It’s been six months since my little one was cut out from me and I can’t believe how fast time has flown. Motherhood has been this amazingly crazy phase of my life and I keep having to remember this is for life … this is living now! Zoe is now at the stage where she can clearly show me how she feels; throw a good enough tantrum when she doesn’t get what she wants and we’ve finally nailed a routine that works most of the time. It’s amazing how far we’ve come, and through the ride I’ve learnt a couple of important things;
- This journey is not a sprint, it takes time to get good at being a mum and the definition of what that is changes through the different phases of growth. I’ve been hard on myself previously for not realising quickly when something was wrong, forgetting to take a change of clothes/diapers, not being better planned or any good at getting her to sleep. But I’ve learnt there is always another day to do it over, to get it right – it’s a life journey and you only get better.
- There is always more than one right way. The great thing about babies is that they are not all the same, so no need to get hung-up on doing stuff a certain way and getting stressed when it doesn’t work out as you thought it would. Simply try another way and another, till you find what works best for you and baby. Don’t get me wrong, professional guidance is important and really helpful, but sometimes your ‘mum instinct’ goes a long way in making life easy.
- Meltdown days are totally allowed! It’s crazy how you can be deliriously happy some days and extremely tired and empty on other days. There are days when trying to find the right balance between mum and wife leaves me drained, and all I want to do is hide and not been seen. I’ve come to appreciate a good let out rather than keeping it all buried in does much good. Find your perfect outlet for those crazy moments and let it all out so you can breathe easy and have space to refuel and move on.
- Crying isn’t all bad for baby. As long as Zoe is fed, dry and in a safe space it’s totally okay to let her cry. Previously I couldn’t stand her crying, so I’d always go to her and cuddle and keep her entertained; which meant I had little time for anything else. This in turn made me stressed because I had lots of undone chores. I soon learnt to let her be and get on with stuff while teaching her to enjoy her own company and chill out with her toys.
- Your personal routine matters – don’t get lost! I have learnt to create a routine for me that compliments hers and gives me time to be about me. Hence I started exercising; 30 mins every other morning just after her breakfast (while she’s still full and happy). It gives me the time I need to get energised, plus a panting and sweaty mum is good entertainment for her. I’ve slowly started introducing more things for me into each day and I like to think I’m less cranky.
- I’m not alone in this. Last I checked I didn’t get myself pregnant there’s a dad in the picture and I’ve learnt to allow him take on more stuff I know he may not do it the way I want it to be done (which is the perfect way of course) but so what? I doubt a not so clean bum will scar Zoe for life! Letting go and allowing others to help is golden especially when you have a family that cares. Lean in and share the load.
- Somethings are not worth being stressed about! Babies will be babies and they would always have one thing or the other. Learning what you can control and what you can’t, helps put things into perspective which can greatly reduce your stress level.
- Give yourself a break and a huge thumbs up. I used to get consumed with all the things I’ve done wrong or I haven’t gotten around to doing and I forget all the great things I’ve done. She’s healthy, happy and alive that’s very important to remember and I’m learning each day to give myself a break and celebrate me – I’m a great mum no matter what the day looks like.
- Most importantly enjoy and bask in the realisation of knowing that you mean the whole world to your little person with all their love and affection aimed at you – my heart always skips when she beams with happiness at seeing me