What I wish I could go back and tell myself as a first time Mum

first time mum

 

My god. How I wish I could go back and tell myself some things when I was a first time Mum. (Though I say this with full awareness that I would also probably want to slap my future know-it-all-self).

 

As I think is common for most first time Mums I didn’t really enjoy my first baby enough. I was too busy being anxious about all the things I didn’t know and how everything felt like it would be forever, and I would never sleep again.

 

I was anxious about how he was (or wasn’t) sleeping through the night or napping any longer than 40 minutes. 

 

I was anxious about leaving the house with him and how many things I needed to plan and pack to make that possible.

 

I was anxious about leaving the house without him. How many bottles he’d need and what if he got really upset while I was out and couldn’t be settled.

 

I was anxious about how I would ever go back to work because I wasn’t sure how (or if I wanted to) leave my baby to do that.

 

I was anxious about not feeling like I knew who I was without work.

 

And on and on it goes.

 

Yet now, here I am with three boys. Six. Three. 7 months.

 

I could tell you I no longer have time to be anxious (which is almost the truth) but mostly I just now have the perspective of knowing they will grow out of it, nothing lasts for ever and despite how untrue it feels on those epically long afternoons or nights – the years really are fleeting.

 

In our current schedule, for three days a week, for five glorious hours I only have one baby to look after.  On these days I often find myself wishing I could go back and tell my 26 year old self some things so that I could actually enjoy those days with my first baby.

 

What I wish I could go back and tell myself as a first time Mum

 

  1. All those things you think are really important, probably aren’t.

This is a big one for me and I’ve seen a lot of other first time Mums talking about it recently as well.  We think we’ll just keep doing what we always do ‘when the baby sleeps’. For some of us this is work, for others it’s study or keeping up around the house.

 

For me this was finishing a Masters degree. Yep. For some reason I thought a Masters degree and a newborn would be a great combination. Jokes on me. I passed (just) but I also successfully burnt myself out and almost let my relationship fall apart in the process.

 

If I could do it all again. I’d defer (maybe indefinitely – I still haven’t actually used that degree). I’d let myself actually enjoy my maternity leave and hell – maybe even read a good (fiction) book or two.

 

2. Sleep when the baby sleeps. No… REALLY. Do it.

I know I thought this was a good idea when I only had one baby, but rarely did I ever actually do it. Instead I would study (see previous point), clean up, scroll social media, do washing.. basically anything other than what I really needed to do which was just rest.

 

Now, where sometimes I play tag with three children in the night and it’s probably easier to count the hours I didn’t sleep than those that I did. And then I have to parent said children in the day and rarely does a daytime miracle nap occur. I really wish I’d napped more with my one baby when I had the chance.  

 

But don’t you worry. I’m making up for it now. On kindy days I soak up those daytime naps like they’re going out of fashion. Yes everything else piles up but honestly (see previous point) all those things I thought were really important, actually aren’t. Anything that is, gets done eventually.

 

3. One is the hardest number to have.

It took me a long time after having my first to decide that I wanted to have another. I remember my Mum saying that I was the easiest baby (I’m number 3) and I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea that it would be easier to have more?! I mean… I’m not great at Maths but doesn’t that just multiply the hard?

 

I think your first baby is such a shock to the system. They blow your entire pre-baby life to smithereens (in the nicest way possible) and steal all your time that it’s impossible to imagine how you’d ever add another baby to this already over-stretched mix.

 

I know for me, the anxiety I felt around everything first time round made it feel so hard and I know from convos I’ve had with other Mum friends that I’m not alone in feeling like this.

 

By the second, and third (and I imagine beyond) you’ve relaxed into #mumlife a whole lot more. There’s no real ‘whole life upheaval’ when you add consecutive babies because you’re already doing it.  (You no longer have a social life to destroy lol).  

 

I so wish I could go back and tell myself to just reeeeelllaaaaxxx a little. It will all be okay. He will eventually sleep. It won’t feel as epically hard forever (at least on a physical level anyway – the emotional difficulty amps up – but that’s another story for another day.)

 

What do you wish you could go back and tell yourself as a first time Mum?

 

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