While it’s true that nothing can prepare you for the way your life will change once you have a baby, most mums would jump at the opportunity to go back in time and give themselves a little friendly advice on what to expect.
And while you’ll likely have brushed up on the latest child development books and heard well intentioned (and often conflicting) advice, there’s nothing like hearing the experiences of other women to make you feel supported.
I spoke to a few mums and asked them what they wish they could have told their pre-baby selves, to give you the knowledge you need to make the most of the first months of motherhood.
Trust your gut
Top of the list was trusting your instincts and not being so hard on yourself.
Founder of Stay at Home Mum, Jody Allen notes, “none of us really know what we are doing. But the thing is – there is no one in the world that knows your baby like you do – even though you have just met.
“It’s so important to just believe in yourself and ‘trust your gut’,” she says.
Giving yourself a break from trying to live up to being a ‘perfect mum’ is key, says Jenna Galley, a contributor for website, Mum Central: “You’re allowed to screw up. You’re allowed to make mistakes. The kids turn out just fine!”
Don’t go it alone
Building and learning to lean on your support network is something Jody believes makes being a new mum easier: “Being a new mum can be lonely, boring and monotonous. Make sure you go to your Mother’s Group and just try and get out of the house as much as you can. Every time you go out – it will get easier.”
Jenna agrees: “Relying on others doesn’t make you weaker. Rather than trying to prove you have it all together, be honest from the start. You don’t have to be ‘Supermum’ – that persona is just a myth. You just need to be you, and that is enough, especially when you have so many people wanting to support you – if only you’ll let them.”
Make it easy to take it easy
In the early days, it’s common to go into survival mode or ‘newborn baby lockdown’ and not have the energy or inclination to think about much else besides caring for and loving your new baby. So where possible before the birth, try to organise things like having any emergency numbers in one spot, pre-cooked meals in the freezer and online shopping in place, all of which will make your life easier once your baby arrives.
What you can never be prepared for when welcoming your first child, no matter how many people you’ve spoken to, is the newfound focus on their complete wellbeing – your perspective will change entirely, so having the right arrangements in place to take the stress out of things is key.
That’s especially the case when thinking about the future, and most parents experience an increased urgency around ensuring they have the right insurances in place should anything go wrong – from comprehensive health cover to income protection or life insurance, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve got your family covered can’t be underestimated.
But by the time the bub comes along, that’s about the last thing you’re going to want to think about, so it pays to get everything in order well before your due date.
Don’t miss a moment
It’s often said that the ‘days are long but the years are short’, and Jody agrees “This is so true! Enjoy every second your babies are little. Before you know it, they’ll be in high school and you’ll wonder where all that time went.” Her biggest piece of advice? “Take loads of photos. Especially with YOU in them – trust me, in ten years’ time, you won’t care that you had a bit of a belly or hadn’t brushed your hair…. Those photos are so precious.”
All of the information above should be considered general in nature, and in no way interpreted as financial or legal advice. You should always seek your own independent legal, accounting and financial advice before setting up family tax structure structures or acting on any of the above information.
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