Mum knows best
Cue information overload. There is a tonne of information out there. From well-meaning friends and family to Dr Google, which can be your best friend and enemy in the same breath. Take it all in, filter it and use what YOU want. It’s YOUR baby and YOU know her best. Even though this baby might be your first and you think you have no idea what you are doing, you would be surprised. If you think something is wrong by all means, ask family/friends or a Facebook forum, but ultimately, go with your gut and seek help. Better to be safe than sorry.
Ignorance really is bliss
Knowledge is a wonderful thing. However, there is such a thing as knowing too much. Knowledge can create expectations about how you think you or your baby should be behaving. This can lead to anxiety, particularly when those expectations don’t match reality. Anxiety around childbirth, feeding, sleeping and everything baby related. I once complained to the child health nurse about how my baby didn’t sleep long enough for me to read those books. She said, “Your baby hasn’t read those books, so put the books down.” Coupled with my Mum’s sage words, “Everyday is different and every baby is different” and “Just go with it”, I found release. Now with my second baby, it's just ‘go with the flow’. Motherhood is so much more enjoyable now.
The days ARE long, but the years are short
Newborns literally throw you in the deep end. When you’re in the trenches of chronic sleep deprivation, elbow deep in yellow poop and buried underneath mountains of laundry (I’m still unsure how such tiny people create THAT much laundry but anyhow), it seems relentless and NEVER ENDING. But it does….eventually. So, be present in the moment. Enjoy the giggles, late night snuggles and that sweet baby smell. Embrace the ‘bad’ parts, because fast forward a few years, when your mind makes the crappy stuff hazy, you will probably miss it.
All you need is LOVE
You really don’t need a lot of things to successfully parent. Indeed, your baby might not actually like the things you think she will, like fancy swings and elaborate toys. Your first baby is exciting and naturally, you want the best for her. But don’t go too overboard. Your house will quickly fill up with plastic stuff and next minute you’re being considered for an episode of Hoarders. Baby wants YOU, and most of the time, only you. Enjoy it, because that doesn’t last forever either.
It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to accept help. It’s ok to let off steam. It’s ok to eat hot chips and strawberry sundaes. It’s ok to use a tonne of dry shampoo. It’s ok to sit on the couch all day. It’s ok to give your baby ‘packet’ food. It’s ok to want to be alone. It’s ok to place multiple orders for Bonds (your next kid will wear it and it's free post). It’s ok to have a messy home. Your most important job is to raise a tiny human. You can only do that if YOU are ok. Be kind to yourself. The dishes can wait.
It takes a village
Find your tribe. Do not underestimate the power of a supportive network of family, friends and other mums. Find them and connect with them. The chances are they already have or are going through the same things as you and can help. I would not be the mum I am today without my tribe. You know who you are. Be supportive and be kind. ALWAYS. Motherhood is hard and we are all doing our best, in our own way.