The One Thing I Wish I Knew About Motherhood

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Motherhood is one hell of a ride. It’s huge. It’s scary. It’s bliss. And it’s one constant learning curve! You have to teach the hard lessons and learn the hard lessons. And often you have to do the ‘right’ thing, even when you have no idea what that is.

Recently, I asked 16 mums for the one thing they wish they had known before they signed up to this game. Here’s what they had to say…

 

Natalie Bloom, Mum of Four – Bloom Cosmetics

One thing I would tell a new Mum who wants to continue her career is that balancing work and motherhood is an enormous challenge. There are moments when you feel like you are managing everything seamlessly and then one of the children gets sick or something unexpected happens at work and everything is thrown out.

 

Pip Lincolne, Mum of Three – Meet Me At Mikes

Expect the Unexpected: Those books ‘What To Expect’ have a lot to answer for, because in my experience you’re often dealt the hand you least expect in the parenting game. I’ve got three kids and every time I thought I had it all worked out, they prove me wrong. That’s okay, though, if you are approaching parenthood like a strangely cuddly yet precarious bout of pick-up-sticks. The challenging moves they make might be strategic, or purely accidental, but there’s never anything in there you can’t handle with a deep breath and a bit of commitment/patience. Rather than being overwhelmed by the tricky bits, know that it’s just a bit of a game changer and you’ll be able to handle it with a rethink and lots of love. (And it’s not always about winning anyway. Sometimes it’s just about fronting up and playing the game, right?)

 

Amber Clohesy, Mum of  Two – The Woodsfolk

I can’t choose just one thing, so here’s a couple of things I wish I had known:

  • Before having baby drop-in to every store that you’ve ever meant to take a peek in. Once bub arrives getting a baby in-and-out of the car can be a military operation!
  •  When friends want to meet bub, use it as an opportunity to get out of the house. Meet at a local cafe or park. That way you can leave when you want and don’t end up doing a mad tidy-up before and after their visit.
  • Sleep when bub sleeps. Leave the washing, the vacuuming and take care of yourself!
  • Eat out when bub is young and still tucked up in a capsule, they travel so well at that age. Once they discover solids it’s all over!
  • Lansinoh Nipple Cream is a lifesaver!

 

Chantelle Ellem, Mum of One (and a bump!) – Fat Mum Slim

I was a nanny before I became a mama, and I thought I had it all sorted. The reality was, I didn’t. I wish that someone had sat me down during my pregnancy and just told me that there’s no right way, and there’s definitely more than one way to raise a child. I wish they’d told me to follow my gut instinct and be OK with whatever I decided to do. If I wanted to co-sleep, that’s OK. If I wanted to bottle-feed and breast-feed, that’s OK too. I think taking away all the expectations {my own and others} it would have taken that pressure off and I could have enjoyed it all a little more. With this next baby, I am hoping to go with the flow and whatever happens… we’ll be OK. Perfectly OK.

 

Debbie Russo, Mum of Three – A Fifo Wife

I wish someone had told me how many times I would sit in my car and cry. Cry the ugly cry because I would on occasion doubt my ability to be a ‘good mother’ but to have faith that I am doing the best I can. I often wonder where did that young and arrogant person go? The one who thought they could do and know it all. No one told me that person would disappear. Perhaps she was vomited out during my first nine months of morning sickness something else nobody told me about or if they did I was too arrogant and ignorant to believe that it would happen to me.

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Jo Whitton, Mum of Four – Quirky Cooking

Always remember, your relationship with your children is more important than having nice ‘stuff’! It may seem obvious, but if you’re always stressing out over broken dishes, scratched cars, scribbled on walls, and drinks spilt on the carpet, you won’t be very fun to live with. If you lose the plot every time a dish gets broken, your kids will learn that things are more important than people. Take a deep breath, give them a hug, and say ‘never mind,’ then clean it up together. Broken dishes can be replaced. Broken hearts can’t.

 

Natalie Kringoudis, Mum of Two – The Pagoda Tree

It does get easier! (And all your bits and pieces body wise do go back). I remember at the time of having my first baby, I felt like my life had stood still and that everyday was the same as the one before. I wish somebody had actually made me aware that it felt a bit like limbo (not necessarily bad, but weird) and that it would indeed get easier as each day goes by. In that post birth haze, logic  is also on a holiday…which is probably a great thing!

Oh, and follow your heart. Your intuition as a mother is NEVER wrong. Don’t try fight it or second guess it. You know everything you need to know.

 

Chelsea Thomas, Mum of One – I Heart Bargains

I wish I knew how to cook delicious, wholesome, family meals. It might be a boring wish but there’s nothing worse than standing and staring into your fridge and trying to pull something together. I wish I had of listened to mum when she showed me how to make our family gravy recipe, her hearty chicken soup and carrot cake with cream cheese icing. But I didn’t and now that I’m a working mum, I reach for the take away menu way too often. New mums should have a few quick meals up their sleeve that they can freeze a little bit too often.

 

Sally Singline, Mum To Me and My Two  Brothers!

There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in –– Leonard Cohen, Anthem.

I wish someone had told me that with all my best mother intentions, some days will be diamonds and some days stone. That I will make mistakes, but that will be ok because that’s the natural flow of life. And that, thankfully, each new day holds a brand new beginning. But mostly I wish someone had whispered to me on a daily basis, that even with all its cracks, the journey of mother and child is utterly wondrous.

 

Jacqueline Evans, Mum of Two – Jacqueline Evans Natropathic Skincare

Try to enjoy the preciousness of your newborn. In the haze of finding your feet as a new parent, combined with sleep deprivation and crazy hormonal highs and lows, its so easy to wish the time away and not delight in the miracle. Every phase will pass and you eventually resurface, so accept it and embrace and enjoy it. There is nothing better when you look back.

Andrea Zanetich, Mum of Two – Fox in Flats

Don’t count the hours of sleep.

 

Natasha Dumais, Mum of Three – Ubabub

Pyjamas are the new black. Becoming a mum for the first time is HUGE. Super exciting, super busy and for many super taxing emotionally and physically. The thing is, this transitioning and looking after your new bubs will see you spending a whole lot more time in your PJs .

But, you might say, wasn’t being pregnant the time for this PJ thing?! Well it might’ve been, but there’s still more pyjama fun to be had. So hold on tight and embrace them some more.

More importantly give yourself permission to let go a little. The world won’t stop if you don’t find time to do the housework, to have a shower or even change clothes. The best thing about being a new mum is this realisation that motherhood is all about GIVING. Giving life, love and energy to your amazing little baby, you’ll soon see that all those other things don’t really matter at all.

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Nicole Elliot, Mum of Three – Ginger Elliot

You influence their lives but they influence yours more! The best bit is you get to share in their adventure through life’s journey. So, I’m not telling you its going to be easy, I’m telling you its going to be worth it – with a WINE (Sauv blanc) in hand!

 

Rebecca Lowrey Boyd, Mum of One – Wee Birdy

I wish I had known  that once you become a mum, your boobs are no longer your own. Once your wee bebe pops out, you will have all manner of nurses and boob specialists man-handling your fun bags.

I remember half-waking in the dead of night to a young lady sticking her hand down my top, popping out my boob, and squeezing colustrum into a syringe to feed to my baby. She told me to go back to sleep. Very considerate, now I think about it.

Also, prepare for the fact that as a rule, boob nurses rarely agree on anything. So each time a new boob nurse comes in, you will have to learn a totally new boob feeding technique, and you’ll be told that you’ve been doing it all wrong. You’d think they’d have a general rule book for this kind of thing. It can be a tad confusing until you get the hang of it.

 

Karina Sharpe, Mum of Two, Karina Sharpe Jewellery

I wish someone had told me that mothering is hard. That amidst all the gloriousness and love, it can be ‘hard’ and that’s okay. That ‘hard’ does not mean ‘wrong’. That ‘hard’ can often mean ‘right’. And that although our daily focus may be on growing happy children, our ultimate task is in building happy adults, and that is a very big and glorious thing. And that makes it easier for me to respect and love the hard stuff. Oh, and Bi carb. Bi carb fixes almost everything.

 

Anneka Manning, Mum of Two – BakeClub

Listen more to yourself than to those around you. Everyone wants to offer an opinion, a point of view, a ‘helpful’ hint. You will be completely bombarded with advice. Yes, listen but then take all of this, take note of what your ‘gut’ is telling you and then make your own decisions. Always remember that your intuition is incredibly valuable (even if you feel like you really don’t know what you are doing!)

 

Megan Carmont, Mum of Two – Code Love

The one thing I would share to a new mother is never forget the relationship which created your cherished little ones. Your children will always benefit from witnessing a loving partnership between their parents. Life gets busy, distractions happen and priorities seem to shift. Make time for each other and invest in your relationship – the ultimate winners will not only be yourselves but your kids as well.

 Oh, ‘tis love, ‘tis love that makes the world go round – Lewis Carroll, Author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

 

Image 1: Lars Wastfelt Image 2: The Glow Image 3: Mark Borthwick

 

15 Comments » | posted on by | posted in LIFESTYLE | tags: ,
  • Oh, what a great blog and an awesome collection of mothers! Thank you for sharing. I especially love your mum’s advice. My advice to a new mother would be that your life will completely change and that your view of the world will be different to what it was before baby. Motherhood is one of the great initiations of being a woman. Aren’t we so blessed?

  • Sarah Rowley

    Great collection of opinions and advice… love the blog

  • I love this. Every. Single. Word. As a (relatively) new mum it’s always a reassuring to hear other mum’s advice. My rule as a new mum was to organise to get out of the house each and every day. Being at home with a bub all day can get pretty lonely and it’s easy to think that it’s just you and a crying baby and forget there’s still a big, wide world out there.

  • Kate

    Lovely post, Clare, and beautiful words, as always, Sal.

  • So many great words of wisdom. What a precious gift it is to be a mother. Thanks Clare!

  • Amy

    An absolutely beautiful collection of thoughts and advice, brought a tear to my eye! So glad I stumbled upon this today.
    Love Amy (39 weeks pregnant and about to enter the motherhood zone for the 1st time!)

  • evie

    so many wise words. a beautiful post. thanks clare x

  • Chantelle Ellem, I was horrified to read that it’s ok to co-sleep! You might want to read this;

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/oct/24/study-cot-death-cosleeping

  • KAY LAWRENCE

    Forgot to add – so much good advice here. Don’t follow the latest fads. I had mine 15 years apart, to be told with the second one ‘we don’t do that nowadays’ by one midwife. As if babies have changed into different beings in that time!

  • What wonderful advice! What I have learnt is that being a Mum actually is the most important job in the world. Everything else should come second. They are only little for such a short time. Give them all the time you can.

  • Thanks for entering your post in the DP Blog Carnival!

  • Thanks for having me Monique!

  • I think you’ve just inspired my next blog post! This was a wonderful post to read! DPBC visitor X

  • Robomum – I’m so excited that this post has inspired you. Will head on over and check it out now! xx

  • So many wise words. I’d have loved to have read this ten years ago! Love that Leonard Cohen quote too. x