In hindsight, we all wish we knew what we know now, back then. In particular this applies to mummyhood really well.
When I look back I’ve made some HUGE mistakes. In fact some flipping ‘humdingers’. I guess we can all say that though. The truth is I’m still learning and still make mistakes even now, it’s one big massive learning curve this parenting thing isn’t it?
But I have to say there are things I have learnt along the way that I soooo wish I had known. Things that could of made a really difference to my journey. Things that would have really made the difference to how much I enjoyed mummyhood. Things that would have helped me deal with the many challenges along the way.
There simply isn’t enough support for parents. There’s a huge shroud of secrecy surrounding how difficult being a mummy can be and that flipping secret makes it worse for all of us. We end up going into mummyhood with ‘rose coloured’ spectacles on and then, when the ‘SHIT’ hits the fan we think we’re crap, not managing, getting it all wrong.
No my dear friend, that is just the reality. You need lots and lots of support, both emotionally and practically. One of the main reasons I decided to take time out and study was in fact because I found parenting such a challenge. It was the BEST decision of my life. I wont bore you with the details but piecing my life together and the realisation that it wasn’t my fault that I found parenting such a challenge was an epiphany, one of great relief.
So here I am today,with the life experience, knowledge and understanding to help you navigate the many challenges that lay ahead. Here are 5 things I think you will benefit from knowing that I wish I had known before now.
1. Firstly…. and this is one I am extremely PASSIONATE about.
There is NO, ONE, RIGHT OR PERFECT way to parent. There maybe many, many pages on face book that sing from a certain hymn sheet. That’s all fine and dandy, but if it’s not for you that’s fine too and you don’t need to worry that you doing it all wrong.
Same goes for friends and family, stop and listen, but if it’s not something that you agree with or that fits for you, your little one and your family then that’s fine. There is no need to ‘rack’ yourself with guilt because you’re doing things wrongly, you’re not, you are doing things your way. IT’S YOUR JOURNEY.
2. Weaning and fussy eating.
We all worry about this one right? From the moment we consider giving that first spoonful of food we worry. Are they getting enough? Are they hungry? Should they be eating more? Are they getting enough vitamins and nutrients? Why won’t they eat? Will they starve?
Gosh I remember the fussy eating phase well. My first son used to have chicken nuggets and sweetcorn for lunch and fish fingers and peas for tea or the other way around. This happened for months. I so wish I’d know that there were steps I could have put in place to prevent this from happening. Yes, really there is, you read it right. When you first start weaning you can work at eliminating this fussy phase. AND guess what, even if you have a fussy eater now, there are also shed loads of things you can do to encourage better eating from now on. Oh how I wish I had known this.
3. Development and I don’t mean in the physical sense.
I mean, the stuff that is going on for your little one internally. Their understanding of the world and what is happening to them. You see, as adults it’s far too easy to see it from our point of view and not theirs. I mean, it’s only natural we would do that, it’s along time since we were little and we’ve forgotten just how much they don’t know and understand.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s all too easy to get frustrated by your little ones lack of co-operation, clingyness or tantrums. But they’re probably equally frustrated too and don’t yet have the understanding of their emotions and the language skills to tell you. Now how blooming hard is that for your little one? Thinking about what is going on for them is key to coping and managing those challenges.
Easier said than done I guess. It simply never occurred to me to see it from their point of view and would only serve to make me feel stressed, anxious and feel as though I was not coping. I really didn’t have a clue about reality and expectations. BUT in my defence why would I? As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” BUT finding the time to educate yourself to understand your child helps you to manage and helps you give your child the optimal startthat you want to give them in life . It’s really not just about IQ. Have you heard the term EQ? Emotional Intelligence. It can be a far greater asset in the long run.
4. Emotional Health. This one ties in quite nicely with the point I make above. If you’re not in a good place yourself you can’t be in a good place to support your little one and understand their world and emotions. Things are so much harder for us as mums (as if it isn’t hard enough sometimes) when we are not in a good emotional place. Our ability to cope with the day to day stuff, the juggling of the plates, the fussy eating, the nap time battles. Well, they’re all so much harder to cope with. If your emotions are up in the air somewhere, if your worrying about finances, a row with your partner or lack of sleep you simply wont cope with what the day is going to through at you.
Now me, I used to view this as me not coping as well as everyone else. I would see others managing and me not. Then I would wonder why, feel guilty that I was a crap mummy, feel guilty that I was a shouty mummy. The guilt and emotional stuff was horrendous. But let me tell you, you can begin to understand all this. You can work to get yourself in a much better place. Once you start taking care of yourself emotionally and mentally you will realise just how much better this mummyhood thing you can be. I promise you can and that’s from someone who has suffered PND.
Me oh my, where do I start with this one? None of my three children slept. Looking back I couldn’t expect any other. I didn’t have a clue! I did everything for an easy life but really, did it make my life easy? Not on your Nelly!
The trouble I find with sleep problems, or rather challenges as I like to call them is, everyone has an opinion on how they should be tackled. There’s so much controversy around the subject, that often, as mums we don’t know which way to turn. One person says your little one should cry at no cost, another says they’ll never learn if you cuddle them to sleep, someone else tells you they’re hungry, the next person tells you they shouldn’t still be night feeding. I mean what on earth? How do you make any sense of it all?
I have just one thing to say. What do you want? What do you expect? What fits with you, your family and your values? Of course there are some things you should know and consider before you make your decisions. Somethings that will greatly benefit your child’s ability to sleep, starting with laying some good solid sleep foundations. AND guess what? They can be put in place as soon as you feel ready to do so. There is simply no harm in starting to take these steps, getting your little one off to a good start. Why wouldn’t you want to do that from the start? I wish I had. I wish I’d known what I do now. Then maybe I wouldn’t of been sleep deprived for years.
Just working on these five points can make all the difference along your parenting journey, I promise.
Want to find out more about how you can learn so much more about yourself and your little one? Take a look at my online programme – ‘The Baby Years – Laying the Foundations’ >>HERE<< for mums with little ones birth to two years.