Newsflash: Babies are meant to be 'spoiled'

QT's Mummy Columnist Clare Evans of Goodna.
QT's Mummy Columnist Clare Evans of Goodna. David Nielsen
LOVE: There’s nothing better than cuddling up together.
LOVE: There’s nothing better than cuddling up together. Oksun

YOU might have gathered that I'm not really a "leave baby to cry" kind of mum.

I just can't do it.

It makes my heart hurt and my boobs leak. But apparently, this is The Wrong Thing to Do.

We were out at a do a little while ago, and I had El Baberino in her bouncy.

She started having a bit of a yell, so I picked her up, gave her a kiss and a cuddle, and popped her on for a feed.

A woman I did not know, let's call her Betty Busybody, looked at me with consternation and disapproval all over her face.

"Oooh, that baby's manipulating you, isn't she?" said BB.

"You're making a rod for your own back, spoiling her like that."

And there you have it.

The words I most loathe to hear (other than "mum, my head's itchy"). All that nonsense that my baby is somehow an evil genius plotting my eternal damnation with every cry.

So let's get something straight.

My baby is not manipulating me. She's being a baby.

I'm pretty sure it would be easier for her if she could say to me, "mother dear, be a pet and lay off the garlic, would you? It makes your milk taste weird and gives me a rather delicate tummy."

But she can't. She can only cry.

Similarly, it's not very soothing of me to say to her, "El Baberino, be a sport and quit your whinging, mummy is trying to watch The Bold and The Beautiful."

I'm not making a rod for my own back, whatever that means.

I gather that what people like old mate BB are trying to tell me is that by soothing tears with kisses and cuddles now, I'm setting El Baberino up to expect that I will always be there with those kisses and cuddles for future upsets.

Wouldn't that be a dreadful thing? Does it really matter that she might need my help to get to sleep for a little while?

I don't think there's anything much more beautiful than cuddling up with a tiny sleepyhead, so if that's the rod for my back, I'll happily take it.

I'm not spoiling my baby, I'm loving my baby.

This idea of spoiling seems so ridiculous to me - isn't that what babies are for?

For covering in kisses, and taking all of your attention away from the giant pile of washing in your lounge room.

They're for marvelling at tiny toes and delighting in smiles at the sound of your voice.

If that's spoiling her, well, I guess I do.

But I'd rather her be a spoilt baby than a stressed one.

Telling mums not to follow their instincts when it comes to their babies is a multi-million dollar industry, and it thrives on concern-trolls like Betty.

Put down the book and listen to what your baby is trying to tell you.

You're only able to fix all their woes with kisses for such a short time.


Anxious times with a daughter in fire zone

WE'VE been running on fairly high stress levels around here this week, watching the fires develop in the Blue Mountains in NSW.

You see, that's where the Child Genius lives now with her dad.

It's difficult to describe how it feels to know that your child is in the middle of an incredibly dangerous and fraught situation while you are so very far away and unable to do much other than send messages to check that they're all right and to tell them that you love them.

They evacuated, as did cousins and friends who live in the area.

It's such a heartbreaking situation, and the catastrophe of natural disasters is obviously something that we in Ipswich obviously know all too well.

So when I was driving behind someone who flicked a lit cigarette out their window the other day, I had to work pretty hard to keep my road rage in check.

That's all it takes, sometimes, to start a fire that loses control.

Please, think about fire safety. Talk to your kids about fire safety.

Take time this week to check your emergency kit, and locate your identity and insurance paperwork.

And hope you don't need it.

Topics:  clare evans editors picks modern mum opinion

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