I did not find the transition to motherhood easy. It may sound conceited but before motherhood, if I tried/practiced/studied really hard at something, I could get the hang of it. Being so crap at parenting came as an enormous shock. It didn’t matter how many books I read or techniques I learned, I could not for the life of me get the Big Sister to sleep.
I felt like a failure.
Failure turned to unhappiness.
Unhappiness turned to shame. How could I not be enjoying our much loved and long awaited daughter?
Hindsight is twenty twenty. Especially hindsight that comes with the luxury of being adequately rested and the calm that comes when your offspring become old enough to communicate their needs with actual words. If I could go back, I’d empty and restock the dishwasher, then sit down and set the record straight.
Don’t bother borrowing those baby books from the library. By the sixth week, they’ll contradict each other and you’ll return them both. Borrow a novel and spend your last baby-free days with your feet up. Rest up, you’re about to embark on the marathon of a lifetime.
Feeding your baby to sleep at night is OK. It’s NIGHT time, they’re supposed to be asleep. Waking them only to rock them back to sleep for fear of forming bad sleep habits is an exercise in futility. Dumb arse.
The hairdryer is your friend. Your standard of appearance will drop so much that it will take you months and months to plug the hair dryer in. When you do, above the sound of the hot air being shot at your head, you will experience the blissful quiet of your baby not crying. Don’t wait til your hair needs doing. Plug it in when you need a break.
Don’t bother spending hours cooking gourmet introductions to solids. The time you spend creating meals is inversely proportionate to the likelihood that your children will eat it. True story.
No one remembers the time the baby somehow dug her heels into the donna and shot herself off the bed or the time you accidentally cut her finger with nail clippers. She will find new and more exciting ways to injure herself as time goes on. This is not a reflection on your parenting. This is life.
How many grams your breastfed baby gains per week is not an exam. Nor is it a contest, you competitive freak.
Baby massage is bullshit. After you’ve bathed the baby, concentrate on important things like getting their arms into the wonder suit without catching any of their fingers in the seams. It’s harder than it seems.
Mothers Group is not for you. While we’re at it, take that sexy mother book they recommended and put it in the fire. It is also not for you.
It is not normal to day dream about getting a general anaesthetic for a few peaceful hours of escape. You have post natal depression. Don’t be ashamed. Go to the doctor. Get help. You don’t realise how far away from happy you’ve come. You’ve drifted so far, you’ll be astounded at how good it feels when you get back there.
Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. If the planets have aligned and your baby is asleep while not attached to you/driving in the car, do something you want to do. The washing will be there tomorrow and in six years time.
It gets easier. Your next baby is a really good sleeper. Hang in there kid!
If you could travel back, what would you tell your-new-mum-self?