To the mums I met before I was one. I’m sorry.

Some things in life you will not understand until you have experienced them. Parenthood is top of that list. There is much I have said, or thought, before my daughter was born, that I am totally ashamed of now. To all those who embarked on the motherhood journey before me, I am sorry.

I am sorry for asking you “does she sleep through the night?”
I know now this was wrong. Not only wrong, but frustrating, inflammatory and down right none of my business. To start with, sleeping through means different things to different people, secondly, babies aren’t supposed to sleep through, and finally, my question set you up to criticise your child. I should never have asked you this. I am truly sorry.

I am sorry for tutting at your bed sharing.
I confess, I thought you were odd still sharing a bed with your daughter when she was nearly 2. I couldn’t understand why you didn’t want your space, or why you were not forcing independence on her. I realise now that being independent comes only after being dependant.

I am sorry for asking “how long are you going to do that for?” when you breastfed your six week old.
I really didn’t mean to judge, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know the bond created when you nourish your child. I didn’t know then, that the NHS recommends breastfeeding exclusively until six months. I had no idea that the World Health Organisation suggests breastfeeding alongside food to two years ‘and beyond’. I know now, now I preach what I once misunderstood. I am sorry.

I am sorry for judging your lack of “discipline”.
I had been fooled by TV personalities who taught me how to “tame” toddlers, (as if they were wild animals and not children). I had been misled and I believed that you were spoiling your child when you did not sit them on the naughty step, or leave them to cry. I know now I was wrong to judge. Yes it works for some, but not for you, and, turns out, not for me either.

I am sorry for thinking you were boring for talking about your baby all the time.
I am now more boring that you could ever be. And I am not sorry for that. But I am sorry that I didn’t understand your desire to share your pride, and I am sorry for not listening.

I am sorry for the sleep and behavioural “tips” I offered unsolicited when we met in the street.
I was a back seat parent. So much worse than the back seat driver. It was none of my business, I had no experience, I had no attachment. Yet I thought myself an expert. Thank you for not punching me.

I am sorry. I had no clue. I didn’t understand.

How true it is that you should never judge a person before you have walked a mile in their shoes.

Parenthood is one hell of a mile.

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