Hindsight is a wonderful thing…so they say…but let’s be honest, a lot of the time it’s incredibly annoying!
We often think, ‘if I knew then what I know now…’ but it’s impossible to go back in time and tell yourself things you’ve learnt, we all just have to get on and do ‘mum life’ the best way we know how…in our current situation…equipped with the knowledge we have…RIGHT NOW.
As time goes on, hopefully we can look back and laugh at how stressed we got over what now seem like small things…or even better, hopefully some of us can look back and think…’I wouldn’t change a thing.’ Go those people. Go them.
BUT…if you could go back in time and tell yourself a thing or two about being a mum, what would you say?
How would you prepare yourself (a little bit) for motherhood?
Cadenshae are the maternity activewear global leaders and specialise in high quality nursing sports bras, tanks, tees, hoodies and medically endorsed maternity leggings for mums and moms all over the world. But, not only does Cadenshae make the best gear for moving and breastfeeding mothers, they’ve also created a thriving community of mums who all love to support each other and lend a hand where possible.
So, Cadenshae decided to make the most of this huge pool of knowledge and ask their loyal customers, ‘if you could go back to a time before you were a mum, how would you tell yourself to prepare?’ Even though this advice isn’t going to help out those who are giving it (obviously), the idea is this wisdom will help the pregnant readers out there, or the fresh new mums already online googling advice right now…hi there! Congratulations by the way!
Preparing For Motherhood Tips:
Several Cadenshae mothers said they would tell themselves to stop cleaning and play more often. Even though some things DO have to be done around the house each day, just do the essentials. You don’t have to have an ‘instagram’ worthy house all the time, your kids won’t remember or even care how tidy the house was growing up (unless you’re a hoarder, you need to sort that…), but they will remember how much you played with them, and how fun you were. They will remember you spending quality time, and how loved you made them feel. Put down the shower cleaner…go and get stuck into the LEGO!
Another reoccuring theme was that of trust. A lot of Cadenshae mothers would go back and tell themselves to trust their gut, trust their intuition…not what the ‘experts’ think is right, but what you as the mother think is right. You know your baby, your family and yourself better than any midwife, nurse, doctor, online sleeping expert, grandma, friend, sister etc…you do you, because more often than not…you’ll be right.
Following on from trusting the ‘mama instincts,’ many mothers would tell themselves to just ‘let go’ and ‘roll with it.’ To truly understand that all babies are different, all mothers are different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Learn what your baby’s cues are and look out for those, they know what they want…not an author from a baby book written in 1989.
Mindset. It’s important to come into motherhood with a positive mindset and try and find joy in every moment. Even when bubs is screaming at 2am and you don’t know why, even when you’ve been up for three hours while your new babe is cluster-feeding, try not to get frustrated and switch your mind to find the joy. Control your mind to think positively and everything will instantly seem easier. The hard times will pass and before you know it, your baby girl will be 18 and off on her next adventure with her new questionable boyfriend (who raised that boy?!) and you’ll be back in her room, snuggling her old teddy, wishing she wanted you to hug her to sleep again. You will get more sleep eventually, just not right now…so go with the flow mama!
Some more practical advice discussed was that of spending less time making the nursery perfect and spending more time understanding how often babies ‘should’ be sleeping and how long they ‘should’ be awake for. This is a guide though, and every baby of course is different, with some needing much more sleep than others. A parent of multiple children knows this all too well. Also, having a better understanding of breastfeeding techniques can be helpful so it’s not such a shock when the baby first suckles.
As the author of this post, and mother of two beautiful boys (if I do say so myself) I also have some advice I wish to add for when you first become a mother. Less emotive, but in my opinion, extremely handy. I think it’s essential to get some leather furniture…whether it be new, second-hand, whatever…or even just some sort of material where you can easily wipe off any mess. You baby will spew, oh yes, they will spew…and your toddler will spill EVERYTHING. With leather, or faux leather, it just wipes riiiight off. Easy.
Also, in my experience 4pm-10pm can be a bit of a killer with a newbie. The ‘witching hour’ in my household was more like the, ‘witching omg what have we done, why won’t this baby stop crying…I am so hungry but can’t eat, cradle and breastfeed all at the same time…six hour marathon.’ So if you can, make a whole lot of meals before you give birth and freeze them, or even better and if finances allow, get one of those companies like, ‘Hello Fresh’ or ‘My Food Bag’ to deliver weekly meals to your door, and then you or your partner can quickly whip them up. It just saves you having to think about what you’re having for dinner and these delicious, healthy meals are ready pretty quickly. It’s so important you’re eating hearty, healthy meals when you’re breastfeeding (if you choose to) to support yourself and your baby. Maybe just get the meals for a couple of months until the witching hour eventually becomes, ‘oh my baby sleeps from 7pm-7am!’ (I used to want to politely punch those mothers in the face).
I actually have a whole lot of things I would say to my former, care-free, independent, career-driven, pre-mum self, but another piece of golden advice I was given was to ensure you are enrolled at the doctors closest to you. You will be going to the Dr a lot, either for yourself, or for your baby. I originally had a Dr 30m away, and thankfully my midwife told me to switch to the one down the road, it saved me a whole lot of trouble. Crucial.
And finally a piece of advice from me, but also most of the Cadenshae mothers…try not to have too many expectations. What will be, will be. Having expectations on how things will go will lead to disappointment, or a sense of failure. Why on earth would you do that to yourself? Why would you have expectations on something you know very little about, and can only fully learn as you go? You don’t need to be striving for an A+ as a mother, wife, house executive, friend, daughter, sister etc. right now…Cs also get degrees, so just calm the farm a little and take it easy. When things settle down, then you can up the ante and get things back just how you like, but for now, slow down mama…bubby needs your boobs again...like now...NOW!
P.S You’ve totally got this.
Written by Ellen Chisholm.