Things I’m doing differently as a second time Mum – and tips for first time mums
So second time round, motherhood is very different. I’m more chill (not even fretting about the fact that Ishaaq was born in the midst of a pandemic and hasn’t had the regular midwife visits and weigh-ins), I’m better at, well… coping. I was nervous about the prospect of having two under 2.5, yet – at the time of writing – we’re all doing okay. A big factor is a change in my mind-set and expectations.
So here are the things I’m doing differently and the second time mum and my tips for first time mums.
Tips for first time mums: Stop comparing your baby with someone’s else’s
I’m going to just say it right now… Talking to other mums can be a mixed blessing. Yes, I joined an NCT group after having Hannah. Yes, I leaned on my mum friends during that crazy period in my life of being a first time mum. BUT, while it is great having a tribe, comparisons inevitably crept in. I just couldn’t help it. I think I was particularly vulnerable to comparing babies because I had a non-sleeper. So we shared everything from sleeping habits, feeding habits, heck, even how much milk we could produce when expressing. Oh, and not to forget the visual comparisons when you notice how skinny your baby is compared to someone else’s. WhatsApp conversations – many instigated by me and some not – would naturally end with me feeling like I’ve done something wrong.
Don’t get me wrong, finding solace in other mums is great. We whined together and laughed together and our WhatsApp conversations would come to life at 4am. However, I do think I spent more time procrastinating than focusing on my amazing daughter. So second time round? Don’t ask don’t tell. I’m just getting on with it.
Remember: this too shall pass
I bloody hated that saying. When you’re knee deep in pooh-ey nappies, deafened by a crying baby and so sleep deprived that your eyes are fused shut, it’s hard to imagine this being a fleeting moment in your life. But with the benefit of hindsight, I can see it really is. I’ve almost forgotten about all the sleepless nights I endured with my first-born. Almost.
When everybody said enjoy every moment. I found it to be such a patronising comment. I mean, every moment? Even the tough bits? Guess it’s easy to say when you’re not on your last shred of energy. Yet the saying really is true, the nights are long but the years are short. I can’t quite believe my Hannah is a little lady now.
Step away from Google
Along with the unhelpful comparisons, the Internet is up there In terms of self-sabotage. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted through the night taking advice from an anonymous mum on Mumsnet. I read a lot of forums.
I remember one night Hannah farted and I wasn’t sure whether it was a number two. Being a paranoid new mum, I checked online to see whether it’s okay for baby to sleep in their pooh. Cue a long thread, which was basically a big mum-shaming fest. So I decided to check the nappy at 4am only to find that it wasn’t a pooh at all. It took two hours to resettle her. The Internet can be a source of great advice, but more often than not it causes more trouble than it’s worth.
I’ve left my ego at the door
Parenting is one of the most humbling experiences. Mainly because any expectation you may have had goes right out of the window. Having armed myself with a barrage of books whilst pregnant (more on that later), I figured I’d be a modern working mum whose business wouldn’t suffer and neither would the welfare of my child. My baby will be in her own room at six months and sleeping through the night. I never thought I’d be one of those mums that had a toddler in the room. Fast-forward 2.5 years and, that’s not quite our set up. Second time round I’m holding no such lofty expectations.
I’m trying to look after me
This one might be slightly controversial in some quarters. Yet the saying is true, happy mum equals happy baby. The first time round I was so determined to do everything by the book. I think it didn’t help that I lived away from all my family who’d have been able to tell me some practical advice that would’ve made my life easier without compromising my parenting style. Instead, I attended all the breastfeeding clinics and mums groups and got slightly brainwashed. I pretty much learned that the dummy was the scourge of mankind and any food that wasn’t organic should be reported to child protection. I tried to do everything by the book, but often it was at the expense of my sanity and myself. Second time round I haven’t decided if I’m going to give the dummy or not, but if I do I won’t beat myself up about it.
I’ve ditched the baby books
I won’t labour this point, because I’ve already talked about it in the post you can read here. In a nutshell, I got all the baby books when I was pregnant, thinking it would make me the most perfect, most efficient mum. It didn’t. They make good doorstops though. So my tips for new mums… Don’t bother buying a baby book. It won’t make you a better mum and it’s just not worth it.
Mums, what’s your one piece of advice to new mums
About the Author
I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.