The last few years have been the most difficult, albeit crazy wonderful years I’ve ever experienced.
I think about our pre-baby life often. Life has changed so much. Even saying, babies, still blows my mind. It took us so long to have the first. Then like buses, another one magically came along to complete our family. I sometimes wonder what the old me would make of the new me. I know they’d be friends, but they’d never believe that they used to be the same person.
So much has happened over the past two and a half years. But if there’s one thing I’ve only recently begun to accept, it’s that I’ve been way too hard on myself since becoming a mother.
Whilst other people seemingly adapted to parenthood with ease, I always tortured myself with how rubbish I was at coping. It’s only now that I’m starting to understand that I’d given myself unrealistic standards to obtain and unachievable goals to meet. I think we all take to parenthood in different ways and find different stages easier or more enjoyable, but looking back wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have given our first-time parent selves a little heads up?
So when BritMums launched their #VicksBabyRub Challenge, asking parents what advice they would give to themselves as a first-time parent, I thought it the perfect, therapeutic, opportunity to give myself a little talking to and perhaps be a good reminder of just how blooming well the new me is actually doing.
A Letter To Me As A First Time Mum
Dear Me, (back when you enjoyed sleep and didn’t have the faintest scooby about what life was about to entail…)
It’s your Fairy Godmother here, my name is hindsight. Whilst you’re still in a state of shock, experiencing exhaustion like you could never have imagined and wondering if you’ll ever be able to sit on a park bench again, I’ve put together a little list of my advice from me- the someday you- to help you through this overwhelming time. I would say grab a cuppa, but I doubt very much you’ve figured out how to do that one-handed just yet. But you will soon, I promise…
Things Won’t Be The Same Again
Straight to the point. Start thinking of life as chapters in a book. This is a brand new chapter and as much as you try to fight it, having a baby doesn’t slot into your life, you have to slot into baby’s life. The quicker you accept this, she says two and a half years down the line, the better for everyone.
You Are Unbelievably Strong
Becoming a mother will give you unbelievable superpowers. You will gain many strengths that you never believed you had in you. Women are amazing. I’m still in awe of what our bodies can do, what our minds can achieve and what our hearts can contain. Use these powers to get you through the toughest of days and try to remind yourself when you can that you matter.
Even Superwoman Needs A Little Help Sometimes
If your mother in law offers to cook you dinner or do your washing, accept it. If your mum offers to change your bed or hold the baby whilst you shower, say yes. Accepting help isn’t a sign of failure, or your inability to cope. Unless you spouted six extra pairs of hands when giving birth then you are going to need all the help you can get until that sprog skips off to school. So you best get better at saying “Oh yes please, thank you!” and sharpish.
Get Used To Mess
From the moment that tiny little bundle arrives home, it will bring with it a permanent tornado of shite covered mess. Get used to spending a considerable amount of your life from now on fighting with packets of wipes, (seriously why can you never get JUST ONE out when you need it?) hunched under tables picking up slobbered covered mush, washing orange stains out of EVERYTHING and constantly walking around tidying up and getting absolutely NOWHERE.
You Will Never Sleep Again
When you’ve actually Googled ‘Can I die from no sleep’, you know it’s bad. My only advice will be to not invest in anything that promotes itself as a “Miracle Sleep Aid“. This includes extortionately priced sheeps, (of every variety…Ewen, Lenny, I’m talking about you) white noise machines, massage oils and whatever else you stumble upon in sheer desperation. But instead, purchase some really bloody expensive face cream so you can avoid ageing ten years in space of a year. You can thank me later…oh wait.
Embrace The Snuggles
Your home is going to look like a riot has taken place in Mothercare despite your continuous efforts, so you might as well enjoy every cuddle and appreciate the snuggles as much as possible. Bottle baby’s scent and keep them close. The early days are long for a reason and it’s to give us extra time to take in those precious moments in amongst all the dishevelled chaos.
There Will Be Tough Times
There will be some really dark days ahead, but you won’t let it beat you. It will consume you in ways you never thought possible and you will sometimes feel really, really sad. But keep searching for the light. Remind yourself daily of all wondrous things that surround you and know that you are important and valued. Your babies need you and they are happiest when you are at your happiest.
You Won’t Be The Mother You Thought You Would Be
You may have had these lovely visions of being a cross between Mary Poppins and a Stepford Wife, but this is a good example of how unrealistic your ideas were in the beginning. But this doesn’t mean you won’t become one heck of an amazing mother.
Despite the dark days and the hard times, your love, strength and patience for your babies will be quite unlike anything you can ever imagine and you will become a better person because they made you a Mother.
Go easy on yourself, you are brave and resilient and the new me is very, very proud of you.
With Love From Me to You x
Being the typical second baby, Billie hasn’t been to any music, singing, sensory or baby massage classes. Unlike her sister who literally got the t-shirt and the certificate for every ridiculously priced baby class going, Billie hasn’t been to any so I really like to make a little extra effort with her where I can, which is why Vicks BabyRub has honestly become a new favourite product in our home.
Vicks BabyRub isn’t just for those horrid bouts of coughs and colds. It’s been designed to be used as part of baby’s everyday routine and is bursting with soothing benefits for baby. We absolutely love using it after bathtime. I moisturise Billie’s back, chest and feet with it which I’m sure has helped to relax and calm her before her bedtime feed. It smells delicious as it’s made with mild, warming fragrances such as Rosemary, Lavender and Aloe Vera.
Billie really suffers from teething and so our Vicks BabyRub has become a staple product before her naps and bedtime as the delicate vapour really helps to soothe her running nose and irritated temperament during these terrible teething bouts.
It may sound simple, but using the rub and giving her a little baby massage whilst singing to her before bed not only soothes her but also takes the edge off the Mum Guilt at the end of the day.
This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge*, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.
*My post won first prize in the Vicks Baby Rub Challenge with Britmums and I received £300 John Lewis vouchers for my post entry.