To the first time mother I was from the third time mother I am…
I was putting the small lady to bed earlier, to the background noise of the other ladies playing downstairs, and it got me thinking. Trying to relax enough to sooth a baby to sleep, when elder siblings are taking advantage of the moments alone, can be stressful and with this piece of writing in mind my mind was drawn back five years ago to the small things I didn’t have the time or the head space to enjoy when we had our first baby. My memory, albeit hazy at this point in my life, of being a first time mother is that my experience was fraught with worry, worry and more worry. And that worry hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s still there, I think that’s only natural in motherhood but I’ve come to realise that worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere. And now that I’m onto baby number three I realise all the moments I took for granted, the moments I didn’t relish when I had the chance. Now I’m acutely aware that those moments are simply that, moments, so brief, and I try to grab them with my little lady in the minutes between the quarrels and the queries.
So I’ve put down in words, some things I wish I’d known to keep in mind during those days as a first time mother.
- If your baby won’t sleep, won’t settle, don’t stress about rocking your baby to sleep, enjoy the uninterrupted chance to watch them fall asleep, to hear their breathing grow wonderfully deep and relaxed. And though the nights may seem long if your baby keeps waking and the days even longer when you’re tired, those days and nights will become a distant memory before you have a chance to pause and enjoy those desperately needed cups of coffee.
2. Don’t stress about weaning, children will eat when they’re hungry and they will use the dinner table as place to flex their muscles of independence. And there will be battles, but when there’s not enjoy the time you have, uninterrupted, and face to face with your baby to sing songs, teach them words and be silly to make them laugh.
3. Don’t wish the time away, there are leaps and milestones galore and I remember longing for the day my first lady would take her first steps. No sooner than she had I realised how easy the days were when she was confined to all fours.
4. Smile and take advice graciously, most people are just trying to help!
5. Kiss your baby as much as you can and hold them for as long as you can, in the mere blink of an eye they grow, they get opinions and attitudes, they wriggle away when you try to grab a kiss, they’ll tell you you’re gross and tear off to see what their far more interesting friends are doing. Kiss them, breathe in the smell of them, trace the grooves on their skin, embed it all into your memory so that in years to come, when the house is quiet, those memories will fill up the corners of your mind.
6. Buy babygros that are easy to put on, I was swayed back in the day by beauty over function but there’s nothing more difficult than wrestling a busy baby just before bedtime to pull a babygro over their head.
7. There are so many moments in the day when you’re a first time mother that are confusing, stressful, worrying and exhausting. Those moments don’t go away but they fade into the background, lost amongst the chaos of requests for snacks, drinks, stories, biscuits, playground trips, playdates, twistables, toilet trips and shoes to be put on. So enjoy them, as crazy as that concept may seem at the best of times, because before you know it, time moves on and the days where they need you ever so much are gone sooner than you could ever imagine.