Mama Stuff

The Peaks & Valleys of Parenting

New mama and wordsmith behind,  Anna-Bet Stemmet, writes about the highs and lows of new parenthood (and why it’s sometimes not that bad!)

By Contributing writer Anna-Bet Stemmet


Let me start out by saying that I am brand spanking new to the whole parenting gig. In fact, a year ago I was still trying to figure out if the smoking hot bloke I’d met at Rocking the Daisies would become a regular guest star in the sitcom of my life. Suffice it to say things worked out swell. In the year since our fateful meeting we’ve proceeded to get hitched, make a human and move our little fellowship of three out to the Swartland (not necessarily in that order).

In the seven weeks that Jacques and I have been in charge of keeping a little person alive, here’s what I’ve learned about what it means to be a parent.

heartYou will be unfriended (both online and in real life)

Why this sucks


Letting go is never easy, especially when the thing you are letting go of is a lifestyle. The simple fact of the matter is that after you have a kid everything changes, and not just for a little while – forever. There’s no more impromptu kuiers, picnics, hikes, booze cruises or even quick cups of coffee. We’re on a feeding schedule over here people! This is difficult to explain to people who don’t have kids. It’s also really not their problem. Furthermore, no matter what you promise yourself before the kid pops out, you will probably post way too many baby pictures and bambino-related statuses and force some folks to hit unfollow for the sake of their sanity. Long story short, some of your friends are going to fade from the daily fabric of your life, mostly without malice. It just happens.

Why this is kind of cool


You know who also falls by the wayside during this social culling season? Toxic exes, fair-weather friends and those people you only ever saw at Shack. See it as an unprompted emotional spring clean. Good riddance y’all.


You will know everything, and then nothing



Why this sucks


Somewhere during the course of your pregnancy you will convince yourself that you are prepared for what lies ahead. Sorry friend, I am here to tell you that no matter how many books you read or little nieces and nephews you babysit, you cannot adequately prepare yourself for the reality of having a real live, flesh-and-blood child. It’s kind of like spotting for a history exam – the things you don’t give a second thought will end up being the stuff you needed to know. For instance (and granted this was kind of a big oversight), I was so convinced that I would be able to give birth naturally that I didn’t even bother to read up on C-sections. Fast-forward to the day of Alexandra’s birth and my cervix was simply wasn’t all that keen on dilating. Before I knew what hit me I was John Snow-ing my way to the operating theatre, where I was so grossly unprepared that I lost my marbles, mistook the smoke from the cauterization of the incision for vapour from a clearly overly relaxed surgeon’s e-cigarette and promptly had a panic attack on the table. Thee ring circus, folks.


Why this is kind of cool


You know what brings a couple closer together? Realising that they don’t have a clue what they’re doing and that they’d better stick together to figure it out. Fair enough, this kind of stress also has the potential to swing the other way and drive people apart, but if you’re having a kid with someone I’m hoping you’re lucky enough to also be in a relationship where open communication channels and mutual support forms part of the emotional landscape.


Opinions will abound



Why this sucks


People told me that once I have my baby I would be privy to unsolicited advice. My naïve thoughts on the matter were that I will just smile and wave my way through it all. This was before I realised that despite great advances in science a lot of baby-related stuff still seems to be up for debate and not all that cut and dried after all. When do you start solids? Do you give your baby water? Should you use a pacifier? Side, back or stomach? When there’s no right answer it becomes a bit more difficult to gloss over the conflicting advice that pours in from friends, relatives and people on online message boards and it can quickly cloud your instincts.


Why this is kind of cool


You are forced to form your own opinion. When there is no right answer you have to figure out what works best for your baby and stick to your guns. Also, you know all those people opinion-ing at you? They are doing it because they care. That’s nice.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned on our journey so far. Hopefully we’ll continue to make sense of the parenting adventure as we go along and not mess it up too badly.

Anna-Bet Stemmet

Anna-Bet Stemmet lives in Malmesbury with husband Jacques and baba Alexandra. She earns her keep as a content creator, copywriter, translator and freelance journalist

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  • Reply Nicola Tweed October 20, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Lovely post and so fitting considering I’ll be giving birth in 2 weeks time! Eeek! The only thing I hope I stick to is not posting any pics of my little one on social media, for me it’s always been something to only be shared with close friends and family 🙂 x

  • Reply Sandy Moolman October 20, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Excellent piece Anna-Bet! Would love to read more of your articles.

  • Reply Lydia April October 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    WOW!!…. God given talent….Knowledge is acquired by hard work & dedication…..Wisdom is from God….Anna-Bet Stemmet you are Blessed with both.
    You do not only capture the readers attention but also have them live the moment. I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles, it is so profound, original & yes daily living that we relate to ……how inspiring & thank you for enriching lives.

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