Whilst giving birth is the most natural thing in the world, being a mum is not. It’s totally normal to feel out of your depth in the early days, and there is lots of bad advice out there. This is why I have put together my top 5 tips for new mums.
Don’t feel bad for not meeting your own expectations
Being a mum is hard – really hard. Everyone builds up this idea in their heads that their children are going to be different from everyone else’s. That they will grow up eating all their vegetables, doing their chores and homework without being told, and that they won’t watch TV or be obsessed with social media.
This is one idea we must get out of our heads straight away. No one is the perfect parent, and that first time you bribe your child with a toy to get them to behave might seem wrong, but if you’ve had a hard day and have a busy evening coming up and you just need calm, then it might just be the best decision.
Don’t judge yourself based on other new mums
Most new mums get the feeling that they’re drowning in dirty nappies and mess whilst everyone else is living pristine lives with perfect babies – don’t fall into the trap – everyone is struggling as much as you, they just putting on the perfect mum act for appearances. The average new mum spends 30 minutes a day researching how to raise their children, and that’s just the average! So when someone says they 2 month old is sleeping through the night, or that they lots of free time, take it with a pitch of salt.
Sometimes it can be dull
We’re told that having a baby is supposed to be the most joyous experience of our lives, especially in the early days. And whilst this is true, most new mums I speak to all have the same experience of cabin fever at times.
We’re all trapped within the same four walls with our children. We give them all the support and attention they need, and sometimes this can mean nothing but Peppa Pig for weeks! We lose contact with our friends and end up spending more and more time with our in-laws. Whilst the in-laws are just trying to be helpful, their constant remarks and advice can seem like criticism. It is inevitable that tempers will boil over.
My advice is to get some fresh air. It’s amazing what a change of routine and scenery occasionally, can do for our sanity.
You’re not on your own
Your baby is the most important thing in your life. You spend all day caring for it and planning for the future. You know all the little signs and signals your baby makes when it needs something, and the thing it needs the most often is you.
All this makes it hard to tear yourself away from your little one, but you also need to plan time for yourself, away from your baby. It can be really scary leaving your child alone for the first time – but it has to happen eventually, and the longer you put it off the harder it will be for you and your baby.
Remember that there are loads of people with you ready to support you whenever you need it, so use them as early and as often as you want. Plan your own time; go on holiday with your friends or plan a weekend away with your partner. Whilst you are a new person now – a mum – by retaining your old self with help you massively deal with the inevitable stresses and strains. You’re also exposing you child to new people and helping them create bonds outside of your relationship, which can only be good for your relationship.
It doesn’t last forever
A new baby is probably the most special part of our lives. It can bring together families and be the bedrock in strong relationships, but blink and you miss it. Life moves so quickly for parents, and before you know if your little ones won’t be so little anymore.
Cherish the early days with you and your baby. Plan as many activities you can – have a baby shower, a big first birthday party, a christening or naming day ceremony – bring your families together.
Surround yourself with the memories. Keep a picture of the baby scan, your first photo of you as a family, or the baby with their siblings.
Keep their first pair of shoes, baby blanket, or first tooth in a keepsake box. I use Custom Gifts as their personalisable baby range is a way of making all my keepsakes extra special, and it needs to be if you plan on keeping all these mementos around.
It is perfectly normal to feel out of your depth in the early years. But know that whilst motherhood doesn’t get easier – you just get stronger. You’ve already demonstrated the desire to learn, to improve yourself, and grow as a mother. This means that you’ve already got all the skills you need. You’re doing great.