Parented – by Karen

9 Jun

I’m kind of rolling my eyes in anticipation of my own entry here.

I definitely have mummy-blog fatigue. Want proof? I have a folder in my Google Reader called Parenting. Every few months, I will subscribe to a blog, then inevitably, I will delete it a week or so later.

It could be argued that this is because I had read every possible thing about parenting by the time I was 14 weeks pregnant.

It might also be because I don’t enjoy the current themes of intelligent middle-class motherhood. It’s tedious. It’s fractious and self-righteous. And I haven’t forgotten, it’s everything I was when I first became a parent (and still can be from time to time).

My favourite book for new parents is Baby Love by Robin Barker, because the subtext clearly says, “I don’t give a crap what you do and I’m honestly sick of hearing your opinions, but here’s how you change a nappy, FFS.” At the same time you know the sheer joy of cuddly little creatures runs fizzing through her veins.

Despite having parenting philosophy fatigue, I am impossibly, head over heels maternal. I walk past a baby farm style daycare on my way to boot camp, and every time there is a child inconsolably screaming, and every time I do emotional somersaults just to get past them to my kettlebells.

I did not know I was maternal, when I was younger, despite always liking babies and small kids. Here are some of my character traits that I thought were incompatible with motherhood: petulance, laziness, rebelliousness, adventurousness, spirit, sloppiness. It turns out they’re not.

I am sure there are fresh and interesting things to be said about parenting, and I’ve read many of them from you guys on this blog (and from our small but essential team of commenters). This is a short post, but I open the floor to questions. If there’s anything you’d like to know about me and how I’ve parented, or been parented, I’ll be delighted to answer. If you’re just over the whole thing already, that’s fine – we’ve got a new topic next week :-).


9 Responses to “Parented – by Karen”

  1. Tabitha June 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I know that when you say you have read every possible thing about parenting, you’re not lying. I have parenting philosophy fatigue without having even consumed any.

  2. Justyna June 11, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    I dug this post. Way.
    I have not read anything on parenting. EXCEPT for the Barker book! That was my only guide. I learned how to boob it without my nipples falling off. The absolute no bullshit book. My friend Jodie mailed to me when Kaz was born. I then mailed it on to my friend Juliette.

    I was anticipating your post Karen. I like your stance. A lot.

    • Justyna June 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

      By the way, what is baby farm style day care? Do chickens run after kids? Do kids learn how to milk a cow? Seriously, what is it? And no, I will not Google it.

    • Beth June 12, 2012 at 5:17 am #

      If Robin Barker earns good royalties she must get a nice cheque every year – you see that book on so many bookshelves!

      Partly because I’m such a non-reader, partly because I thought it would all come ‘naturally’ to me, I didn’t read any books about parenting before Leo was born (did read about pregnancy and birth stuff a fair bit tho). Don’t regret it, but that’s how it was.

      After he was born, I never got past the first chapter of any childrearing book without bursting into tears (they all had such a laundry list of why breastfeeding was the best and formula had xyz drawbacks). It actually turned out to be a blessing because my head was full enough with all my own crap.

      We have officially exhausted this topic. No questions Karen. I will happily wear a t-shirt that says “I think A LOT”. Not going to say “TOO MUCH” because I’ve really thought about it and…… ha!

  3. Celia August 1, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    Just wanted to thank you for mentioning the Baby Love book – I bought a copy after seeing you mention it here, and have found it tremendously reassuring in a nice blunt way. That gummy eye – normal, hiccups – normal, crappy sleeping patterns – normal, and no, it’s nothing you’re doing. I like the sensible, no-nonsense tone of her writing.

    • Karen August 5, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      Celia – wow, I am so happy to have helped someone find their way to Aunty Robin ;-). All the best with it!

  4. robin barker July 29, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Hello Karen, Robin Barker here.
    I have just stumbled across your wonderful comment:
    ‘My favourite book for new parents is Baby Love by Robin Barker, because the subtext clearly says, “I don’t give a crap what you do and I’m honestly sick of hearing your opinions, but here’s how you change a nappy, FFS.” At the same time you know the sheer joy of cuddly little creatures runs fizzing through her veins’.
    It’s the best thing anyone has ever written about my books. My husband and I are in fits. As he says, ‘she’s really nailed you.’
    I would love to use the quote on the blog I am about to start – not entirely about babies I hasten to add – and would love to hear from you to get permission to use it. WTF, it should be on the cover of Baby Love, unfortunately the new 6th (is there no end to this book) is done and dusted and on the shelves.
    I’m hoping you see this as it seems this blog has kind of expired.
    Thankyou for making my evening and I hope to hear from you.

    • Karen July 29, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Oh my goodness Robin. This justifies the existence of the internet!

      Would be an absolute delight to be featured on your blog (or book). As you see in the comment above I was pretty chuffed even to have turned someone onto your books with my crass remarks. Feel free to contact me at karenlgould at if you should need any info on me or my creatures.


  1. What I’m reading | O Frabjous Day - June 10, 2012

    […] enjoyed Kaz Cooke’s Up the Duff and Kid Wrangling, and after reading the recommendation by Karen on Far Flung Four, I’ve ordered a copy of Robin Barker’s Baby Love. (“Is that a whole book about […]

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