Congratulations! Welcome to the Mum’s Club!
This global club will support you, laugh with you, cry with you and hold hands with you over the next 18 (or so) years as your little baby grows.
The faces may change through the years yet the camaraderie will stay the same.
I’m sure you know of one (or more) who have joined the club before you and who you can now turn to as you tiptoe your way through the early stages of motherhood. Please do turn to them! They will have made mistakes and will be able to recommend some great products and services that will save you time and money.
Now I’m going to share the discoveries from my mothering journey to-date, in the hope that you are prepared when you discover them for yourself and that the foreknowledge will empower you in your journey.
1) You are a great mother. No matter how much you doubt yourself, or how much others doubt you, when your first concern is for your child you are already a good mother.
2) Now you have a child your every, and I mean EVERY, decision is up for public scrutiny. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet from your in-laws to the milkman and his wife will have an opinion on how you are raising your child. Most frustratingly they will want to share them at every opportunity. Keep in mind they are trying to be helpful so be polite and thank them before ignoring it completely.
Don’t make the mistake though of assuming all the advice from strangers will be useless, there will be a gem or two so listen well, smile, nod and then take away what you want.
3) There is no quick fix; one size fits all approach to parenting. I’m really sorry to share this one. Getting through an issue with a child takes time, effort, research and sometimes a good deal of tears (from you both). Do your research well and choose a strategy that feels right for you.
4) If the strategy or solution doesn’t feel comfortable for you don’t do it. Seriously, if you are uptight and uncomfortable when trying to ‘solve’ an issue your child will pick up on it and it will be harder for you both. There are plenty of ‘gentler’ techniques out there to try.
5) Ask for help. There is no rulebook that says you must do this alone. People want to help; they just don’t know how to help. If you want to have a nap ask them to take the baby for a walk in the pram, or to come for coffee and help you get on top of folding the laundry.
Human beings are not mind readers, the only way you can get the help you need is to ask.
6) Sleep is king. From the mother of a non-sleeper, the old adage of sleep when your baby sleeps is so true. Co-sleeping is a godsend for a tired mother. Research safe bed sharing or side car a cot to your bed. The less time you are awake at night tending to the baby the better off the whole family will be.
7) The Housework can wait. Spend this time looking after your little one and yourself. If the housework bothers you get a cleaner or arrange for a friend to sit with bubs while you clean.
Finally and this is the big one..
8) If you have a partner, make use of them. There is nothing to say they can’t take the baby out for a couple of hours and give you time to rest (or do the housework if you are so inclined). Let them make their own journey and memories with your little one, their own mistakes – they will only forget the nappies once, I promise. They are learning too so let them try things themselves. Hovering will only annoy them and undermine their confidence.
You are on an amazing journey now, one that will lead you to the highest of highs and possibly the lowest of lows.
Remember you are not alone; mothers around the world have been through it and are there to encourage and support you.
Yes you will find some mothers who will be nasty, judgemental and will try to pull you down for being open and honest but for everyone mother trying to pull you down there are a dozen waiting to lift you back up.
You my dear are an awesome mother and I’ve got your back.
Have you experienced great support since having your baby from other mothers? Please SHARE in comments below.