The last year has been the hardest of my life. I regularly think back to what I was doing a year ago on this day (timehop is great for that) and am so grateful that those dark days are over. Being a new mum was no easy task, and although it’s not easier now, the challenges have changed and they are just a bit more manageable than they used to be. I’ve learnt so much about being a mum during the last year. Here are a few of my findings.
1. Sleep is not for the weak.
Sleep deprivation was one of the worst things about having a newborn. I love my sleep and used to nap daily, just because. Now I have learnt that sometimes you have to give up and go to bed early if you’re tired. Something I was reluctant to do as those couple of hours after bedtime are the only ones I get to do “me” things. I’ve resigned to the fact that I’ll be up at 6 every morning, so trying to stay up until 11pm just does me no favours.
2. Enjoy the naps while you can.
Babies nap regularly and it was something I didn’t appreciate at the time. Really make the most of the snippets of the day you get to yourself. Limit your housework and have some time to watch rubbish TV and eat anything you can find, because they won’t last forever. Now my daughter is 1 I’m lucky if I get an hour nap from her all day. I use this to race around and tidy up all the mess before she comes and destroys the living room again. I definitely couldn’t watch a whole episode of Pretty Little Liars in the time I have now.
3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Whether the dishwasher is emptied or the kitchen surfaces are wiped, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is you enjoy the time with your baby as much as possible. They grow so quickly that every day they’ll learn something new; it’s not worth missing those moments when you’re scrubbing the floors.
This point also applies to your baby too, I used to worry about everything my daughter ate, I wanted it to be healthy and never full of sugar. Now I’m more relaxed because, in all honesty, a couple of baby biscotti are not going to turn her into a sugar fiend. Neither is one lone chip when you’re at a restaurant going to make them addicted to fast food.
4. Babies are expensive.
And they won’t know if their toys or clothes are second (third or fourth) hand. I love the Facebook selling sites as you can get some amazing bargains on them. Mums want to declutter all of the old clothes and toys, and you need some new ones, so it’s a perfect fit. Usually, you can grab things for less than a tenner. I’ve had some amazing bargains, in fact I bought a slide for our garden for £3 last week.
5. You must look after yourself.
Because if you don’t, how will you look after your baby? I always struggled with eating when my daughter was a baby, I wouldn’t be able to leave her for a minute to grab a bite and ended up having nothing until dinner time. This was no way for me to live so I learned that I had to leave her in her Jumperoo and eat, even if she was unhappy about it.
6. You don’t need to stimulate your child all the time.
This leads on from me putting my daughter in the Jumperoo for a few minutes whilst I ate. You know what, a bit of time in front of Cbeebies or in their bouncer is not going to kill them. It means you get a mini break and will carry on looking after them in a better frame of mind than before. You’ll be less fraught and more relaxed, which your baby will pick up on.
What are your tips from being a parent for a while? Is there anything you wish you could tell your former self?
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