A few months back the fabulous Fiona from My Mummy Daze asked the question ‘How would you sum up motherhood in two words?’. The first answer that popped into my head was ‘The best!’. I absolutely love being a mum, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard at times. It’s definitely the most challenging role you’ll ever have. It’s also one of the most fun, exhilarating and rewarding. These are just some of the things I’ve learnt in the past so far.
Me and my Little Miss
1. Look After YOU!
I know it sounds pretty straight forward, right? But when you’re a mum and crazy busy looking after your family, working, cooking, cleaning (the list goes on and on!) – the first thing you forget about is you. Dr Ginni Mansberg sums it up perfectly when she talks of her aeroplane theory “They always say fit your own mask first, and then your children’s in an emergency. Airlines have worked out that everyone dies if mum is not OK – but women haven’t” It’s so true!
So make sure you look after you. Take time out to do something you enjoy, whether it’s coffee with girlfriends, a fitness class or reading your favourite magazine. Eat healthy food – load up on energy boosting snacks like hummus, veggies, fruit and yoghurt. Drink lots of water, get outside for a walk and fresh air every day (even if it’s only 10 minutes around the block), take a multivitamin and don’t ignore health issues. Ask yourself this; if you thought something was wrong with your child – would you hesitate to take them to the doctor? No. You wouldn’t. So don’t hesitate to get yourself to your GP if you think something is up.
2. Get Organised
I’m a semi organised person, but being a mum you really need to get super organised. It makes life SO much easier. The days and weeks when I feel like life is a breeze happen when I have planned ahead. Recently, I have been doing my grocery shopping online on a Sunday morning, and that usually means we are fully stocked and ready for the week by 9am on Monday. Then I spend the rest of the day baking and cooking a few dishes to have handy and ready to go. It’s so much easier to pull out a veggie slice and warm it up for Little Miss the minute she gets hungry, rather than try to figure out what to make for her.
My Veggie Slice (recipe here)
I get loads of inspiration from other mummy bloggers and I’m so grateful to them for sharing their tips and recipes. Some of my favourites are The Misadventurous Maker, The Organised Housewife and Veggie Mama.
3. Don’t Be Shy to Ask For Help
If people offer their help, don’t turn them down! Especially in the early days when you are adjusting to motherhood and your new baby. If someone wants to drop off a lasagne, say ‘That would be wonderful, thank you!’. If you are totally exhausted and need a few hours sleep to recharge, ask a family member or friend to come over and look after your baby. You will feel SO much better for it.
We have access to some of the very best health care in the world here in Australia, so if you are struggling with a particular issue, get out your purple book or jump online or even call someone. Whether it’s a medical hotline, Ngala or your clinic nurse. If you feel like you aren’t coping – talk to somebody. Make the most of the help available to us lucky Aussies.
4. Trust Your Instincts
We have instincts for a reason, and as a mother you really need to trust and listen to what they are telling you. My Little Miss had undiagnosed reflux for four months as a baby. Everyone was telling me that her symptoms were normal and she would grow out of it. But I just felt that something was up, and that my beautiful baby girl was in pain. I saw a clinic nurse and my GP who told me not to worry. Then I finally saw a paediatrician who confirmed that she had reflux and would need some medication for a period of time. So, even if everyone around you is telling you not to worry – if you feel something is not quite right, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.
My baby girl
5. Relax, and Enjoy!
We are overloaded with information from the minute we find out we are pregnant. There are so many books, pamphlets, websites – all telling you what you should be doing and how. Family, friends and even strangers feel obligated to give you their opinions on how to raise your child – some of this advice can prove to be very useful, but a lot of it really isn’t. Smile, breathe and say ‘thank you.’ Every mother, baby and situation is different, so don’t feel that you have to follow a particular style of parenting, or compare your child to others – because each child develops and grows at their own rate, in their own time.
Me and my girl
A child health nurse once told me that if you love your child, feed them well and keep them clean and safe – you are doing a fantastic job. I’ve never forgotten that. So don’t feel pressured to be doing one million activities or feeding them three course gourmet meals.
Relax, enjoy and have fun.
And remember, a happy mum equals a happy home.
What have you learnt as a mother?
What’s the best or worst advice you have been given as a mum?