I’m aware my frequency of posts has gone down. I’m one of those legendary tabloid figures these days – the “working mother.” Baby, work, baby, in a bursting sandwich (which are the only things the W.M. has time to eat). When it’s going well, it’s all glamour. Ha! No, it’s not. There is no glamour anywhere near loved-but-snotty children. Let’s say, when it’s going well you feel thoroughly competent. When it’s going badly you’re standing with your head agaisnt the wall in the loos muttering “I haven’t bought any Christmas presents yet. WHAT KIND OF EXCUSE FOR A WOMAN AM I?!”)
It isn’t as if I feel that I’m trying to “have it all.” I’m just trying to be normal. But now and again you do something idly, like Google “1st birthday party ideas” and – Good God! An internet’s worth of American Mothering is unleashed on you and you feel, temporarily, that your child is suffering vital deprivation for not having themed invites, themed cakes, themed photo backgrounds, themed party bags… at the tender age of 12 months. Let’s be honest, this is nothing to do with being a working mother – I would never do that stuff. Perhaps being a working mother is the best excuse not to. (Unless you discover said mothers are also FTSE 100 chiefs; then, there is nothing for it but gin.)
Anyway, what working motherdom certainly does mean is a dearth of reading time. I mean, before baby gets up? Don’t make me laugh! Commute? I drive. Evening? I am eyeballing bedtime from 3pm. So I have little for you. But to leverage this new knowledge and in a vague attempt to branch the blog out into at least a little non-fiction, here’s a baby books post for you. So subjective! I’ll attempt to keep it brief.
The New Contented Little Baby Book (Gina Ford). Helpful if you want to FREAK THE HELL OUT. “Baby Training” of the first order – if your baby deviates even the slightest from her minute-by-minute routines you have not a chance of following them. Famous in my house for including “have a drink of water” in her timed routines. Frankly terrifying and impossible to follow unless you have a textbook baby and no other commitments ever, ever, ever. A circa 50 page chapter on essentials you need for the nursery is enough to bring on the sweats. Sample tip: “If you can see someone standing on the other side of the room with the curtains closed, the black out is not sufficient.” Cue terrified expectant parents standing in semi, but certainly not sufficiently, darkened rooms all over the country, dragging at their faces with their nails.
The Attachment Parenting Book (William and Martha Sears) I didn’t get further than chapter 2 but it was a wonderful glimpse at the other side of the Gina Ford barrier (no routine, let baby be your little emperor in skin contact with you at all times until 16th birthday). Both devote good chunks of their books to slagging off the other leaving you to feel (glass half empty) that’s it’s impossible to get it right but also (glass half full) impossible to get it ENTIRELY wrong… surely?
The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan (Alison Scott-Wright). My favourite book. “Reassurance” sleep training. Not coddling them every time they whimper, not leaving them to wail indefinitely. Useful routine tips and knowing how much the little terror should nap (more than you think.) I mean, I ignored 80% of the advice, but 20% was right on.
What to Expect when you’re Breastfeeding and What if you Can’t (Clare Byam-Cook). Clare is spectacular. SPECTACULAR. She is a breastfeeding specialist and the internet hates her; I’ll probably be firebombed for writing that I like her. But she is IT. And if you want she comes to your house (if you’re in London or thereabouts) and sorts you out if you’re struggling to feed. Total reassurance when you are at your most vulnerable, sleep-deprived, sore, desperate. She is also a formidable lady who I know personally with a foghorn laugh and a mean line in teasing. Message me if you need her details.
What To Expect: The First Year. (Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel) You read it for about 3 months when your little one can lie safely prone on the edge of an eight-foot shelf without rolling and then, forget it. You won’t have time for that. Or anything. (The Pregnancy Version, when you have nothing BUT time on your hands to lie around listening to self-hypnosis CDs and massaging yourself with oil, is great.)
Subjectivity is King. You’re welcome.
(Normal fiction service resumes next week.)