Thursday, May 11, 2006

Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows


The member of the Parent Support Team who barges into my house should have been trained by the Apartheid Police. She is patronising, invasive and – I’m sure – a whiz with a cat-o-nine-tails. She proceeds to tell me everything I’m doing wrong. The list is extensive. It starts with relatively innocuous things like the way I’ve positioned the cots in the room (I asked for support not interior decorating). It goes on to include the fact that I let the dog on the couch, that I play inappropriate music to the children (what’s wrong with Black Sabbath?) and that I let O still use a dummy. But the kicker is this – she insists I’m underfeeding the twins. Despite the fact that they’re thriving, putting on weight and eating as much as the paediatrician recommended they eat, she tells me I’m starving my children. Then she asks me if I have a lot of play time with them. “Not as much as I’d like” I stammer. Wrong answer. She launches into a diatribe about how I’m not emotionally connecting with my children enough and not stimulating them, which will lead to horrific problems later on.

Then she asks if I’d like her to come back next week to ‘help’.

Did I miss something? The troll comes into my home and tells me I’m not feeding or loving my children enough. The two things a mother fears most. Then she wants me to invite her back? I asked for support, not a session with a dominatrix.

After she leaves, I load up the triple stroller with babies, I put the dog on her leash and I walk. I walk and I walk and I walk. I am Fury personified. I am Rage with a Mummy-Tummy. I am Rotund and Restless and Angry.

And half way between putting O’s dummy back in her mouth and picking up Pepper’s poo, it all clicks into place. This woman has done me a favour. When I was pregnant everyone told me if ever I was offered help I should accept it. Since I’ve had the twins I’ve been inundated with people ‘helping’. I’ve accepted every offer. But this help has often manifested in advice, always conflicting. Sleep them on their backs. Turn them on their sides. Sleep them Together. Apart. Together in the Day. Apart at Night. Feed them at the same time. Feed them on Demand. Feed them four hourly, three hourly, only so much, as much as they’ll take. Burp them sitting up, burp by patting backs. Hold them, don’t hold them, eat, drink, be merry but not too merry, go rapidly mad as people constantly tell you what to do… I asked for support, not a Bob Dylan song.

And then I realise these are my children. If there's anyone who knows how to look after them it's dazed, muddled, sleep deprived Me. They asked for a mother, not a spineless amoeba.

Wish them luck...


Blogger -Rama said...

your level of consciousness is one of the many many things they are lucky to have in you - as a woman without babies (and despite the enormity of your task)your experiences inspire me and make the baby-thing that much more doable in my own head

7:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh they don't need luck! they have you. YOU! YOU!!!! xxx djk

2:46 am  
Blogger Susan D. said...

How much you wanna bet Madam Meanie doesn't even have any kids of her own? Yeah, makes it pretty easy to talk out her @ss.

When I had my baby, the only help I wanted was in cleaning my house and making dinner. Anyone offering advice got a glassy smile while their words slid in one ear and out the other! If your babes are gaining weight and smiling, then you're doing JUST FINE. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

Susan D. (finally delurking)

6:34 pm  
Blogger frangelita said...

Everyone has there two-cents to give. Here's mine. Come up with some deeply worrying answers such as oh don't worry about the sleeping I just give them a bit of gin and they'll soon shut up.

You're right - mum knows best.

8:29 pm  
Blogger Urban Chick said...

Parent Support Worker, eh?


(very similar to our inocuous but equally irritating Health Visitors over 'ere)

it's a well known fact that sleep deprivation brings out the axe murderer, sorry, BEST in us all

4:30 am  
Blogger LJ said...

They don't need luck. They've got you.
That "support" person was unbelievable. Just unbelievable. The sadistic witch.

4:32 am  
Blogger fluentsoul said...

Oh, I can't stand those "professionals" who try to show their authority by criticizing everything a mother is doing. That evil woman has no place working in the job she has. Your kids have a great mom.

3:10 am  
Anonymous Frankenmum said...

I always regarded professional advice like a smorgasbord. Pick and choose what you like. Some of what they offer will be just right, some of it is just plain off.

As with food, follow your gut instinct. You know what's good for you.

As far as that woman's concerned, sounds like she needs to retire. She should, she's passed her use by date.

9:52 am  
Anonymous Meredith said...

Did you have to pay her for making you feel bad too? I hired a postpartum doula to come a few times after my son was born. I realized that she just made me feel bad and crazy and at the end of each visit, I had to give her $25. So not worth it.

Trust yourself, the babies sound well fed and loved. What could be better?

3:51 am  
Blogger Koru's Daughter said...

"I asked for support, not a Bob Dylan song." This line has been popping in my head since I read it here. The whole world sometimes feels like a wild, confusing Dylan song. Thanks for this image.

5:04 am  

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