I've learnt a fair few things since becoming a mum for the first time and having my first child! But there are 6 main things that stand out to me the most, that have changed me as a person since becoming a parent.
I have learn that I seriously need to lower my expectations; if some days all I manage to do is to feed, change and play with Theo, then that’s absolutely fine. I often feel guilty for not being able to clean and keep the house tidy, for making myself look presentable, for not being able to for any work...I believe that most parents go through this and it’s absolutely normal. I just need to learn to have a balance and understand that I can’t have everything at any one time; something will have to give for me to be able to achieve something else.
Theo can most certainly pick up on my mood and how I feel. On days when I am feeling anxious and feel like I have lost control over things, Theo will be a lot more upset, clingy and fussy. This is when I need to take one step back and remember to be present in the moment. People say: ‘Enjoy the ride!’. I am not necessarily someone who enjoys every single aspect of parenthood and I believe that it is perfectly normal. I can have days where I dislike parents but still love Theo more than anyone and anything. I know that I need to learn to learn to relax more and be present.
Theo always used to wake up a lot, I mean a lot up until recently. Every time we had less wake ups, I used to feel empowered and felt like I finally ‘got it right’. Then every time Theo woke up more again, I felt like a total failure. When I think about it now, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Babies go through leaps, growth spurts, they will learn new skills and face new challenges. All those things will affect how well or poorly they sleep. It doesn’t mean that I have failed as a mum! I try and repeat that to myself over and over again.
I feel like since having a baby, I have become a new person. A person that I don’t actually know at all. I couldn’t tell you what I like, I couldn’t tell you what excites me and I know that this is something that I need to find out. Things have changed so much and therefore it is only normal that I feel like I have changed as well. Also it’s not just about watching Theo grow up but it’s also about watching me grow as a mum. We both have new roles that we have never done before so there is a lot of adjusting to do.
Relationships change with everyone around us once we have a baby; some will become closer and some will become more distant. I feel like I have lost a lot of my non-baby friends, which is very sad. Somehow things change and that’s probably normal, but it doesn’t make it easy. I would really like suggest all new mums to go to baby groups and meet new people. It is more important now than ever to have someone around that you can talk to. There are certain things that only parents will be able to relate to and understand. I have found that I have met a lot of people who are similar to me, whether it’s at a group or on social media. These are the people who I speak to when things are tough and also when things are going really well.
I am someone who struggles asking for help. I never learnt it as a child so I still won’t ask people for help. I feel like I need to have it together at all times and be able to do it all. Somehow I feel like that it makes me a failure if I can’t do it all. I know that it makes no sense whatsoever but that’s me. Becoming a mum and juggling hundreds of things at the same time, has made me realise that it would be so much easier to parent, it would be so much easier to cope, if occasionally I admitted that I can’t do it all and actually asked for help. I have promised myself to try and work on it this year (wish me luck)!