|One of my most happiest moments - the arrival of Cherub|
Just when you think you have figured out this parenting job, something changes and you find yourself scratching your head and wondering what on earth you should be doing.
Today I thought I would share with you my 10 lessons I have learnt since becoming a Mum.
1. Look after yourself – Being a Mum can be really tiring, especially when you have a newborn that has you up every two or three hours feeding and changing nappies.
I remember in the newborn days of being told “Take a sleep when she does”. It really is helpful advice, especially when you are dog-tired from being up in the middle of the night and feel like you can’t get anything done the next day.
If you can’t get to sleep, make sure you take some time for yourself even if it’s to soak in a hot bath for 30 minutes or to sit on the lounge and read a book while bub is asleep.
If you need to bottle-feed your bub, don't feel bad about it. Lots of well-meaning people will like to give you their viewpoint on what is best for your child, but you know what, as a Mum you do whats best for your child. If you are anything like me and can't breastfeed don't get upset and feel bad about it. If you have to give your baby formula, you give them formula. At the end of the day, when you see a bunch of kids walking down the street you won't be able to tell who was bottle-fed to who was breastfed.
3. Don’t try and be Supermum – Don’t put pressure on yourself to get everything done in one day. When you have a baby not everything goes to plan. Your bub may not take a nap, or your daily routine may change. As the baby gets older they will want more attention from you, and will spend less time asleep, so you may not have enough time (or energy) to get everything done.
Try not to stress about the housework, it will always be there. If you are worried about neglecting the housework, try breaking the work into small jobs, which you can do over a few days, rather than overdoing it.
4. Get out and enjoy the fresh air – There will be those days when you will find yourself in the house. A. lot. Especially when your bub is tiny and new, and needing all that sleep. Just because they're a tiny newborn, does not mean you can’t take them out. One of the best things I found was to put my bub in the pram and take her for a walk. The fresh air will do you both good, and bub will still take a nap in the pram with the bouncing around of the pram.
5. Look for tired signs – When I had Popette I found a great workshop held at Tresillian which discussed the tired signs of a newborn, e.g. yawning, becoming grizzly, hands clenched into fists, rubbing their eyes etc. Knowing your babies tired signs will help you so much. It’s the key thing to look for when you need to put them down for a sleep. I am so grateful that I attended the workshop, as it helped us out so much. Not only I could tell the tired signs, but also my husband was able to pick them out. Which made putting our girls down for a nap during the day or to sleep at night a breeze. Yes, we still had days when they would grizzle and not want to go to sleep, but they were rare.
6. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you will ever do - There are days when you will feel frustrated, tired, angry, and emotional especially if you have a baby that doesn't sleep or cries a lot. You may feel as though you are struggling, or like the worst parent for letting them cry. Don’t. Every new parent at one time or another will go through the same feelings as you. Parenting is hard work! If you are feeling down, talk to a trusted friend or speak to a medical professional like your GP or Early Childhood Nurse. While most new Mums go through 'baby blues', you need to check its not postnatal depression (PND), so don't be afraid to ask for help.
7. Enjoy this moment – The newborn and toddler years go by so quickly. It makes me wish that I had taken Cherub’s first couple of years more slowly. While I have enjoyed some wonderful moments with both my girls, I wish I hadn't been so worried about how tidy the house was. Enjoy this moment it is such a special time.
8. Find a supportive group - I remember when Popette was born I wasn't sure how to compare her milestones to other babies as she had been born prematurely. So I was relieved when the hospital referred me to a playgroup consisting of other premature babies. Finding a supportive group can be so helpful, especially when you have children the same age as you can find out how they are growing, compare developmental milestones, or talk about problems you've been having.
I've been lucky to come across some lovely Mums in both my Mums group and Playgroup where I can speak to them about my concerns regarding my children, but also just get together and have a vent over a coffee. If you are lucky you may form some wonderful friendships for not only you, but your little one.
9. The rewards are worth all the stress - While there are days when being a Mum can seem like the toughest job, it can also be the most rewarding. When you hear your little one say your name for the first time, or you get a leg cuddle with a little voice say “I love you Mumma”...it is so worth all the stress!
You mean the world to your baby. As they grow, they will look up to you, and love you so very much (even when they grow up and tell you that they may not love you anymore. They still do!) They will do anything and everything just to please you. Make sure you praise and recognise their achievements, even when they are struggling and finding it hard to hit a milestone, still cheer them on to make them work even harder at what they want to achieve. You are their biggest cheerleader after all! While parenting is lots of hardwork, you will be rewarded in the end. I promise.
10. Your social life will change – Over the past 6 years my husband and I have lost some friendships due to our life being at a different stage to our friends. As much as we tried to stay in touch, some times it can be hard to catch-up with friends especially if baby's routines, nap times, or lack of a babysitter comes into play. If you are like us and only have one salary to live on, you may find that you can't afford to go out as much as you used to, or keep up with the social gatherings.
I can't say I know everything about being a Mum, I still have a long way to go. What I do know is that these little people are here because we wanted them to be here. We should love them, encourage them, protect them, nurture them and help them to be strong, happy, adventurous, confident, amazing little people. Who grow to be big, better people than all of us. So enjoy them!