Last year, I was invited to a friend’s baby shower.
Her sister had made a balloon cloud with removable raindrops, on which we were asked to write snippets of advice. (Nice idea, right? The Cloudmaker is also a full-time solicitor and if we could only get her into the Bake Off tent she would undoubtedly earn a Hollywood handshake or two. Very cool.)
However, there are many things I want to say to friends when they first have a baby so I didn’t know which pearls (can’t bring myself to say ‘of wisdom’) to select.
Don’t worry if you want to weep all day is one. Eat anything and everything whenever you get the chance is another. Those little elastic things that keep baby socks on will revolutionise your life. And of course, never, EVER, pick up what you think is a chocolate drop from the carpet and put it straight in your mouth. That’s an important one.
Eventually I settled on two pieces of advice that seemed most pertinent to me at the time.
1.) You will learn to do many things one handed, but grating cheese won’t be one of them, so don’t try.
2.) Being a parent is brown and gold; lots and lots of shit, scattered with tiny nuggets of purest gold. The shit, both literal and metaphorical, can seem like an ever-encroaching sea to your island, necessitating waders, dogged determination and a poor sense of smell in order to survive. And the gold? A smile, a giggle, a roll, a spoonful of porridge, a clap, a step, a word... the best, sweetest, most important word you will ever hear.
So my advice? Flush the shit away, (if you can even recall any of it in years to come, it will be with a wry chuckle,) and thread those golden nuggets onto a memory necklace.
Nothing ever looks the way we expect it to, but that’s ok. Survive the brown, find the gold... and keep it. You earned it.
I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you could give one piece of advice to a first time parent, what would it be?