I was completely thrown when a friend, who is expecting, asked for my ultimate tip for a new mum. I quickly scanned the memories of the last year in an effort to come up with one advice but there were just too many to choose from. I ended up rambling and saying something like:
You’ll be given lots of advice on every aspect of parenting. If there’s anything you don’t agree with, listen, smile then follow your instincts in your own home.
Back home, I replayed the conversation in my head and thought of different things I could have said as is always the case. Curious as to what other parents would say is their “ultimate” tip, I turned to my fellow bloggers. Nothing beats a good piece of scientific research! The response was overwhelming so this post covers tips for general motherhood survival.
Your Child, Your Rules
In principle, I agree with this sentiment but it is also wise to learn from the experience of other parents. As a new mum, every one is on hand to offer advice and they do mean well but it can be quite overwhelming. I was quite defensive if I held a different view or had already tried the tip on offer but after a few months, I started to just listen, nod, pick the bits I like and move on.
Here’s what other parents thought:
- No matter what you do you’ll be judged, so just be you and do what you think is best. ~ Lylia Rose
- Always trust your gut. Just remember It’s YOUR child, not one from a textbook. ~ Twinderelmo
- Follow your instincts. You know your baby best. ~Raising a Ragamuffin
- Just go with what you feel is right, just because someone else has got some advice for you doesn’t mean you need to either listen or take it, we are all parents and need to respect and support all on this wild adventure called motherhood! ~ Mummy Cat Notes
- At my baby shower I had a jar full of “tips”. The best one I received, live by and pass on is “do it YOUR way”.~Chatty Chronicles
- Don’t compare yourself to other new parents or your baby to other babies!! You will end up giving yourself such a hard time. Everyone & their situations are different, do what works for you & your baby. ~ Sophie’s Nursery
Don’t Fret, You Are Doing Great
There is no ultimate training manual otherwise there wouldn’t be so many baby books out there. Every mum is learning on the job so there will be some mistakes along the way. It is important to admit where things have gone wrong. It shows you care and chances are there is always a way to turn things around. Chances are most things can be fixed along the line.
- My ultimate tip is to do things your own way and don’t beat yourself up parenting isn’t something that can be learnt from a book make mistakes and it makes you a better parent for your next children or for you to pass on to your children when they become parents. ~ Crazy Family Story
- Learn by your own mistakes not anyone else’s. ~ Rock and Roll Pussycat
- Cut yourself some slack & don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing amazing. ~ From Rachael Claire
- A baby shouldn’t be trained to fit society, so hold them close, don’t fret about self soothing and sleeping, be their shelter and don’t rush to medicalise or cure their need for comfort. ~ A Slummy Mummy
- Give yourself a break. No-one is perfect at this and you’re never fully ready. We’re all playing it by ear. Just do the best you can. ~ DadGeek
Look After Yourself
This is so important! I couldn’t bring myself to nap with baby in the first few months as there was always something “better” I could be doing. But it was running me to the ground. Every time I got in the car to drive somewhere, I would be worried about shutting eyes. I finally decided to ignore the mess in the house and nap. I would be that mother who would leave a play group a bit early so I could go home and nap even when I vowed not to let a baby rule my life.
- Be kind to yourself. You need looking after too. Your new bundle absorbs every ounce of your life in the early stages and enjoy every second of that. But remember to listen to your mental and physical needs too. It’s vital that you do so.~My Circle
- Make sure you have me time. I was so scared of losing myself when I became a Mum and the first few months were so hard it made me miss the old me a lot. I still do now sometimes. But having the odd night out, afternoon off, bath in an evening, weekend away on the piss with my football mates helps me get the balance right. Even doing blogging or work is great for giving you a sense of purpose outside of being a Mum. Happy Mum is Happy Baby. ~ A Mum Full of Dreams
- Make decisions based on what is best for the whole family, that includes you! If it makes you miserable then everyone else will be unhappy too! ~ Play Learn Everyday
You are now in charge of this fragile bundle who may end up being covered in rashes, feed one day but not the next, poo lots or not at all and the list goes on. You will have no idea what is a medical issue and what is “normal”. Don’t think you are wasting anyone’s time if you are not comfortable with your current situation. When my little one started losing weight dramatically, professionals gave me every advice under the sun and it turned out he had tongue tie and wasn’t feeding efficiently. I went through several dietary changes, visits to chiropractors but nothing was working. A mum suggested getting him checked out for tongue-tie and our problem was solved. So share your problems as the solution may come from an unexpected source!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, especially from fellow mums. You don’t always have to take their advice but sometimes they can impart a little gem that makes things easier. ~ BattleMum
- Trust your instincts and see a Dr if you’re ever concerned to be sure. ~Just Average Jen
- Always know you’re not alone… in how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. There’s support out there for everyone it just takes some people longer to find it! ~Arepops
- Ask for help if you need it. There are always plenty of willing baby cuddlers around and people who will come and do a bit of tidying up or washing – especially us mums who KNOW what it’s like. ~ Mumzilla
- Question everyone – even professionals get things wrong. ~ The Sensory Seeker
There you have it! Babies, and indeed mothers, are very individual so take every advice with caution and do what is safe for your family and preserves your sanity! There is always support out there – some a bit harder to find – but persevere and you will get there!
I would also like to thank these lovely mums for contributing their thoughts: Kate from Five Little Stars, Jennifer from Mighty Mama Bear, Cheryl from Mummy of 5 Miracles, Emma from Emma Reed, Sophie from Soph-Obsessed , Katy from Katy Kicker, Sally from Teddy Bears and Cardigans, Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes, Pip from Pip Milburn,Katie from Living Life Our Way, Reneé from Mummy Tries, Laura from Life With Baby Kicks, Laura from Autumns Mummy, Kate from Kate On Thin Ice, Christy from Welsh Mum
What is your ultimate tip for general survival of motherhood?