I was such an earnest, so new at it mum – I read every practical parenting mag and lived off every flyer from the midwife (pre-easy internet days). I totally sweated about microscopic, and now laughable, things. I did it by the book the first time round and now wish I hadn’t. So much has changed, but maybe this will help you if you are a newish mum too.
“Ain’t no hood like Motherhood” anon
Here’s the things I wish I could go back and tell my new mum self:
RELAX, DON’T SWEAT IT!
– You are the absolute best person for the job, there’s no-one else more qualified to be their mum than YOU!
– Remember to enjoy this new stage of your life; one day you will feel ‘all I did was blink’ and they grew up.
– Sometimes / days you nail it, and sometimes ‘there’s work to be done’.
– You are growing a human not a robot.
– Occasionally you gotta just ditch the routine and be spontaneous.
– You don’t need to be given a manual; you get to write the manual.
– There’s a few of life’s great mysteries that will never get solved…
Why, why, why are there always odd socks & gloves; where do teaspoons & DVDs disappear to?
STAGES TAKE AGES
– The days feel long, but the seasons go really fast.
– Ruminating & worrying about things like weight & poop, natural, organic, breast is best, soothers, back or belly, cotton wool or wipes and on (insert latest baby must not’s here) will wear you out.
“I’ve got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I’m stressing about for absolutely no logical reason” anon
– Focus energy to enjoy smiles, seek connection and make memories.
– Believe me, we all grow older and better with age and experience.
– The new way is not always the best way. Ask lots of questions of other mums (old and young), bolt on the best advice that works for you & ditch what doesn’t.
– Slow things down, take your time, enjoy the journey and let each stage be an adventure.
PRACTICE EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
– The best gift to your baby is a healthy & happy you. Do a regular Emotional Health Check; have you asked yourself ‘am I well in body, mind and spirit?’
“In the end I am the only one who can give my children a happy mother who loves life” anon
– You don’t have to be it all, do it all and have it all.
– QUIT obsessing about your new body shape; it’s changed and that’s okay & your desires might be different and that’s also okay. You will find your husband is happy just being intimate & hey – if he enjoys what he sees then so should you!
– If you are unhealthy or unfit do something about it. If you have no intention of doing anything don’t beat yourself up about it.
– Your life will now be filled with someone to care for – don’t forget you need to leave space to be cared for too. It’s not only about everyone else’s needs. Take help when it’s offered because people ‘WILL’ stop asking!
– Let your baby see the real you.
– Have fun, read, watch Netflix, go new places, make new friends and get your nails done every once in a while. Eat food you enjoy and do things you want to do.
– When it is time to go back to work, 1st – be absolutely sure it’s what you want & 2nd – if it’s because you need to, adjust your life so you can be in peace; own your choices and adjust accordingly. But don’t waste a moment feeling trapped!
YOU ARE QUALIFIED.
– Babies don’t care for letters after your name, or for the newest studies; not in one bit concerned what class you went to or what you get them for their birthday. They just care that you are there, present and providing.
– And remember, you don’t need a textbook perfect life, because you get a lifetime to become an expert on your family.
– Your ‘tribe’ was not designed to be an off the shelf model; you are together because there’s a unique sound you make and a unique purpose.
“As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen” -Pooh-
Being a mum will be the bravest, craziest, most puzzling, most amazing, exhilarating, confidence building journey of your life. Journal it and be present as much as possible.
Hey new parent – we are all with you and you are doing a great job
Just be you!