love this. Am sharing with the world. They need to know.

    • zeena2001 Sazza January 14, 2015 on 7:38 pm


  • freefromhim January 14, 2015 on 2:52 pm

    Fab and very very true account of mother hood! I agree with all of them 🙂 I’ve certainly been privy to health visitors telling me that ‘all babies latch,’ I mean why would you say that to someone struggling to breastfeed??

    • zeena2001 freefromhim January 14, 2015 on 7:31 pm

      I know! And they love to give you a fake shocked look when you say breastfeeding hurts – like they’ve never heard it before! And yes, exactly as you say they blame an incorrect latch and yet every mum I’ve met said it hurt. They FIB!!!

  • Karen Hockney January 14, 2015 on 3:59 pm

    Just ace Zeena, surely Mother and Baby or Private Eye are going to come a-knocking soon…? x

    • zeena2001 Karen Hockney January 14, 2015 on 7:39 pm

      Am waiting by the phone and it’s not ringing, Karen? Must be a fault on the line..? Xxx

  • Tiggy Latcham January 16, 2015 on 10:39 am

    Wonderful! As mother of slightly older kids, no longer babies, I projected back while reading this and veered between guffaws of hilarity as I recognised/remembered what it was all like and hot flush inducing thoughts of panic wondering if I’m now the smug know-it-all doling out myths and unwelcome advice. I feel assured that I’ve never been nor ever will be the ‘mother across the road’ though!

  • Katriel Costello January 17, 2015 on 8:17 am

    This is completely ace.

    • zeena2001 Katriel Costello January 18, 2015 on 1:07 pm

      Thank you loads, Katriel! Xxx