Thirteen years ago a hefty bundle of joy landed on my lap and turned my world upside down. Bringing up Harry has been challenging at times but hugely rewarding.
I don’t profess to have all the answers, but here are a few things I wish I had known as a new mum.
Don’t feel guilty if you would like to go back to work, equally don’t worry if you never want to go to work again. So much judgment is piled onto the already burdened shoulders of new Mums. You can’t win, so do what makes you happy.
You will make mistakes
I once dialled 999 when I found Harry shaking in his cot when he was six months old. Full on blue lights and two paramedics later he had simply over-heated. The paramedics thought it was hilarious, I was mortified. It’s a big old learning curve.
The expert brigade
Everyone will be telling you what to do about sleeping, eating and feeding. To quote Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen: “Be careful who’s advice you buy…. advice is just a form of nostalgia.”
Honestly, just do what you want and what feels right.
Don’t be intimidated by other new Mums
I remember some Mums arriving a baby group with full make-up and a pristine baby when I struggled to leave the house without vomit all over me. Looking back I don’t think they were coping better, they were just hiding it better.
Step away from the comparison game
Harry was almost two before he walked. Friends’ babies were walking from nine months and I was beside myself with worry. He did it eventually, but I would have saved myself a lot of stress by accepting babies do things when they’re good and ready and not before.
Different life stages
Don’t be too sad about them moving onto a different life stage. Hand on heart there isn’t a period in Harry’s life I haven’t found lovely in one way or another, yes even the teenage years. I’ve blogged about it here.
Change is the only constant
The second you have this parenting thing sorted, the goal posts change, they get a bit older and there are a whole new set of challenges to deal with. It’s never ending and you will always be winging it.
It’s okay to want a break
When you have a new born it’s really easy, and often unavoidable, to get completely absorbed in your new bundle of joy. If you can, make time for yourself, go out for coffee alone or do something you loved before having children. We all need some time out.
Be kind to yourself
Take time to acknowledge what you’ve gone through. It really is enormous mentally and physically. If you’re struggling, talk to family and friends. If you don’t want to, they can be the last people you want to confide in, speak to your midwife, health visitor or seek help online. Mind have some great resources here.
Do your pelvic floor exercises, your older self will thank you for it later on in life.