Sadly, real life may well collide with your ideas of parenthood. So when it comes to caring for a baby, what kind of mum are you going to be?
Take our quick quiz, with comments from parenting educator Lois Haultain (Positive Parenting Network of Australia
) to find out.
1. How have you prepared for the birth?
a) By shopping - how else? There are so many gorgeous things to buy.
b) With a 10-section file on birthing positions, obstetricians' numbers, hospitals and best buys.
c) I meditate and try to connect with my baby by playing music, and talking and reading to her.
d) I've marked the due date on my calendar.
2. You're on maternity leave and you've got a week before the baby's due. What will you do?
a) Wax, colour and manicure... don't want hairy toes for the birth!
b) Check out three local schools - you've got to get in early.
c) Squeeze in an extra hypnobirthing class after yoga.
d) Buy pram, cot, nappies, change table, baby clothes, car seat and a copy of Baby Love
3. Think about shopping with your baby. Can you see any changes?
a) None - I hear the Bugaboo has a tight turning circle.
b) I won't need to go near the shops for six months; I've stocked up on everything I'll ever need.
c) We've bought everything secondhand and are in a baby goods swap scheme.
d) We'll just do the usual daily shop to get stuff for dinner that night.
4. How about going out or socialising - any changes there?
a) Hopefully not too many - I'm planning my birthday party for a month after the baby's arrival.
b) None. I've been collecting babysitters' details for two years.
c) I'm not planning on going out - I won't want to leave my baby.
d) None, we'll take the baby wherever we go. Have pouch will travel!
5. One of your biggest worries about having this baby is:
a) That you can still fit into your Sass & Bide's afterwards.
b) That after all this research, you still haven't nailed the best pram.
c) No worries this is my life's dream, and it's going to be perfect.
d) That you'll sometimes forget where you put the baby.
6. Do you think you'll stick to a routine?
a) I've already got a routine - I just hope the baby likes it.
b) I've done the breastfeeding spreadsheet, I've just got to finish the sleeping one.
c) I'll follow any patterns my baby sets
d) Routine isn't that something gymnasts do?
Mostly A's: Hands-off Mum
You're used to looking after yourself and don't think that a baby will change things too much. You've been used to the good things in life and are looking forward to the baby's arrival, but think she should fit in around your lifestyle, rather than the other way around.
Lois' opinion: "Mums who take good care of themselves can have more energy for their children. Try to get the balance here, remembering that you need to take the time to connect with your baby for their lifelong wellbeing. Slow your pace and make some compromises and you'll reap the benefits in joy and a more grounded baby."
Mostly B's: Super Mum
You have high expectations of your little one and your lives together. You're highly organised and have read up on all aspects of parenthood. You believe in routine and you think you'll have your baby and household running like clockwork. You'll do everything you can to make sure your child has the best of everything - activities, education, fun and, of course, the best of mums.
Lois' opinion: "Full marks for providing your children the security of predictable routines and opportunities to learn! But be aware that the best laid plans of mums can go awry, so practise taking that in your stride. Giving your kids something to rise to is great, but watch out that your expectations are realistic - your kids may get the message that they need to perform well to earn your love."
Mostly C's: Earth Mum
You've been waiting for this all your life, and are ready to devote yourself to it body, mind and soul. Your whole world is devoted to your child and her well being. You'll be a doting mum and things will be organic, home cooked and cotton all the way, even if it means a lot of extra work for you.
Lois' opinion: "Your devotion to, love for and enjoyment of your children is wonderful. You don't know it yet, but you'll have to take good care of yourself if you're not going to burn out and feel resentful. Remember that you're a person in your own right and you'll need some time out from your baby to pamper yourself. That might mean cutting corners on less important things, doing something just for you and keeping your own dreams alive."
Mostly D's: Relaxed Mum
You're laid back, relaxed and take a 'she'll be right attitude' to most things. You're over the moon about having a baby, even though your life is already somewhat unpredictable and chaotic. You can't wait to get the adventure underway and are excited about the experiences which lie ahead.
Lois' opinion: "Your flexibility, positive attitudes and ability to stay calm stand you in good stead for handling the unexpected ups, downs and crises of life with kids. If life is completely chaotic, however, kids can become anxious and act out, so be prepared to develop a fairly consistent routine around things like meals, bath time, bedtime and family rules - it'll work out better for the kids and for you, too!"