When you announce you are pregnant every person you know, who has had a child [or a few] pops up to congratulate you. They also start to regale you of all their “wisdom” as seasoned parents. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes people do have anecdotes of advice that is quite helpful. But mostly they just go for the shock horror factor. One thing they fail to tell you is that ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT. What works for one baby may not work for another. One baby may sleep great but not feed brilliantly. Or vice versa. My experience of being a first time mother to a small baby has been interesting. And quite surprising.
I was forewarned by many “seasoned” parents that in the first few months I’d be exhausted. The baby wouldn’t sleep great. I’d struggle to find time to wee let alone shower. I’d forget to eat. And so on the list goes.
Personally, in my own experience, I never had a cold cup of tea. I never not showered for 3 days. I only felt exhausted in the first few days home. And most of that was due to the fact that I had been in hospital since Saturday, awake since Sunday at 7am and had laboured 36 hours before having an emergency c-section. Which then kept me awake on/off the night before I came home, due to the pain/blood/meds etc. By the time we’d been home 3 days I felt more myself and I slept fine.
This is not me saying “everyone listen, it isn’t that bad”. Not at all. I know women who really did not have the time to do those things because they had a baby that needed holding 24/7 or it would scream blue murder. But for me, I had spent months listening to my friends saying “oh it’ll be so tough, you’ll be so tired, and need to shower and the baby will be crying and you’ll just want to lie down.” And for me, personally, I expected that. Yet it wasn’t like that.
I feel blessed because my daughter would sleep in 4 hourly stints which enabled me to sleep 4 hours too. She would feed, poop and then sleep. Over the first few weeks she’d be awake slightly more each day. But even then, she was very happy as a baby. She was fine to be laid in her Moses Basket whilst I went to the toilet. Or I would leave her in her pram. Or in her bouncy chair outside the bathroom whilst I showered [personally I didn’t need to if she was asleep as I’d hear her awake but I was a single parent so she came with me]. By the time she was 6 weeks old she was sleeping 9pm till 6am. And that continued until she started nursery and she then started going to bed at 7pm, and still does now. She goes down [no fuss] at 7pm and wakes up at 7am. I mean, yes, I would categorise her as a “good baby”. She eats brilliantly, she sleeps brilliantly and she is as bright as a button. Also very happy but so cheeky.
My point of the post is that all babies are different, as are all adults . We require different amounts of sleep to function. I function on 5-6 hours. I often don’t go to bed until about 12-1am, get up at 7am for work. Whereas my fiancé needs a solid 10 or he’s miserable and a twat to be around.
Adults also require different “things” to keep them sane, like a monthly/fortnightly date night. A weekly meal with their “girls”, no kids. An evening hour to read a magazine, gossip on the phone or just have a luxurious bath with no kids asking for things.
I fully appreciate that some people have babies that scream all day. Don’t sleep. Won’t eat. Are just genuinely hard work. I know this because my brother was on of them kids. I don’t know how my mother didn’t throttle him lol with a baby like that, it is easy to understand a parent not getting any sleep, not showering as often as they did before and all the chores being left aside because of the baby taking up so much time. And all I have to say to those mothers is get support. You need a break. And you don’t need to feel guilty for dumping the baby on your husband when he arrives from work and hiding in the bedroom or wherever you wanna go. You need to. Don’t worry about the laundry or the dishes. You need to look after you. Because if you burn out, you won’t be any good to your baby.
Another thing we do as parents [that we really shouldn’t] is comparing our baby to everyone else’s. My daughter crawled at 6.5 months and stood up at the furniture a week later. Yet she didn’t actually walk properly until she was 14 months. Everyone thought she’d be walking by Christmas [she’d have been 11 months] but she didn’t. Whereas some of my friend’s babies weren’t crawling until 8/9 months but they went straight into walking by a year. So it really just depends on your baby. I know from nursery that my daughter is on par with everything developmentally for her age range. They update me on a weekly basis [using the Tapestry app] on her new skills and what she gets up to. She was painting last week, with her whole body! lol
I just want every mother out there know that we all got you. You’re having a hard day, feel like you’re failing, you are not! If your kid is fed, watered, clean [give or take their natural ability to get dirty within seconds] and are happy and healthy then you’re doing a job well done. We all have days where we feel like shit, the kid is being an asshole [yes, kids can be assholes] and you just want to finish doing the laundry, wash up the 1 million dirty dishes [who uses that many cups, they just appear] and pee in peace. Chin up. One day you’ll look back and realise you survived. And you’ll have some well-rounded happy kids to show for it.