40 Things I’ve Learnt From Motherhood

And baby makes four! In the new year our household will be blessed with a new baby.

While I don’t pretend to have all the answers (in fact I don’t even have the answer most of the time) this pregnancy got me thinking about what I’ve learned during my very brief two and half years in the game.

It’s really only the beginning of my journey as a parent, but here are some of the things – big and small – that I’ve learnt along the way:

  1. Anyone that says they wouldn’t let their kids sleep in their bed, go out in grubby clothes or walk around with a snotty nose isn’t a parent.
  2. Cornflour is a brilliant natural alternative to talcum powder and awfully handy for dusting little bottoms.
  3. Motherhood is a competitive sport that’s not for the faint hearted.
  4. Why didn’t anyone warn me about night sweats?!
  5. Personal space is a distant memory. This isn’t a good thing when you’re in a public toilet and your toddler bellows, “Are you doing poos mummy” but it is a glorious thing when they are intertwined in your arms!
  6. There’s not many jobs that are so publicly critiqued as motherhood. From the lady in the bakery to a well-meaning family member, everyone has an opinion on what you should – or more often shouldn’t – be doing.
  7. Babies aren’t made from porcelain. They are surprisingly resilient and won’t break in the bath or when you put a singlet over their head!
  8. Routine is good but not when it becomes about control.
  9. My greatest ever privilege is to see the world through our son’s eyes.
  10. You can have it all – a career, motherhood plus be a great friend/wife/daughter/sister/partner – just not at the same time.
  11. It doesn’t necessarily come naturally, but I really like the free-range approach to parenting.
  12. Never wake a sleeping baby.
  13. You can lead a child to bed but you can’t make them sleep.
  14. You can lead a child to food but you can’t make them eat.
  15. Keep dating your partner. The conversation you have on a night out is worth more than a year of evenings home together.
  16. Ask, demand and make time just for you. You’re no good to anyone when you’re bitter and depleted.
  17. Being a parent unlocks childhood memories long forgotten – lyrics to a nursery rhyme, words from a storybook all come flooding back.
  18. Raise the white flag when you’re not coping.
  19. It really does take a village to raise a child. Ask for help and accept it when it’s offered.
  20. I always thought that I couldn’t sing or draw. But with Alfie as my audience I happily do both daily without even thinking about it.
  21. While photoshopped glossies don’t do you any favours, try and surrender to the fact that your body has forever changed. And that’s ok.
  22. Finding it hard to be inspired about puree? Annabel Karmel has some great books with more puree combinations than you’ll ever get through.
  23. You’re allowed to make mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day. You can right any parenting wrong then.
  24. Kids aren’t the family’s decision makers. Cut the choice and things become simpler.
  25. Don’t face the early days of breast feeding without Mothermates and Lansinoh.
  26. Kids learn more from what you do than what you say.
  27. My greatest hope is that we raise kids that are individual, confident in themselves and happy. In the end, the rest just doesn’t matter.
  28. The most delicious smell in the world is the top of a newborns head.
  29. Every day my heart grows bigger than I ever thought it could. I’m constantly caught off guard by the fierceness of my love and that I would do anything to protect him.
  30. Having a baby seems to make you invisible – everyone is a lot more interested in the bub than you!
  31. Kids remember everything. Even the things you don’t.
  32. Being a mother has softened me. I have greater empathy and connect in a different, deeper way with those close to me and those I only cross paths with.
  33. There is nothing quite like an after-dinner-dance-party in the kitchen… for everyone in the household.
  34. Let go of your expectations.
  35. Whether it’s Sunday morning pancakes or the same quiet lullaby before bed, it’s important to create your own family traditions. They are the touchstones that everyone returns to.
  36. Sure, they’re classics but Dr Seuss books are a pain in the arse to read.
  37. Don’t worry when a fussy toddler lacks interest in their tucker. Think about what they’ve eaten over the course of a week rather than a day.
  38. Be a good listener.
  39. It’s as tedious and challenging as this: parenting comes down to consistency.
  40. Above all else, trust your instincts.

Over to you – what have you learned along the rocky road of parenting?

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