Mummy do-overs: What would you do differently with your next child?
My motherhood journey thus far can be likened to that of an exhilarating roller coaster ride!
Some days I feel that maybe I’ve gotten the hang of this whole motherhood thing after all — but on other days, I can’t help but wonder if the choices that I made were the "right" or "best" ones for my daughter.
During those moments of doubts, I find myself secretly vowing to do things differently when the next baby comes along.
I’m sure many other mums have been in this position before, so thought I’d make a list of ‘Mummy do-overs’ (i.e. parenting regrets) — things that some of us secretly hope to do better next time — plus some tiny tips to help you achieve them.
Click ‘Next’ to check them out!
Take it easy with the baby shopping
Whether you set off with or without a shopping list, there is a HIGH chance that you’ll go overboard with your pre-baby shopping and buy things that you either don’t need or won’t ever get to use.
Yes, in the sea of cute onesies, bottle warmers and newborn snuggle beds, EVERYTHING will look like a must-have item!
However, it’s best to keep in mind that apart from your pre-baby loot, friends and family will be giving gifts for the baby too.
Also, some of these baby items have an extremely short life span — so ask yourself, will you really have storage space for all of them?
As with some things in life, sometimes we’ve just got to learn to let go!
Co-sleeping may not be such a bad thing after all
You’ve probably read up on all the dangers of co-sleeping and how it can lead to SIDS in infants — and so you insist that your baby sleeps safely in the cot next to your bed. After all, how hard could it be to wake up in the middle of the night and take 5 small steps towards the cot?
Several night feeds and diaper changes later, you soon realise that those few steps to get to your baby and pick her up can get really exhausting!
Giving in to the lack of sleep, you decide to give co-sleeping a go — and wished that you’d done it earlier!
Once you’ve mastered the breastfeeding while side-lying position, you may soon realise that falling asleep together with your baby could possibly be one of the best feelings in the world!
Listen to your baby’s cries
We’re often told by well-meaning old folks that it is OK to ignore our babies’ cries, as they may be doing it just for attention. They could also get too used to being picked up/carried whenever they cry.
However, early childhood expert Dr Sears says that when parents give a prompt and nurturing response (e.g. a loving cuddle) to their baby, she will actually learn to calm down and be less frantic.
This is because the baby knows that her needs will be met when Mum (or Dad) comes over. Mum will also learn to recognise the different cries of her baby, and master the skill of knowing when things do not sound right.
The breastfeeding issue
Thanks to the existence of breastfeeding support groups online, more mums are determined to breastfeed their babies for at least the first 6 months of life.
While it’s amazing to see this new wave of determination, mums should not beat themselves up if their plans to breastfeed do not go through.
Breastfeeding has never been easy to begin with, and even mums who have been breastfeeding for years have had their fair share of ‘roadblocks’ that they had to deal with along the way.
So, instead of feeling guilty and stressed over not being able to give your baby the best start the way you envisioned, let’s all focus on creating a happy, healthy environment for them to live and grow in.
As a friend once told me, "Your baby may not necessarily need a breastfeeding mum, but she SURE needs her mum to be HAPPY!"
Documenting the early years
As a new parent, it is so easy to get caught up with the kids that it leaves you barely enough time to sit down and savour those sweet growing up moments.
Before long, your sweet little bundle of joy will grow up (a little too quickly), and you’ll find yourself dealing with a whole new set of challenges.
That’s why, when you’ve got a few minutes to yourself, it may be a good idea to organise a photo book — so that you’ll have something to remind you of your kids’ growing-up years.
Imagine how fun it’d be to flip through this ‘treasure chest’ of memories with your kids, as you tell them about the things that they used to do as babies!
A little help goes a long way
You’re determined to learn the ropes of being a Super Mummy... You tell yourself that you can handle looking after the kids and manage the house chores all by yourself.
The reality is most mums learn along the way that juggling the chores and kids can get tiring. So, if possible, it may be worthwhile to seek help — either from your parents/in-laws or a helper.
Don’t worry — doing so does not make you any less the amazing mum that you are!
In fact, it actually gives you more time to put your focus and attention on the kids — without that nagging feeling that you still have to cook and clean up!
Stop being a worrywart!
It is a given fact that we mums just can’t seem to stop worrying about our little ones.
During the first years, we wonder if they are hitting their milestones ‘on time’.
Once they start school, we worry constantly about them being at par — or catching up — with the rest of the class.
Mums, as with most things in life, worrying gets you nowhere. Instead of fretting over the million ‘what-ifs’, let’s all shift our energies to enjoying and making the most of these precious early years.
Before you know it, our cute bundles of energy will have grown up, and stand on their own two feet... so now’s actually the best time to teach them the values and lessons that we want them to remember for the rest of their lives.