By Kirsti Hadley

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Twinning with leopard is ALWAYS winning.

It’s hard to say what caught my eye about Kirsti. The cool vibe of Mad Life (a network for Mums and Dads). The high percentage of leopard print on IG feed? Her brilliant ‘One Worn Every Minute’ project to collect supplies for babies and toddlers caught up in the refugee crisis.

Probably all of the above. Which is why I was chuffed that’s she some parental gems of wisdoms with me.

Here’s her list of ‘What Parenting Books Don’t Tell You’:

  • Your birth may not go as expected and thats fine, don’t sweat it…the end result is always the same after all! 
  • Breast is not always best – there are many many reasons for women not being able to or simply deciding not to breastfeed – if you do end up having to or simply deciding to feed your rugrat via formula its no-one else’s business but yours – ignore the breastfeeding mafia if you have to……and quote my mantra “though shalt not judge another mother”.
  • If you are lucky enough to be able to breastfed with ease, stop for a sec and think before you get all judgey on another woman doing the same job as you. Again – quote the mama mantra. Also please know that your boobs will be out 24 / 7 – all of this feed every 4 hours thing is bollocks….you finish one feed – take a very short break – you start feeding again…..its relentless but beautiful and an amazing bonding experience.
  • One more thing on the boobs….It doesn’t have to be one or the other – you can do both – part formula part breast……I did half and half – ANY BREASTMILK you can get to your baby is going to do them the world of good. 
  • You might get extremely bored – it can be sooooooo boring at the beginning! Download ALL the box sets. Go for ALL THE WALKS……Go to ALL THE GALLERIES, this is your time, before the child can escape on its own – DO ALL THE STUFF, as long as they are in that buggy / carrier you still have a massive amount of freedom, I didn’t really feel like that and i wish someone had told me……..This is your time. TRY TO ENJOY IT! It aaaaaaall changes once they can escape from you.
  • You may not bond with your baby to begin with….I didn’t and it was a real worry but now I can’t get enough of him, borderline obsessed – you will get there in your own time. Honestly. 
  • The bad news is – It’s really really bloody hard work – such hard work, this is probably parenthoods GREATEST secret! A 90 year old woman i met on a walk looked at my new mum face, read my mind and relayed this piece of wisdom to me “If we told you how hard it was none of you would ever ‘ave ’em in the first place!” Everyone finds it hard, absolutely everyone. 
  • The good news is – you can do this. You will find strength inside you that you didn’t know existed. You are now a superhuman. And crucially you are now an expert at time management. You will wonder what you ever did before you were a parent! 
  • You will now talk to anyone – absolutely anyone – actual strangers in the street – this is called ‘THE MUM CHAT.”
  • You might start calling bananas chickens, you will definitely forget everyones name, you will get halfway out of the house and decide that was a bad idea for today and walk straight back in, you will leave your house wearing your slippers, you might even try to give your baby a cup of coffee whilst taking a swig from the sippy cup / bottle. YOU ARE NOT MAD, you are just a new mum. 
  • Your baby might not sleep through the night for 2 years – we’re fooled into thinking that we can train these little humans at will but its not always true – its literally the luck of the draw…… will develop a new found love of sunrises and that super silent part of the day before anyone else is up – one of the few bonuses of the 5am wake up…….
  • Motherhood is a series of phases….thats the biggest thing i wish i’d know because it make the hard days that much easier to cope with, the phases pass SO QUICKLY but at the time if you are struggling they feel like they are lasting forever. 
  • Even if you don’t have a single glass of wine – you will feel hungover from tiredness so you know ; have the bloody wine if you want it! 
  • You will realise there is no such thing as clean or dirty, just can i get away with wearing it for one more day…….
  • Your love for your child will blow your tiny mind (speaking as myself and my tiny pea obv) to pieces and increase every single day (it might plateau a bit during the terrible twos though!).
  • You will swing between wondering why you didn’t do this sooner and why the hell you did this at all – all par for the course of the approx 50 emotions (minimum) you will experience every day – despair, guilt, elation, pride, happiness, sadness, extreme tiredness, total clarity are all in there.
  • All of us can only do the best that we can with the tools that we have in our lives at any given time. Give yourself a break – none of us are perfect. No-one is doing this better than you. 
  • You will laugh more than you’ve ever laughed before in your life, kids are fucking funny! SERIOUSLY funny.
  • DON’T BUY ALL THE STUFF! Parenthood is a booming industry – there are a million brands and services all ready to relieve you of your hard earned cash. Spend if you must but know that you do not need 90 per cent of ‘THE STUFF’ I might actually do another list of ‘things you don’t need to do / buy!’
  • You will never – ever nail it so don’t try to – just when you think you have it down your child will enter a totally new phase – it’s like they do it just to fuck us off seriously, they are always one step ahead! It’s one of the best, most infuriating parts of this mentally difficult, life affirming, beautifully bonkers journey. Welcome to the time of your life….



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