When it comes to being a good mum there is a very definite list of rules. Only no one tells you these. You get to find out these for yourself at the same time as you learn what the hell to do with this baby you just produced that didn't come with a manual, and seems intent on doing the exact opposite of what the baby books said.
Here's a heads up for the rules on how to be a good mother
1 Feed Your Child The Correct Foods
All future failings of your child will be blamed on whether or not they were breastfed. It goes on the university applications.
You must only ever feed them homemade organic wholesome food. Beige food is bad. All meals must be made into smiley faces or cute animals to encourage your child to eat the 100% organic, no added flavour couscous you have lovingly prepared for them.
2 Enjoy Every Moment
You must enjoy every moment of parenting. Cherish them in fact. If you are not enjoying the sleepless nights, mountains of laundry, vomit, poo, tantrums, whining, and asking your kids to put their shoes on 39 times every single morning, you are not normal. Everyone else is enjoying every single second. Why aren't you? What is wrong with you?
Children are a blessing. You must never complain about any aspect of parenting, or anything your child does. This means you do not love your children. Do not joke about selling your kids on eBay as this means you do not deserve them and you are the worst parent ever.
3 Do Not Give Your Children Screen Time
TV is bad. Only terrible parents allow their kids to watch television. It doesn't matter that there are wonderful educational programs that encourage your child's development and learning. TV should never ever be used as a babysitter in order for you to get shit done. The correct thing to do is to enlist your child's help when cleaning the kitchen, where they will happily mop the floor and not attempt to empty the entire contents of the cupboards. If you have a baby just do the housework whilst the child naps. This may contradict the other rule about sleeping when the baby sleeps.
4 Accept That You Can't Win
When your child has a contagious illness you keep them at home for a specified amount of time so as not to spread their disease onto other children. Your child will be punished for missing a week of school due to having chickenpox by not receiving an attendance certificate and bring a letter home to patronise you about their attendance. Even when you follow the rules for being a good mother, you will still be a bad mother.
5 Milestones Are Crucial To Your Success
You should never allow your child to reach milestones at their own pace. Every child should be on the exact same path and develop at the exact same rate. They must walk by the time they are 1, speak French by age 3, and be able to tell you what a compound noun phrase is at age 7. If they don't reach these milestones at the time dictated you are not a good mother.
6 Do Not Enjoy Things Without Your Children
Once you become a parent you are no longer allowed to have fun without your children. Respectable mothers do not enjoy a girls' night out. Good mothers do not drink gin or Prosecco. Decent mothers stay at home with their children and do not need time to themselves to recharge. A good mother knows that her children should be everything she needs to be a complete person.
7 Never Trust Your Own Instincts
If you can still hear your instincts over all the opinions on how you should be parenting, don't listen to them. They are wrong. There will always be an expert or complete stranger that absolutely knows your child better than you do. You are just their mother. You are not an expert in anything. The expert may not know your child's favourite food, the best tickle spot, what they need to get them to sleep, how to turn their tears into laughter, or who their favourite Paw Patrol pup is, but they always know better than you and your silly instincts.
Of course these rules are nonsense. Unless you read the Daily Mail who would have you believe that they are all true, that you are completely failing as a parent, and that you are not a good mother. Do not read the Daily Mail. Ever. No good can come of it. Make your own rules. You've got this.
This post was first published on Life, Love and Dirty Dishes where you can check out lots more parenting 'rules.'