Along with sleepless nights, endless nappies and a truckload of love, new parenthood brings with it a raft of cliches - and expressions you'll hear time and time again. While some are simply harmless platitudes others can be mind-numbingly annoying, or downright unhelpful.
Let's take a look at six of the best (worst):
1. "Sleep while the baby sleeps."
This is probably up there among the most common advice given to new parents. Why? Because it sounds good - great, even - at least in theory. The reality is though, in practice, sleeping while the baby sleeps is a whole lot harder to achieve. Between trying to shower, getting the laundry done, and drinking far too much coffee, if you're not doing much sleeping while bub slumbers, you're not alone. (That said, if you manage to nap while bub does, then go you good thing! We're all jealous.)
2. "This too shall pass."
For some people, (myself included) the expression "this too shall pass", can be a soothing beacon of hope during those trying parenting moments when you're exhausted and teary and completely out of patience. For others, however, it does little to alleviate the stress of the moment itself, and to acknowledge how utterly sh*t some aspects of early parenthood can be. Yes, it will pass - and thank goodness for that. But sometimes it's just hard, and it's okay to acknowledge that, too.
3. "Just you wait."
Here's a scenario you'll probably be oh-so familiar with. No sooner have you shared the exciting news that your little one has started crawling, you'll hear "just you wait until they start walking! Then you'll know you're alive." And once the "just you waits" begin, they don't slow down either. Baby has his first cold? "Just you wait until he's at daycare, then he'll be sick ALL the time." Finding it hard to get organised enough to leave the house? "Just you wait until you're back at work." Life with a threenager oh-so draining? "Just you wait until you have a real teen in your house."
You get the picture.
4. "Enjoy every minute."
If you're a parent who is genuinely able to "enjoy every minute" or "cherish every moment" with your little ones then skip on forward to number five. If, however, this expression also grates on your ever-fraying nerves, then you're not the only one. There's no question that it's most often said through the lens of nostalgia, advice offered by those long past raising little people. And while "enjoy every moment" can usually be loosely translated as "They're small for so long! Enjoy the cuddles and kisses and finger-painting before your kids are grown and don't need you as much," the words can sting when you're struggling to keep your head above water.
It's okay not to enjoy the sleep-deprivation that makes your eyes hurt and your limbs ache. It's okay not to cherish the witching hours with an unsettled bub, rocking and pacing and bouncing to no avail. And it's okay not to love the deep loneliness that can so often come with early motherhood.
Parenthood is full of tiny joys, of beautiful heart-lifting smiles and giggles that stop time. But the pressure to enjoy it all is unrealistic. Some days, you simply need to survive.
5. "Is he/she a good baby?"
It's one of the first things you'll often be asked when you venture out into the world with your new addition."Is she a good baby?" What people mean by this - and not at all maliciously - is: "Is she sleeping and eating and doing all the things babies are supposed to be doing?"
6. "Is dad babysitting today?"
This one is for you, dads. Sadly, despite the fact that it's 2017, if you've ever been out and about with your baby and a nappy bag and had someone comment, "Ahh it's daddy daycare today", well you're not the only one. Dads don't babysit - they parent. End. Of. Story.