- You will do those things you swore you would never do! That’s right, you will give your child an iPad at the dinner table when out to keep them quiet and calm. You will feed them McDonalds when that is all they are simply willing to eat. You will turn on shitty cartoons just to get 5 minutes to yourself to pee or shower or even just sit down too. And thats ok. Because parenting is hard! Parenting is physically draining but even more so mentally draining. You will do whatever you have to do to get through the days, especially witching hour (THOSE FEW HOURS WHERE THE KIDS JUST RUN RIOT AND ARE MISERABLE ALWAYS AT DINNER TIME).
- The washing basket will never be empty again. I used to pride myself on being one of those people who never had washing in their dirty wash basket. I would do a load a day, always staying on top of it but never again do I see that happening. Now I do minimum 3 loads a day and I still can’t keep up. Between bedding, kids clothes, our clothes, soaking and stain removal, washing is a never ending pile and that too is OK! You don’t need to have it completely perfect.
- Routines are helpful! BUT NOT THE END OF THE WORLD! When I first had Billie, I was so concerned about getting into a routine. She had to eat, sleep in her bassinet, burp, poop and function exactly at the same time (OK slight exaggeration). And yes, I was lucky that because of this, Billie slept through the night from three weeks old. But I missed out on those newborn cuddles. I was so stressed about getting into a routine I look back and realise now I missed those most beautiful new born days where I could just soak in my baby and really bond in a way that soon she would no longer need or want me. Don’t get me wrong, I believe routines are extremely important. But don’t let it stress you out to the point where my partner found me sobbing and rocking myself curled up in a ball on the shower floor after a long day.
- Everyone will have opinions and a little bit of advice for you all. Some are helpful, some are just judgemental. But listen to every opinion because even though it may not be what you believe, or may not be relevant right now, things change and it may be a lifesaving tip in the future!
- Parenting is an emotional rollercoaster. I am lucky that I never suffered with Postnatal Depression. But I can see how people easily can. Sleep deprivation, pregnancy, birth and the smell of newborn babies tend to make our hormones go crazy! There are extreme highs, extreme lows and some numbness in between. I struggled big time with the numbness. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby before I had her and that only grew stronger every second of every day. But for a good four months I went through the motions of each day in a haze. I felt love, I felt sad but majority of the time I just felt like this walking shell of a human that was simply a feeding device for the child who had changed my life in every way possible. That’s ok if you feel this too! It is normal and completely understandable. Your body and your life has just been turned on it’s head. Take some time for you. Whether thats just being nice to yourself and having some positive thoughts about the amazing person you are or whether it’s dropping the baby off to family or child care and having some time completely alone. A mother can’t be the best version of a parent when they are pouring from an empty mug!
- A mother does no best! This goes hand in hand with number 4 but this one I learnt the hard way. A mother’s intuition is not something to blow off. I don’t mean jumping down peoples throats whenever they try to help you or if you are a little over the top not flying down to the emergency room every time bubs sneezes. But I mean if you have a feeling something isn’t quite right with your little one, your probably right. At birth I was told Billie’s heart was different but as there were no issues delivering her, there was no need to see the cardiologist for a review. In hospital I asked 4 times for a referral because I just wanted to triple check knowing that her condition was so rare. At her 6 week check up with the paediatrician I was told there is no need to waste the cardiologists time and I was just being paranoid. I demanded a referral. Two weeks later I saw the cardiologist and discovered Billie had a heart murmur, other heart issues and required surgery. The next day, she had a breathing attack and was rushed to the RCH where she spent a week under observations and tests followed by a week of recovery post surgery. Yes you need to listen to everyone around you and yes you need to trust your doctors. But if you have a gut feeling, whether its a health concern or a developmental concern, follow it up. As mum’s really do no best!
- Even though it can be hard, a parent’s love is like no other. I thought I understood what I meant when my mum said she would throw herself in front of a bus for me and my sisters. But it is a whole new level of love and unconditional support that I never knew existed. Despite the screaming, the crying, the pooping, feeling like a feeding machine, the love you will have for your child is beyond the most incredible bond you could imagine. Don’t panic if this bond isn’t instant, as I said before sometimes the emotional rollercoaster can get in the way. But you are the centre of your child’s whole world. And soon enough they will be the centre of yours. You won’t remember a life before them.
I hope my tips can help new parents feel like what they are going through is somewhat normal. If you think your struggling beyond the norm, reach out. Whether thats to your doctor, to family, to friends or to me. Drop a comment with your experiences and what you have learnt since becoming a parent! I would love to hear as the lessons are never ending. I am always here to listen, to talk and not to judge. I know it’s easy to fall into the belief that life with a baby is just this blissful cocoon but that is rarely the case. So you are doing ok Mumma, you got this.
If you would like to read more about how I got here to this lucky life I am living, please take a look at my post ‘This Is Not How I Imagined my Life to be 5 Years Ago /https://anordinarymumma.com/2019/01/28/this-is-not-how-i-imagined-my-life-to-be-5-years-ago/