When you’re in the trenches of newbornhood, it’s hard to put things in perspective. You’re sore, swollen, sleep-deprived and pretty sure you can hear a baby crying, even when your newborn is fast asleep beside you. Especially if you’re in the shower.
Now, every single person will tell you this: These moments are fleeting. Enjoy them while you can. It was hard to believe it back then, but it’s so true.
My first baby is now almost a teenager and if I could press rewind and go through those newborn days with him again, I would. In a heartbeat.
Here are a few things I would remind my new mummy self if I could:
1. You’re not going to die from lack of sleep
Yes, it might feel like you are some nights, but you won’t. Yes, you’re tired, but you can persevere. Try not to ruin your days by worrying about how little sleep you got at night. Just accept the zombie status and go with it.
2. Baby smell doesn’t last
So suck in every last scent. Heck, if you figure out a way to bottle that shit up, DO IT.
3. You’re not screwing up
Babies are meant to cry and be unsettled sometimes. They are meant to spit up and pass wind. It’s not your fault and you’re not doing anything wrong.
4. The house will, one day again be clean (and quiet)
One day you will be on top of the housework, you won’t have a pile of laundry and dishes staring at you all day. You will feel in control of your domain again.
5. People mean well
Even if their advice seems rude, condescending or just plain wrong, they aren’t purposely trying to offend you.
In most instances, unsolicited advice-givers mean well. Parenting has changed so much and often advise-givers forget this. They are simply passing down pearls of wisdom they remember which may not be relatable anymore.
6. Elaborate toys, parties and even clothes don’t really matter
Your newborn son doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you spent a fortune theming the nursery in Winnie the Pooh. Or that you dressed him up in Winnie the Pooh garb for the majority of his newbornhood. And that elaborate first birthday party? He doesn’t remember it. I’ve asked him. He doesn’t.
Save the expensive gifts, clothing, and parties for down the road when they are old enough to appreciate it. Trust me, it doesn’t get any cheaper when they are older!
7. You don’t need to upload everything
Seriously, put your phone down and stop oversharing. An entire album dedicated to your son’s first bath is too much.
8. It’s okay to admit that you need help
It doesn’t make you any less of a mum. Taking care of a newborn IS hard and it’s not a one-person job. You’re still an awesome mum even if you need a hand.
9. Your partner is on your side
He’s tired too. And confused. And slightly terrified of the newborn who excretes weird smells all day long. He wants to help you but he’s not sure how. Be direct and, when you let him try, back away and let him try his way. Not your way.
Even if his way is weird.
10. A sense of humour will go a long way
If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Okay, you’ll cry anyway, but try to keep positive and find the funny side if you can.
Sure, the baby is screaming, your boobs are leaking, the fire alarm is going off because you’ve burned dinner AND the dog just vomited in the house. It’s hard to see it now but you will laugh about this later in life.
11. It’s not going to be like this forever
It’s really not. In two or three months, newbornhood will be over. In 12 months, your baby will be on the throngs of toddlerhood. And in 12 years? He will be in his room on his PS4, avoiding your questions about maths homework.
12. Remove the ‘should’ from your thoughts
I should do the washing. I should vacuum the floors. I should try and move baby to his bassinet.
No. You should not.
You should stop with the ‘shoulds’ and let yourself breathe, relax and rest. It’s perfectly okay to feel like you’ve done nothing all day. You have done a lot in the grand scheme of things.
You’ve fed your newborn, you’ve probably made a snack or two.
You may have even brushed your hair.
And, most importantly, you’ve spent the majority of your day getting to know your baby and discovering how to be his mum.
This is all you ‘should’ be doing.
And you’re doing a damned good job at it. Just ask the 12-year-old playing PS4 in the other room. He’ll tell you just how great of a job you did, and are still doing. But wait until he’s finished his game first.
What to read next
- 9 Things About Newborns That You Only Discover AFTER Having One
- 12 Hilariously Accurate Truths About Postpartum Recovery
- 18 Messed Up Things No One Seems To Mention About New Mummyhood
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