Last week I was invited to speak to around 15 local mums with young babies, many of them were first time mums. When I was contemplating what I wanted to share with them I decided to share some things I wish someone had told me when I had my first baby.
I feel like there are so many things we don’t share with new mums because we don’t want to sound negative, to take the shine off the joy of a baby, or because they haven’t reached the point in their journey where the information is relevant.
The problem with not sharing is that when a mum reaches the point in her journey where these things are relevant she feels like she must be the ONLY one feeling or experiencing these things, because she has not heard other mums talking about them. And so, she keeps her experiences to herself and struggles along feeling alone. The cycle of not sharing continues.
What did I choose to share with these mums?
- that their needs matter just as much as anyone else’s and that it is perfectly OK to prioritise self care over household chores!
- that one day they might feel like they have lost touch with who they are, their sense of identity – and this this is a very confronting feeling.
- NOTHING needs to be perfect! The pursuit of being a perfect mum, having a perfect house, and being a perfect woman will kill all the joy available in the journey of motherhood
- Having ‘me-time’ helps you be a better mum
- It can take time to find your tribe. You need people in your life you can share openly and honestly with. They are out there but they may not be your mother’s group, or your current friends or your family. Keep connecting with people until you find your tribe.
I was then inspired to ask other mums, via my Facebook page, what they would have shared if they had the chance. I love the answers that came back …
“That your heart would be so full of love that you had never thought possible. The absolute miracle of what your body can do and to accept that as a woman we will be driven to do all we can to be with our children. Changing career, changing life around your family will be challenging but it is ok to accept that you WANT to be the one who makes these changes over the partner. x”
“That you will not got to the toilet alone for a long time.”
“Something about the need, even for one’s children, to stay a woman and not be consumed by the activities of (and being overwhelmed or trying not to be overwhelmed by) being a mother: intellect, physicality, sexuality, rest…something about being myself more, being happy enough in my own skin to stay even-keeled in the demands of my child and not set those things aside to be his mother. All this is to say: be yourself to be the mother, you don’t need to become someone else.”
“That no matter how tough it is in the moment, this too shall pass. The childhood years are the longest and the shortest of times. Relish these times as when they are over, you will only remember the good times and you will miss them.”
“Believe in yourself, make sure you make time to look after yourself and embrace the unexpected.”
“That it all goes by so very fast and to embrace even the sleepless nights and exhaustion because it means you are doing the most beautiful work in the world…raising a human!”
What would you add to this list if you had the chance?