All your life you’ve looked up to your parents for advice, got frustrated with their boundaries or despaired at their outdated views, morals and expectations. That’s all about to change though, as you’re going to be the parent, and they’re elevated to granny and grandpa duties. Or is it?
One of the biggest shocks that new parents get is how intrusive their own parents can be. You’ve no doubt given a lot of thought to what sort of parent you want to be, and for many of us, that means a totally different approach (at least in certain areas) than our own parents took with us. You’ll likely have emotional baggage that you’ve never quite managed to get over about how unfair your mum and dad treated you, and have a desperate desire to make the same mistakes. Sadly, though, unless you have very liberal parents, your mum and dad probably aren’t going to let go of their views just yet.
For example, there’s nothing wrong at all with dad trying to keep everyone away from the hospital on that first day that your baby pops out and is in the real world, outside of the safety of mummy’s tummy. You can bet that at least a few relatives have no intention whatsoever of respecting that wish, though. Don’t be surprised if you get visitors the moment the first visiting hours open their doors, as (selfish) aunties, uncles, grandparents and more race to be first to get that photo on Facebook, or ‘check in’ at the maternity ward for all online to see.
It will get worse, too, especially if you have a large family. Once you make it home, which is frighteningly frequently on the same day as the birth these days, the throngs of gift givers will begin. Dad, we hope you’re efficient with the kettle, you’re going to be making a lot of cups of tea. Mum, practice that smile and gratitude to accept the gift wrapped monstrosities of clothing you’d never let your baby be seen in, and keep in mind there’s always ebay and generous returns policies in Mothercare.
Much of the first few days will be fine simply because you’ll be riding on adrenaline. A beautiful baby awaits in the coming hours, just make sure dad knows it’s his job to firmly tell people to butt out with their pushy views. It’s not just baby that needs to settle into an early routine – it’s the grandparents too!
Finally, don’t be afraid to kick visitors out. A great trick is to tell people they can pop around ‘just for half an hour to say hello’, as that gives you licence to point out once time is up, or let it go if it’s actually going fine. Just remember, you’ll never get those first few days again, so be selfish too – the visitors are!