I am a new mum of a 16-month-old boy. I know that like other new mums, there is still so much about children and parenting which I don’t know.
But out of these 16 months, I have spent one month struggling with breastfeeding, four months dealing with a baby who can’t stop crying, 12 months being a full time working mum and cried gallons of tears.
So I guess, I am quite qualified to give some advice. I have realised over these past few months that, there are 5 things that us new mums must totally stop doing, if we want to stay sane!
1. Stop checking baby milestones religiously
Yes, that’s right. Every child is different. They do not all have to walk at 13 months or they do not all have to walk earlier than their peers.
While it is good to watch out for developmental milestones of a child, there is no need to be alarmed every single time you can’t check off that milestone that all those parenting websites tell you.
2. Stop reading every single story about childhood accidents
I guess by now you have realised that being a mum means you can no longer read about suffering and death of children without shedding buckets of tears.
I have come to realise that these stories not only make me bawl my eyes out, it makes me more paranoid than I already am!
Boy died from allergy which mum is unaware of, car safety belt killed three-year-old, and a girl died after falling off from her bicycle. Too many of such stories do not help. It is good to be vigilant and careful but do not let these stories turn you into Mrs Paranoid.
3. Stop joining every single mummy group
Play dates are good. Support from other women is important too. But, you just need a village. You do not need five villages.
Joining too many support groups, be it in your community or on social media, gives you way too much of advice, options and opportunities to compare yourself with other mothers, and your child with other children.
You do not have time and energy for that. If you do, go on a date with your husband instead.
4. Stop trying to get ‘the best’
It is ok. Your son does not really need a Ralph Laurent Polo tee. Your daughter does not need a 40 dollar giraffe teething toy.
You would soon realise she prefers the plastic bottle. There is absolutely no need for that designer branded stroller which you would soon leave at home, because it is so heavy.
What a babies need is care, attention and love. It is enough to meet their basic needs and give them enough hugs and love. There is no need for research after research on the Internet to find the perfect milk bottle. There isn’t one.
5. Stop thinking about whether you have made the right decision to have a child
I cannot recall how many lonely nights and days I have spent thinking about whether I have made the right decision. I love children and I always knew I wanted one when I got married.
So my baby was planned, very planned. I knew and prepared myself about the sacrifices I would have to make and the freedom I would have to give up.
But, well, let’s just say one really does not know what it means to have a child until the child is finally in your arms.
And so, when the baby can’t stop crying, the question pops up. When I can barely open my eyes at work, the question pops up. When a holiday trip to Hawaii has got nothing to do with me anymore, the question pops up. When no matter how hard I try and I still can not hide that belly, the question pops up.
Was it the right decision to have a child? I eventually figured that what I missed is just some parts of my old life. Period.
It is right to say that when my son is older, I would like to go on a holiday. When my son is older, I would love to have some uninterrupted sleep. But there is no need to question the decision to have a child. There is no correlation. I made some sacrifice but I love the boy so much too.
There are pros, and there are cons of having a child. But there is no way to qualify whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa. This is it.
I decided to have a child; I’ll keep that child and embrace this season of my life. In any case, he would not be depending on his mummy forever.
Embrace this season in your life
This is a DO. The baby will not cry forever. You will ultimately get sleep. Cut yourself some slack, relax a little. Enjoy the moment. Just do what you can. It is good enough. New mums, you are good enough.
Also READ: A survival guide for new mums