Mumma knows best
Full Disclaimer: I love my kid to the moon and back and hope I'm blessed enough to have another (in the distant future). All the irrational tanties and the crazy shit you end up doing as a mum is totally worth it for that beautiful smile or that rare cuddle. This though does not mean that you can’t bitch and moan about it once in a while. I mean, the Internet would be so empty and broken without parents having a rant. So in honour of that, here’s my two cents.
I have a 19-month old (or 83-week old) and here are ten things that I have learnt/concluded thus far as a Mumma:
For some pathetic reason, you keep referring to your kid’s age by months and/or weeks. Even though you found it super annoying when other parents did it pre-bub. 83 divided by 4: okay let’s see, you carry the…umm, what’s that in years?
My motto regarding parenting has always been it’s as easy or as hard as you make it…that was until Little Miss hit the terrible twos or the age of defiance (yes, definitely a thing!) early. Now my motto has changed slightly to whatever the eff works!
Don’t be one of those new mums; you know the ones – always educating others on what they should and shouldn't be doing according to Save Our Sleep...No! Don’t do it. I was very conscious not to be like that, but I'm sure I pissed a few mums off. I didn't, however, realise how annoying it would be until one preached to me about how I should be wiping my child’s arse or that the moisturiser I was using wasn't the best on the market. To that, I smile and say okay Miss 2-min mum, keep walking – inside voice, of course.
When I was organising my wedding, I quickly worked out what a huge industry it was. It’s good to be in the wedding business; people are making millions, I thought. Well, weddings’ got nothin’ on babies! It’s a whole other world, it’s like comparing Jupiter to Earth. A total game changer! While I was pregnant, I read about all the different things I needed to get in order to welcome the baby. As if somehow by getting all that crap, I will be equipped to be a better mother. Friends and family were all like and don’t forget…I was compelled to make a list. I call it The Ridiculously Materialistic New Baby Checklist (of course, this name was given in hindsight – it’s always 20/20!). Here’s a Hot Tip: Don’t let them swindle you! In some countries, a goat is left to babysit while the parents work in fields. Please don’t try this at home as it’s completely illegal in most other counties. I'm merely saying that babies are resilient, they will make do with the basics.
There’s always going to be someone telling you that you’re doing it wrong. You should have tried breastfeeding for a bit longer; breast is best; formula causes eczema; they shouldn’t be having a bottle at this age; oh you're using a dummy?!?!; why aren't you using a dummy?!?!; that’s a strict schedule – fun police much; my child has freedom unlike yours; my kids grew up on junk food and they turned out alright; what’s baby led weaning, seems like a choking hazard; too small; too big; too cold; too hot…You know what buddy, shut the eff up!! You had your turn now let me have mine.
While I was on maternity leave, I was on the phone with my boss deciding whether I should come back early. Jase, I have these visions of my 23-year old babysitting on some comfy couch telling a random shrink that her Mumma messed her up. Jason said with a laugh, Nawsheen, that is going to happen regardless of what you do. So why don’t you take the rest of your leave and enjoy those precious moments? You will never get them back. Your baby will only be a baby for so long. As for work, work is work, and it will always be here. I don’t think he realises how much that conversation meant to me. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.
I called bullshit on Work-Life Balance a while ago, but now I have changed my strategy and using it to my full advantage. It’s not about cheating the system or slacking off, it’s there to help, and there is nothing wrong with asking for some help from time to time. Work from home once in a while or work back a few hours to take the following morning off. Once every couple of months, I take a Mental Health Day. It’s a day just for me. I reflect, I check-in with myself, de-stress and re-coop. Mental Hygiene is a thing!
I live by a few non-negotiables. Whether it’s at work, home or regarding relationships; they have always served me well. For example, I will not hang around the office for the sake of it. I will do my 9 to 5 and be extremely productive. At home, I will not mow the lawn because I'm un-co and very much value each and every part of my body and ideally would like to keep them all. Regarding relationships, there’s no second chance for cheaters oh and I’m going to take the Golf, Frank. So naturally, I had my non-negotiables for the baby too. Actually, there were just three a) no faces on social media; b) limited screen time; and c) no co-sleeping EVER! Well, guess who has one leg propped up on the laptop while taking up ¾ of the bed? Yep, the baby! Again, it just keeps coming back to whatever the eff works!
On the topic of sex…The End! But seriously, Date Nights matter.
Growing up, I have always found it extremely difficult to say no. It’s always yes, of course, it’s okay that you’re running an hour late, I'm fine to wait even though I turned up 10 mins early, so you didn't have to wait for me. Yes, of course I have time to listen to you talk about all the men that are pining for you. Yes, of course, I will make an effort to come and see you every weekend, it’s not like they are the only two days I have to get all my shit done. NO! My husband has been training me for a decade, and now it’s like a reflex. Sometimes I decline out of habit, and I love it! I'm not saying that you should become a recluse, just that it’s okay to say no to buy you some time and not feel guilty about it.