First time mum/referee to a wild toddler. Self confessed rum enthusiast. Aspiring writer but hell of a procrastinator. Blogging about Mental Health and this motherhood malarkey from a refreshingly honest perspective.

20 Things New Mums Need to Know



Becoming a mum for the first, second or even third time around is an experience like no other. It's magical, life changing and filled with love and dirty nappies (like, a lot). 
But, it's hard, exhausting and lonely. So, I asked myself, what advice would I want to give, what do I think an expecting or new Mum needs to know?

I've concluded my Top 20 bits below:

1. Ignore all the other advice

First and foremost, ignore all the other advice. People will hound you with earfuls of unsolicited opinions, what you 'should' do, how you 'must' parent.
The advice and recommendations is constantly changing. What was considered the norm five years ago, is now deemed unsafe. There doesn't seem to be anything you can do, without it being criticized or questioned.
What works for one baby might not work for another. How one parent strictly sleep trained their baby, might be futile for another.
Follow your own instincts, only you know what is best for your family.

2. F*ck the housework

Seriously leave the lump of washing hastily abandoned in a pile on the kitchen floor. Pretend you didn't just see your little one smudge that biscuit right into your cream carpet, hoover tomorrow.
Don't feel guilty about it. Your main focus right now is your new tiny bundle. Soak up those first precious cuddles, grab that long awaited nap when baby sleeps. The housework can wait, for now and rest assured, the pile of ignored dishes will still be there in a messy clutter tomorrow (I promise).

3. Ask for help

Whether you're struggling to cope, needing a break or just plain exhausted, it's okay to admit this. Reach out, make sure you have a strong support network surrounding you. Have the grandparents over to help out with baby while you attack the housework or enjoy a relaxing bath. While being away from your mini me may provoke an anxiety attack, accept when your parents offer to watch them so you can have some time off or catch up on sleep. Baby will fine (remember, the grandparents have done it before and you're still here unscathed.)
It's a never ending, unpaid job. Take the help if it's being offered, ask for it if needed. Don't feel you have to struggle on alone. It's okay to reach out!

4. You are still a great mum

We can't always get it perfect or do it right. We won't have it together all the time. Mistakes will be made, more often than not. The kids will have unavoidable accidents, you will voice your frustration at their unruliness and you'll, at times, just not want to deal with it.
But whether you're finding it overwhelming, or lonely, if you are crying as much as the baby, or finding this stage a bit tedious, that doesn't make you a bad mum...
Just a normal one.

5. You aren't expected to cherish every second

Over the course of my many blog ramblings, I have always reiterated the fact that I do not love every second, in fact the majority has been quite the opposite. Sometimes, it's really quite shit. Sometimes, I lose my shit. Sometimes, it's testing and frustrating and exhausting. Sometimes, I just can't wait for mum's day off.

This is all fairly normal. You can love your children whilst not loving every single second. Some of those seconds feel like eternity, it's alright to wish them speedily away.

6. The constant hangover feeling is normal

That feeling like you've just woken up after a weekend on the ran dan, disorientated and confused about what the hell happened, the pounding headache, the aching body and feeling like you just need to sleep it off for 6 months or so, yeah it's completely normal to feel that way for at least a good few months. The baby hangover is real!

7. Make mum friends

Being a new parent can follow with an incredibly strong feeling of loneliness. Whether your partner works most days or you're a single parent, the majority of your time seems to be spent alone with just you and the baby which can get a little monotonous and isolating.

Try researching into local mum and baby groups, book bug or classes such as baby yoga. It can be a great way of meeting other like minded mums who are probably feeling pretty similarly. Whether it's coffee dates or trips to the park with the kids, having people who you can call up to meet and escape the mundane kids TV, somebody to relate too and confide in, well, it can make those tough days a lot easier.

8. Establish a good routine

The first 6 weeks with a newborn are the toughest and it's a whole new little world to rapidly adjust into. Those first sleepless days will be spent simply soaking up the wonderment that comes with a new baby, recovering and finding your feet. You will mostly follow babies ques, feed on demand and work through their day/night mix up.

However, as the weeks pass, coming up with a simple, easy routine can make the fourth trimester a whole lot easier. Something as obvious as a 6pm bath time every night followed by a warm bottle and a comforter can help you all establish a set up that works for you all and will help create a structure and sense of normality. The earlier, the better is all I can say. I wish I'd set one up sooner!

9. Team Work Makes The Dream Work!

Babies really test a relationship,. One thing that is so crucial to remember, is that you are not against each other, but are together against the struggle. It doesn't matter who has been up for how many night feeds or whose turn it should have been last night, it doesn't matter who had the hardest job of work or being at home with the baby, it's not a competition. You are a team, work together.

10. Make time for each other

After baby, the entire dynamic of a relationship shifts. A lot of partners, especially Dads can sometimes feel a little neglected with mums full attention focused on their new child. Many Mums also struggle with confidence and self-esteem. Their bodies have stretched and changed to nurture a human for 9 months and they may be feeling less 'appealing' to their partners.

Talking to each other openly about your fears, concerns and troubles is the best way forward. Make time for one another whenever possible, eat a meal together, talk about your day, do the little things that you know your significant other will appreciate. 

If possible, get a babysitter and spend some quality time doing what you both enjoy! Whether that's cuddled up watching a movie or a night on the town, remember you're not just parents, you're a couple. Keeping the spark takes commitment but its worth it. 

11.  Bribery works!

FYI, when the kids won't give you peace to indulge in a coffee or pointlessly scroll through Facebook, if you can't even pee without tiny hands banging on the bathroom door demanding your full attention, if it's one of those days where they just Don't. Stop. Whining!! Well, a little bribery never hurt nobody.
Plop them in front of the TV with a chocolate biscuit or their favourite snack, and savour those five blissful moments of peace.

12. Don't feel pressured

Don't feel burdened to conform to other peoples expectations of how you should be raising your child(ren). Don't feel overcome to give into others ideals of what a parent has to do in order to be doing it the 'right' way. Breastfeed or bottle feed, baby in their own room or co-sleeping, every one will do it their own way.
People will judge you no matter what you decide, do what fits you and your family best.

13. You Are Still You

I know you are probably feeling out of sorts, a little lost, a bit meh. You might be struggling with your changed body or your loss of identity. 
You're a Mum now, but you're not just Mum. You are still the incredible individual you were before, even if it doesn't feel so. 

14. Don't Beat Yourself Up

Seriously, stop being so hard on yourself, stop criticizing, stop putting yourself down. Give yourself some positive feedback, speak kindly to yourself when doubt appears, remind yourself of just how amazing you are doing each and every day.

As parents, we seem to turn into our own worst critics. We are so harsh on ourselves, no matter what we do, it's never good enough. Don't beat yourself up, you are doing a remarkable job and when you feel differently, look at your contented baby who mirrors back everything you have achieved, who promises unconditional love.

You are doing the best you can. Be gentle with yourself.

15. Embrace The New You

It's hard to feel comfortable in your own skin after having a little one, I struggled myself. I loathed my sagging stomach, the stretch marks, the hormonal acne that spread over every corner of my face but my body slowly began to go back, though not completely, to how it was before. I learned to embrace my stretch marks and be proud of what it went through to give me my baby. 

Love your body, work those stretch marks. Be confident in your new skin, you grew a life! You are remarkable, cellulite and all!

16. Don't go by the book

Put down the "100 Reasons Why You're A Shit Parent", stop highlighting notes in, "How To Stop Your Baby From Being... A Baby", whilst some advice is welcomed, and sometimes, reassuring, it is not always helpful or accurate. No single baby is the same. Studying a 3000 word book on how to make your baby be less clingy, won't miraculously solve their overbearing neediness.
It's a baby, not a machine. It can't be done by a "How to Parent" book. Follow your instinct. 

17. Is it a competition?

Don't compare yourself to all the other mums around you. It's not a race nor a competition. There is no step by step instructions on how your parenting years should go.
Every parent is different, every baby is different. Every single person has a unique and individual life, circumstance, mindset. Don't feel so bogged down if you're not at the same stage as someone else, if your baby seems behind on a milestone (they do things when they're ready, trust the pace), if it feels like you don't have it as quite together as the yummy mummy you stalked on instagram. Don't believe a stage created as an appealing ideal for the number of followers.

Trust the timing!

18. Bloody Phases!

Really, it's all just one fucking shit show of phases, some more trying than others. The colic period, the teething that never seems to stop, the separation anxiety, the terrible twos, it's all different and, what feels like never-ending phases. But it does pass... eventually. And it's all just phases (honest).

19. It's Okay To Lose Your Shit

Babies are exhausting, toddlers are tossers at times. It's okay to scream into a pillow or crack open a bottle of pinot at the end of a hard day. It's perfectly sane to curse, "little arsehole" at least 10 times in one hour. It's a tough job and I'd be more concerned if you never lost your shit. 

20. It Gets Easier (I promise)

It might feel overwhelming right now. It most likely feels never ending. You're probably wondering why you haven't died from sleep deprivation yet. You miss feeling like you and would kill for a day where your t-shirts are covered in baby sick or dried in milk.
You're probably wrapped up in the conclusion that it never gets any better. Well, I can assure you, it does. Honestly. 

Whilst each stage comes with a new challenge, a new obstacle to figure out, it does settle down. You do start to feel like yourself again, you will get a solid 8 hour sleep and you will begin to feel at ease.
It's the toughest job in the world and nothing prepares you for it but the love you have for your little life will out shine any difficulties or hard times you face. 
Keep going, you've got this!

2 comments

  1. Love this! The first one about other advice is spot on, when I had Lottie the advice was do not wean until 4 months now it's 6 months... I am currently weaning Kieran at 4 months because I know my child, I know what he wants, I know he can digest it and even my Health Visitor said it is only GUIDANCE. Do what you feel is right! Although we don't actually have a routine in this house but that's what works for us.

    Great article Mrs, well written (although I didn't expect anything less)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely need to follow your own instincts, you know your baby best!
      Thanks misses, so greatly appreciated as always xo

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