Hello Bec! You are due to have your baby this weekend! Exciting! Well, soon anyway, Weenie will come out when he wants to I suppose. I am rather looking forward to being an auntie – all the joys of having a baby but none of the hard stuff. I joke! I am also looking forward to buying all the cool stuff others may slightly disapprove upon (knives, fireworks, etc) and feeding him too much chocolate and ice cream when I visit. I’m also really looking forward to Betsy having a cousin close to her age and seeing them grow up is going to be awesome.
I have possibly droned on too much about baby stuff when I’ve seen you the last few times so I’ll try and keep this short. Mostly because I know nothing about parenting! Ha! But seriously, and I am being serious here – look, I’ve put on my serious writing glasses (lenses of no correctional value) and my serious big sister face here, and I’m listening to my serious writing music –
Seriously now, sometimes it’s nice to know things before they happen, like a Tube strike for example, so you can plan ahead and discover that the Victoria line is working and it’s possible to get into work easily and have a seat too. Parenting is a bit more complicated than that, obv. I think the Piccadilly line trains are a bit more predictable on a day to day basis than a toddler. They only move in two directions and smell a bit less for a start. But you can never predict what becoming a parent will be like. *Everyone* tells you how your life will completely change, and you might as well enjoy it now, etc, etc. And it will change. There will be less sleep, more laundry, but your old life doesn’t have to completely go. You just end up working it into your new life and tweaking (not twerking, although you can do that too if you like) it a bit. I think during the days of my maternity leave I went to the pub more times than I ever did when I was preggo (god bless you Wednesday lunch NCT group meetup). It was ace. Here’s a couple of things I have learnt in my short time of being a parent and hopefully you might find them useful:
1. Don’t listen to other people’s advice!
Everyone means well, but no one knows your baby as well as you. During the early days and months you are still figuring things out and things are fuzzy and confusing and people try and help you. For me though, sometimes it made things even more fuzzy and confusing and I eventually worked out that it’s much easier to just smile and nod at all your helpful friends and relatives and then just tune in to yourself and listen to what your instinct is saying, because it’s what you feel you should do is what the right thing is. It’s a practiced thing though, instinct listening, but the more you do it the more confident you become in yourself and what you are doing is best for your little one.
2. Don’t dwell on the guilt.
You will feel guilty. I think every mother feels guilt at some point, and probably about most aspects of being a parent too. The thing is is not to dwell on it. Learn from it. I’ve had terrible moments with Boo where she’s been very upset or not her usual chirpy self and I’ve stressed out and eventually got very shouty because everything’s got a bit out of hand and I hate, hate, hate being like that with her. It’s not good for either of us. I feel terrible that I can be horrible to her sometimes, but it’s important to think back and ask myself why she was behaving like that in the first place and what could I do differently to deal with the situation better. We become better parents by learning more about ourselves and our children.
Sometimes you need the patience of a bloody saint. For everything. Whether it’s because they’re taking a while to settle to sleep or they’ve discovered that dropping a handful of dinner onto the floor is THE BEST THING EVER and need to do it a hundred times or more or they need to pick up every stick they see on a walk (hello, Betsy!), it’s all part of them learning and it really is easier to just go with the flow. I admit that’s easier said than done when you really need to get out the door and you’re already half an hour late for a doctors appointment.
4. Get out
During my mat leave I found that to get out the house, even if the weather is crappy, even if its just for a very short walk round the block, it does wonders for your mood and the baby’s. It can really turn a tough day around.
5. THIS TOO SHALL PASS
The universal motto for most mums I think. Nothing lasts for ever. When you’re having problems and trying to work why this is happening and how to stop it, it really does feel like it will last forever, but it doesn’t. Having sleep problems? It will pass. Feeding problems? You’ll work something out. Baby constantly rolling over and moving while you’re trying to change it’s nappy? It’s just a phase, it’ll pass. If there’s one thing you should take away from this whole blog is that phrase and whisper it constantly when things get a bit rough.
Speaking of nothing lasting forever, one thing everyone else is right about is that time really does go quickly. Take photos of everything all the time and keep them safe. It’s the best thing looking back.
I think with those points up there, I’m slightly concerned that I’ve made parenting a bit doomy and gloomy. I hope not. Having a child is really bloody difficult at times, I have never worked so hard in my life, but it also fulfils you in a way that’s impossible to describe. You’ll discover a love so strong that it’s almost overpowering, you’ll take joy in the simplest of things and you’ll discover that while things can be a bit tough from time to time, it doesn’t matter because you have the most amazing thing in your arms (and to paraphrase a t-shirt slogan: you’re really crafty! You made a baby!)