Happy Mother’s Day to all the mummies out there! Today’s my first Mother’s Day. I can safely say it was not a wild or fabulous day but a typical Sunday!
Much like my birthday, Amelia started the celebrations extra early by waking at 3.15am. Then to make it even more fun having a dirty nappy, which as I changed it by candlelight (or something similar but more modern) she decided to have a mini meltdown. It led to a pooey nappy hanging off her, poo stuck to her bottom and me trying to save the situation before she sat up onto my beige carpet and used that, rather than a wipe, to clean her up. Anyway, once she went back to sleep I luckily got a lie in as Daddy kindly attended to her once she decided morning had arrived at 6am. The rest of the day was fairly straightforward with a long morning nap, a trip to the shops and then a tour of the major A-roads in the area after she fell asleep in the car. We went off to swimming, which she loved today. To round the day off we had dinner with the grandparents, where she alternated between happiness and tiredness in fairly rapid cycles. If only she could appreciate that a good night’s sleep might prevent such excessive tiredness in the day! But her current sleeping habits are a separate topic for discussion. I wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate being a mum, and how we are all different, with very different little ones!
I can safely say that no two babies seem to be the same. You can’t divide them into girls and boys and presume girls behave one way, and boys another. What works for some mums doesn’t work for others, and some tips that we receive are invaluable! Parenting is not easy, but somehow you just pick up the skills as you go along with little or no training. As many books or websites that you read, you will always develop your own style that takes on board your hopes, needs and beliefs, and your baby’s personality.
I have taken advice over the last year, and in all honesty I don’t remember where which tip came from. So I decided to go back to some of my close relatives who are going through their own parenting experiences, but a bit further down the road, to ask them a few questions. I asked them about the best advice they were given when starting out, what advice they would pass on, and what their best time as a parent has been so far. One thing that cropped up again and again was to enjoy every last minute because they grow up so quickly. Most of the mums said their favourite bits were the all little things that happened – impromptu and funny.
My sister’s best piece of advice from our mum was a very practical one – always raise the head of the cot when they’ve got a cold. Mum always used a towel apparently. Her advice to me was to go with the flow because you can’t assume both kids will be the same. She said her favourite times have been watching them grow and all of the funny things they do. Her top highlights included questioning the older daughter about who wrote on her dining table. Emily explained that it was Sophie. My sister then questioned why Sophie would choose to practice writing Emily’s name then. (Always blame it on the younger one – that’s my advice as a sister!) She also found potty training Emily was tough as Sophie had just become proficient at crawling. She once found Sophie just about to scoop Emily’s freshly produced poo out of the potty. Yikes!
My sister-in-law said the best piece of advice is to never get tired of nagging. Instil boundaries and stick to them without fail. Her best times are the little looks and impromptu cuddles her boys give her. I can confirm that youngest son is very good at the ‘look’, which he gives along with the phrase “love you mummy”. It’s pretty cute!
My cousin felt that the best bit of advice was that there is no right or wrong way of parenting. There is no magical parenting manual and everyone is making it up as they go along. Her advice was to love unconditionally, sleep when you can and ignore the competitive mums! She also advised that we stop and smell the flowers along the way! Although there are a million best moments, she thought that maybe the highlight so far should be that they are all still alive and two have even made it to the teens so far!
I think the best advice I have received so far was creating a bedtime routine early on and trying to stick to it. I would certainly pass this advice on, along with the advice that you can only do your best. Do not beat yourself up if things don’t go as you expected, particularly with breastfeeding. If you want to breastfeed then give it a go, but it’s ok if you find it tough, need help, or decide it’s not working for you. Finally, you will know your baby best. You will spend many days, and nights, with this little being. You will come to know them better than anyone else and, as such, your instincts should always guide you. You will come to know what cry means what, what they need, and you will recognise if something is wrong. As a doctor I always listen to a mother’s concerns. I may have only met their little one a couple of minutes ago. Mummy knows them inside out!
I really hope you have had a lovely Mother’s Day, however you have spent the day. If you have any advice to share or little anecdotes about the best times you’ve had with your little ones I would love to know!