Whilst it stumbles along slowly in those first few exhausted weeks time has flown by for me in a haze of being. Being patient, being tired, being proud, being angry, being loved. My son is seven, seven and I have to catch my breath from the storm of emotions that number brings forward in my chest. My firstborn. My boy that loves Pokémon and obstinance.
I blinked for a moment.
My beautiful son is confronting the years with a delighted gusto whilst I hastily try and hold onto the time we have together. It falls through my fingers like fine sand. I am still skipping through parenthood being a ‘try’er’ and a ‘coper’. Norah turns one on Sunday. This time I took more photos but again, those precious newborn memories snuggled together under blankets at 2 am watching Netflix with gritty, gelatinous eyes, are slipping. I wish I could store them, like colourful ribbons, in a wooden box with a brass lock.
I wake daily to my mummy role more confident with the fact I don’t have all the answers.
The idea of a ‘perfect’ mother has long been put on a high shelf with the dusty parenting books. Although the thought of her still unnerves me she no longer stands tauntingly behind me in the mirror. You cannot compare yourself to fiction. It doesn’t keep me awake at night that I can’t make hummus.
What advice would I give to new mummy me?
How frightened and overwhelmed she was, how determined and vulnerable. I wrote this post for the first time mothers who rely on Google and the seasoned mothers that will remember, and nod. Who gave their reassurance and wisdom so generously to a young frightened girl with a baby in her arms.
Come home and take a breath.
The first day alone just my little boy and me was a haze.
He cried I fed him, he cried I rocked him, he cried I changed him. I cried and he slept.
You spend nine months building to this moment and then suddenly there is you and a tiny person that relies on you for everything! And you sometimes have no clue what they want. I didn’t know how to bathe him or how many layers he should be wearing. My daughter I knew how to change a nappy but was still vulnerable, still exhausted after labour, still new to motherhood in a different way.
I can’t recall now that new baby smell, but do remember the silken feel of his skin, the tiny hairs and little fingers, the little blue sailor boat buttons on his white cardigan. It got pooped on and ruined. Her fragile cry that sounded more kitten than person.
You will rise and sink in an ocean of emotions, go with it, cry when you need for no reason and laugh when you can.
Some days will be calm and others chaos. Panicking is ok. Do not be lonely, call people, you are NOT an inconvenience. Some are hit with waves of love that leave them breathless others with whispers of doubt and fear. You will feel more level and like yourself again soon, you made a person it’s going to have consequences. If it doesn’t, you have not failed, ask for help or ensure someone else does for you.
I rang my midwife one day when I was too tired to lift myself from the bath and asked her to come get Leo. Told her she could keep him. I just needed to SLEEP. She came and held him whilst I had tea and toast. I, of course, did not give him away but it shows my desperation and all consuming exhaustion at that moment. Norah after a long and sleepless night I almost left on a bus.
Rest when they do, seriously put the hoover down.
With your second child sleep when they do is advice as pointless as dust. When the babies asleep the other child wants you to watch Disney. Hide in the toilet for five minutes and just have a moment for you to eat a Snickers. If you can get dressed and put on lippy hats off to you. You want to wear pyjamas for three days? Bloody well do it. Whether boob or bottle talk to them whilst they feed, trace every line in their face and enjoy those times when they sleep on you. Be grateful, but if those ‘cherish every moment’ comments make you feel guilty or murderous know that sometimes it is ok not like your children, or feel unhappy, or angry or fed up.
You will be encouraged to do things one way, or another, this is best…no that is best, don’t use a dummy, don’t formula feed, don’t this…do that…everyone is different, find your own rhythm.
Though you probably don’t need all those toys and products you brought. That Bumbo he hated. That night light she hated. That special all singing all dancing chair. They both really hated.
You make mistakes but are scared to let people know, don’t be.
You are amazing even if you feel far from it, you can eat cake for breakfast and burn the dinner. Don’t be embarrassed if your boobs leak in public or if your child Exorcist vomits on the bus. Do not listen to people who unkindly think they know better. The first time I shakily walked to the post office new baby in buggy, breathless and anxious a lady in the post office told me I shouldn’t have brought him out because it was a hot day. He was 7 weeks old, had a sunshade, a fan, sun lotion and a vest. I had tried so hard. Leaving the queue I got to the door before crumpling and wept gracelessly in the street. It must have seemed like I got really emotional over stamps.
Shh mummy don’t cry.
A mummy’s love is so tired that it’s eyes are gritty, so great and protective that some nights it watches them sleep as a moses basket feels like a threatening thing, it’s a love that will break and build a person. It’s a love for a lifetime.
Prepare to be broken and made as a parent. Like plasticine moulded into a pot that at first, doesn’t seem like the right size. It will fit eventually. Don’t be fooled my children look like blue eyed angels, but I am pretty sure at least one of them is a sociopath, and the other likes to eat leaves.
Below is an awful but hilarious video of me a month after Leo was born I sent to my friends to make you feel better about yourselves. (Ps apologies, re-blog quality film!)
[…] The Parenting Jungle – A Note to A New Mother Mum to Mum This Mums Life chose this post because she wished she’d read it as a new mum, it summed up […]
Utterly beautiful. I have so much love and respect for you, I don’t think you realise how many mums this will help! I’m sorry to hear that those tough days, were literally so tough for you! That lady in the post office is a silly old bat! You are a fantastic mother! And your little man is So lucky to have you! Big hugs and love as always!
Hey beautiful thanks for your comment, big love back at you xxx
This is beautifully written. I’ve been a mum for 10 years now and I still have the ‘perfect’ mother dancing round and taunting me in the mirror. You’re right though, you can’t compare yourself to fiction!x
That is such a kind comment thank you, I think we all need to get rid of mirrors! There is definitely no perfect 🙂 xx
Jade, this is beautiful. I would have loved to have read this in those early months when everything was so overwhelming and I often found myself crying as quietly as I could so Emma wouldn’t notice. And the video is just brilliant – you’re so funny, I would have definitely come and babysat gorgeous Leo 😉 xxx #triballove
Oh you would make the best babysitter ever, I am a rambling sleep deprived mess in the video but it makes me chuckle..and hope cheers up any new mummy’s that are wearing three jumpers and haven’t brushed their hair in days..xx
I loved the sleep deprived and slightly delirious video.
You are absolutely right about everyone having an opinion on how you should be bringing up your baby. I remember being told (by my now ex mother in law) that I should not be breast feeding in public, by the man in the local corner shop that the banana that I was eating was great nutrition and a good example for my baby (lucky I had finished coffee and the mars bar when I entered the corner shop), that I should be doing this, that and the other. It was horrible. I never felt so judged and such a failure.
Things are a lot easier now and I love being Cygnet’s mum (he is now 21 months). I feel more confident in by ability as a mother. I am far from perfect and I know that those mother who appear perfect are just hiding it very well or are just not ‘real’.
I do miss those early times though. I wish that I was able to experience them and actually enjoy them rather than feel like I was failing at every turn.
Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed reading it. Pen x x
Thank you for such a heartfelt comment my love. It is a rather haggard manic me wearing three jumpers…I miss those early days too, your little one is still so small its a lovely stage 🙂 and little boys and mummy’s have a v special bond..xxx
I really needed this -my baby is due in August. Great post
Congratulations!! Enjoy it and dont let anyone make you feel bad. You will be amazing even when you dont feel it, eat all the chocolate biscuits you want xxx
A very beautiful post. All of these things are still fresh in my mind and i’m going through them as well with my 4 month old. No matter how tired you are its all worth it xx
Thanks for commenting lovely lady, 4 months aww I miss those times xx
Oh this is just fantastic… It sums up perfectly how I felt in those early days-confused, exhausted beyond anything I could comprehend, wanting to cry at absolutely everything for no reason at all, the feeling of failure… Just all of it! I really wish I was reading blogs as a new mum, because I’ve read some brilliant posts since I’ve started blogging, that would’ve helped me so much in those dark early days, and this is one of the best. I really wish that people would think before they speak too-the lady who told you that you shouldn’t have taken Leo out, was so rude and inconsiderate-I wish people like that knew the impact their words have on vulnerable new mums, not just at the time, but even years down the line. I hope this helps every new mum who reads it. The video is brilliant too!! It did make me laugh, but just sums up how manic the tiredness can make us become!!
Haha the video cracks me up, I realised I am wearing 3 layers of jumper as I was having the joyful after having baby hot and cold sweats. If I can make one new mummy feel better I will be happy xx
I loved this, my youngest is 5 and it is amazing the things we go through, miss, forget, and think wil matter. A great post for all the new moms and mommas to be. As the mom of a 15 year old boy, hold on tight Mama, the time flies and one day you will wake up and he wont snuggle you anymore, or want to just hang out. Instead he will leave a fog of axe spray as he walks by, and girls will be calling! #KCACOLS
That is such a beautiful comment thank you, 15..I am going to get all the cuddles I can¬I dread the day the girls start calling!xx
This is so lovely – it took me right back to those newborn days, feeling like you’ve turned your whole world upside down, like you’re doing everything wrong, like you’ll never be able to do this. But it all comes, all becomes easier, and before you even realise it, you’ve become more confident in yourself, in your baby, and things are easier, smoother, and even fun! I hope that new parents come across this, it’s lovely! #KCACOLS
So lovely, and I really really hope a new mom comes across this.
I remember the newborn days. I had literally no idea what I was doing. His first bath at home took over an hour because I was so scared I would break him, or he’d slip under water, or some other awful outcome would happen. I absolutely loved the video-such a cute, yet honest video about the tough parts of motherhood. Thank you so much for sharing! x #KCACOLS
You are very welcome thank you for such a wonderful comment. I was frightened first bath as well! Its a good video to look back on! Makes my son laugh xx
This is truly lovely and it made me a little teary as it took me back to those feelings of being not quite good enough for my daughter, of getting things wrong. I look back now and think ‘what were you worried about?’ but at the time I felt it was tough going. I am sure new mummies would benefit from reading this x #KCACOLS
Thank you so much, it is so hard early days…but we get through and things ease..xx
aw this is lovely. It is so important to take your time in the early days and enjoy your baby. thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS hope to see you again next week
Thank you for your lovely comment 🙂 I wish someone had told me to take more time when the baby was born x
Such a tender post! Absolutely loved it and the video 🙂 we all need those words, all mummies.. Second-time mummy here and I still wonder sometimes what am I doing.. Hehe.. Xx
I remember people saying to me rest when your baby does. I didn’t get it at first but you soon wise up! #KCACOLS
I wish I’d had this to read when my first was born, I really think it would’ve helped. Just knowing that other people feel the same way as you makes a big difference. x #KCACOLS
Oh my goodness where do I start?!!! Your video made me laugh so much. Your writing is beautiful and poetic and amazing, I could read things you’ve written all day. This post will make new mums feel like they are not alone, like they are doing ok. It’s so crazy and I genuinely don’t know how you and other parents have done it alone! This made me cry and to a mum who is 6 months in, which is quite a while, and very very nearly dropped her baby on his head today (managed to catch his legs, fucking terrifying, please don’t call social services) I needed this tonight. To the woman who told you it was too hot to bring your baby out you should ask her what mothers are supposed to do when it’s hot, cold, when they have to feed their babies? Are we really expected to stay in our homes EVERY DAY?! Anyway I am ranting. Love this and you! #triballove
Oh and thank you for the link to my post! Xx
I love your post I wish everyone I know had read it before I had Leo! I remember when Leo first rolled off the sofa onto cushions and I had a meltdown! I also love your rant, feels like a protective tribal cuddle…thank you for such kind comments as usual my darling I am truly flattered xx
I really hope new mummy’s and mums to be read this blog, it’s brilliant! Love the video, actual coffee beans to eat!!!
Haha thank you I was like no one needs to see that but it always makes me laugh looking back I am haggard and rambling but they are happy memories!x