1) Know when to ask for help
Pre-baby, being an independent fully functioning self-sufficient young woman making it in the adult world all on my fabulous lonesome was a top priority. Post-baby I quickly realised how important it was to take offers of help when they were there and to ask for help when I needed it. Sometimes it’s as simple as an extra pair of hands just while you do housework, get some work done, run an errand or even in the early days just to take a break from holding your little bundle of joy for a few minutes when they are going through the clingy phase! My father even in his 70’s is still amazing at doing this!
It’s only when you have children that you realise how important that personal network can be. Whether it’s family, friends that you can count on, a good neighbour, a babysitter, a health professional or anyone else you can trust will provide you with an invaluable safety net of support if and when you might need it.
I was lucky to have a great group of friends who have a mom whatsapp group. It was invaluable to be able to ask all the pressing questions I had at the time when the boys were young such as that grunting Nathaniel was doing in his sleep, is that normal? What sort of nappies are good? Which paediatrician would you recommend etc? Nowadays it’s more talk of Montessori and getting through those tough first few days and lately to what Santa experience is the best!
2) Learn to enjoy the little moments
When you are stuck in the moment of sleepless nights, refluxy babies and changing clothes for the fifth time that morning it can be hard to relish those precious little moment with your bundle of joy. It was only after Nathaniel was a little older that I realised there was an end in sight to the tough times and that time was going so quickly I needed to try slow down and enjoy it more. A friend told me recently she was reading an article that reminded her you only really have 18 Summers with them. This really hit me when the realisation of just how quick time goes hit! There will be a time when they won’t want their mummy snuggles or cuddles or will cringe at the kisses so try slow down, be present and enjoy every experience as you don’t know how long each one will last for.
3) Routine, routine, routine
I’m a stickler for a routine!! Having had two refluxy babies, having a regular daytime and bedtime schedule for the boys gave me a sense of structure when nothing was guaranteed. They helped save me during the challenging times.
As the boys are getting older I’m finding the routines even more important at times. They really are thriving on it. Bedtimes have become so much easier as they know what’s happening and mornings too. It can be quite a challenge getting a household ready for work and Montessori in the morning so it’s vital that everyone knows the plan!
The key to routines is to find one that works for you and your family. Everyone is different so don’t get disheartened if the routine your friend is using doesn’t work for you. There’s always the right one for everyone out there, it’s just a case of trial and error! We didn’t really land on ours ourselves to begin with so enlisted the help of a wonderful sleep therapist Lucy Wolfe and she helped to get us set up! It was so easy then second time around with Sebastian as he just fell in with the routine everyone else in the family was on.
Being a new mom can be a lonely time. It’s so important to communicate often whether you’re happy or sad or just want a chat. Even just communicating with your baby and telling them what you are doing every time you do something. It’s amazing how quickly they pick things up and start to understand the queues. They are little sponges at that age absorbing everything!!
5) Everyone is different, don’t compare yourself!
In the age of instagrammers it can be so hard to just be happy being you. These lifestyles that are created for the camera can often put so much pressure on new moms particularly when they are tired and feeling vulnerable with a new little arrival. It’s so important to try not to compare yourself. You are doing the best job that you can do. It’s important you create your own story and your own journey. You never know what their lives are like away from the camera. Chances are they have the exact same issues as you!
Photos by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels