She’s bursting at the seams with excitement, full of anticipation and animated conversation about the new friends she will meet. She debates whether she will opt for a dress or a skirt on her first day and she ponders the most colourful keyring options that she can use to decorate and personalise her new book bag whilst we are shopping. I listen to these thoughts tumbling out of her mouth in her classic ‘stream-of-consciousness-in-just-one-breath’ kind of way and I pinch myself. Somehow, without my knowledge, time has played a terrible trick on me and standing in front of me is my first child on the brink of school age.
The last time I blinked, she was red and squashy; full of gurgles and totally and utterly dependant on me. These early years of motherhood have been the steepest learning curve known to mankind. But nearly five years on, I sit here as a calmer, kinder person. Here are some of the motherhood life lessons that I owe to my first-born, Romilly.
Self Doubt Is A Waste Of Energy:
- Put your phone and computer down and leave Google alone. Take a deep breath, look at your baby, feel your feelings, feel their feelings and work it out yourself or together. There is nothing that Google can tell you that your own intuition cannot.
Though Shalt Not Judge:
- Pre-motherhood, I used to be one of those people who would get my judgy pants on at frazzled mothers unable to contain or restrain their unruly children in public, tutting at how they would shove a dummy in their gob or an iPhone in their hands. Now, I am 100 per cent committed to the sisterhood and don’t judge anyone else’s parenting technique. I wrote this epiphany on my phone in the early days of motherhood and it still rings so true: ‘when you’re desperate and at your wit’s end, you’ll do anything. DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS. You don’t know what they’ve endured in the previous 24 hours.’
Cherish The Good Times:
- One of the most simple life lessons I have learned is this: cherish the good times, write off the bad and take every day as it comes. Motherhood is a series of phases. Nothing lasts so make the most of it if it’s good and know that it will pass if it’s bad.
Motherhood Is Not A Competition:
- You’re not out to impress anyone: baby-led versus routine led; breast versus bottle; dummy versus thumb versus nothing. Honestly, don’t beat yourself up with any of it. Do what YOU find is the best and the rest will follow. If you’re not getting support, ditch the haters and surround yourself with love.
TV Is GOOD For Your Children:
- Under no circumstance should you beat yourself up about putting the TV on while you have a rest, catch up on some Daily Mail Showbiz on your phone, or have a cuppa. If you’re going to put anything on the box, make it CBeebies. I will never forget a MGF post about TV and seeing the friend of a CBeebies producer make a comment – the amount of research that goes into CBeebies to pass educational benchmarks is out of this world. So, when CBeebies is on, you are actually enhancing their learning. Remember that!
Aisling blogs at www.mummyontherun.co.uk