When you have a baby, usually it’s because you are in love with someone and want to produce little mini humans to share your life, hopes, dreams and family with. Sometimes you find yourself pregnant by surprise, and you aren’t sure you want a baby, but you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and have a baby. Some people try for years to get their bundle of love in their arms, experiencing heartache, loss and many tears. Some fall pregnant easily. Some people adopt. Some have a baby via surrogate. Whatever your situation, however you found yourself here – you now have a new role that you’ve never had any training in (even if you think you have!), being a ‘mum’ means all of a sudden you are the whole world to a tiny person, who needs you, every inch of you. Being a mum isn’t a job you can quit from, you can’t call in sick, and lunch breaks are few and far between.
Babies are hard work, we all know this. They need feeding, comfort, love, changing, cleaning and constant care. When you have a baby you think this stage lasts forever, it feels like sleepless nights and nappies never end. Oh the crying! You are trapped in a cycle that means you put someone else’s needs before your own. You’re exhausted. It’s gotta get easier right? WRONG!
Then your baby grows, becomes a toddler (see here for my views on them at the moment:My Toddler is an asshole!) and the hard work continues, just in a different way. The toddler grows again, into a child, and all of a sudden, there’s a LOT of questions. The child questions you about the big wide world, how did we get here, why does this and that happen, and you start to realise you might not actually have all the answers. You in turn question yourself. Why don’t I know the answer to this? Should I? Where’s the mum manual? I don’t know all the answers! Help! Am I cut out for this?
There’s so much pressure to do things one way or the other. Are you a gentle parent? A routine based parent? Strict? Rewards/naughty step? Attached, comfort, love, no punishments? Breastfeeding/bottle feeding? Weaning early/BLW? Is your child allowed screen time? Are you an outdoorsy mum? A craft mum? Football mum? How are you going to shape this child into being a decent, loving, happy, rounded, emotionally stable human being…. when you’re not even sure that’s what YOU are at the moment?
Well the point of this post (I’m getting there slowly!) is that yes you are the mum and you do know best for your own child. Trust your instincts. Of course ask for advice if you need it (we all need it!), but you are the BEST person to care for your child because no-one else loves your child like you do. No-one else has their interests at the forefront of their priorities like you do. You are absolutely the best mum for your child/ren. You know best. Doubting yourself is part and parcel with being a mum. That mummy guilt that niggles at the back of your mind with every decision you make is only there because you care. Do your research, ask people but ultimately YOU know what to do. Even if you think you don’t!
Also, with this in mind, and on the flip side. You are allowed to not have all the answers. You are the mum but you are not the information central of the world. You may have to sneakily Google stuff, we all do (thank you Google!) How did my mum survive without Google? But it’s OK for you to not know everything. I’ve found my Big Boy doing stuff in first year Junior school that I didn’t do til Secondary. I can’t remember some of this stuff! But that’s okay. *
So this is sort of a shoutout to mums (and dads of course, but I’m a mum!) everywhere. You are amazing, you are exactly what your child needs and you are the best parent for your children. If you have the awful guilt or the constant worry about things then it just means you care and you want the best for them. Don’t beat yourself up for the little things, no parent is perfect. Even the ones that seem to be. Just be yourself, try to do your best every day. Some days you’ll shout, cry or want to run away. That’s okay, everyone feels this way at some time. Some more than others, but everyone is different, no two children or families are the same.
Trust yourself, give yourself the credit you deserve, and try to keep a positive attitude. Motherhood will be the hardest thing you ever have to do. But it also will be the best thing.
Please share this post with a mum who you think needs to hear those magic words:
YOU ARE A FANTASTIC MUM!!!!
Disclaimer – I need to remember all of the above myself, as I am the worst for thinking I suck at this job. But today I’m giving myself a pat on the back. I am a mum and I am the best mum to my three
*Please note I have no idea on the trials that come with having teenage or older children – my biggest is 7 and this is hard enough! Here’s a nod to the mums of teenagers, you did it this long! Keep going! xx