Well I’m not a ‘new’ Mum, I’m not even a ‘new’ Nan! I have two grown children both married with kids of their own, I was widowed and became a single mum. Remarried and gained 7 step children all grown and with children of their own, except one, she and her partner are content to have a dog. And a football team or two of grandkids and foster children. So you could say I have had a bit of experience. From nappy rash to microwaved cats, yes it’s true, but we will leave that for another day.
It is interesting to listen to all the young new mums’ blogging away about successful parenting, and whilst on the most part, all I read is very good advice, but from my experience, the most important aspect of parenting is respect – respect for yourself and respect for your child and understanding that what works for one may not work for another, and it is important to remember that that is okay! Successful parenting is understanding what works best for you and your child – and that was exactly my experience, as I had to adjust my style to accommodate the unique personalities of each of my children.
If I was to give any advice on the matter, what I would say is that ‘parenting’ is a journey not a destination! So enjoy the many phases along the way. That old saying ‘Life is short’ is oh so true and it is fleeting, it goes so quickly. Baby’s one minute and you blink in your busy life and then find your baby has babies.
Second and most important tip, get help! Don’t try to do it on your own, have a good support network around you, such as your mum, sister, cousin or friends – they will love to take baby for a few minutes while you sit and have a cuppa or just some down time for yourself. Of course, everyone will want to give you advice, you’ll soon learn to filter the good from the not so good – trust your own intuition! And most importantly, there is no need to reinvent the wheel!
Okay, so back to filtering the good from the bad advice – and it is ok to laugh at me, I do all the time. When my son was born I was only 22 years, he was 8lb 14oz or 3.692kg, he was a healthy eater and I breast fed. He liked his food, he just ate and ate, one feed finished and within less than 2 hrs he was up and wanting more. My hubby called him the Michelin man which is a brand of tyres because he looked like he was made of a pile of tyres he had so many rolls. He said this with affection but he was a little more than chubby. He threw up all the time, projectile! I had to take 3 sets of clothes for him and 4 for me if we went out anywhere. The first Christmas, Santa didn’t want to hold him in case he threw up on him anyway, my mother-in-law told me that it was because my milk was sour. I was devastated to think I was feeding my baby sour milk…… Really! Could that even be true? I was so naïve. Yes I trusted her and what she said. I so should have asked someone else. If you’re not sure ask! No one will make fun of you or your lack of knowledge, I have raised my two and now have grandchildren, I also foster care and I still have to ask.
One of my grandsons is autistic and he doesn’t sleep well. My daughter was perplexed a few months back when a Paediatrician told her to put dark curtains at his window and turn off the light and lock him in of a night and let him sort it out. Not keen to put this plan into action, she sought my advice to talk it through. In the end we agreed the dark curtains were a good idea, but he is scared of the dark, so she has put a little night light on for him, and will gradually dull it until he becomes accustomed and comfortable with the change so he can safely overcome his fear of the dark. The important lesson here is that it didn’t feel right so she asked for help – not that she really needed to but it was good to know that someone had her back!
Life and motherhood are full of little bleepers so keep a journal. It is entertaining to sit with a cuppa and read what you wrote and how you felt on certain days over certain events and you will find them much more humorous after few weeks, months maybe years down the track, depending on the incident. Some incidents take longer to move for trauma to humour, like the microwaved cat (and just to relieve any fears, it all worked out in the end – thankfully, no harm done).
Find a little quote that you can repeat over to yourself, my daughter always sings the Frozen theme song to me ‘let it go, let it go’ or perhaps the serenity prayer ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference’. Mine was ‘be patient God hasn’t finished with them yet’.
Take care! X