This week my focus of discussion is about being a mother and what this means to me.
With Big T as a baby on our first holiday to Al Ain Zoo, UAE
I do think being a mum in this day and age is a wonderful thing, but it is not without added pressure that simply wasn’t around when I was a baby myself. Of course there was always the unsolicited advice when you were pushing your pram around a park from strangers about what is the right way of doing this or that - and this still happens these days. However now there is the internet and the age of social media to add into the mix. Obviously I am the first to admit I am a fan of social media, I find it a fascinating and wondrous haven of information and inspiration. However, there is the other side of social media which if we aren’t careful, we can get swept away by. The side where you compare yourself to others, where you get bombarded with the “right” thing to do, where you see so-so with their picture perfect baby in their picture perfect house and feel that you aren’t coping as well as them. Comparison is a dangerous but very easy thing to do online.
An Instagram account I follow is called the Feel Good Club (nothing to do with parenting actually) but their focus is on mental health well-being. They posted this amazing advice about the topic of comparison last week and it is full of important information. In short, just don’t compare. You are you. The life they may be posting about online may in fact not be true at all.
So with this added pressure, being a mum these days can feel harder. The most important piece of advice I could offer a new mum is YOU DO YOU. At the end of the day, you know your own body and you know your own baby. I know it’s hard being a first time mum and sometimes you worry about doing the right thing for your baby (this already shows you are being the best mum you can be if you are worrying about it!) and sometimes you need to just trust what your gut is telling you about something.
I am a big believer in doing the research, finding the information, and checking out different bits of advice but at the end of the day, it’s all about what you feel is right for you.
Over 30 weeks pregnant with my first baby
When I became a mum for the first time, I remember feeling so overwhelmed. I had read all the books on pregnancy and tried to research what it meant to be a mum, but until you actually hold your baby in your arms, none of the research makes sense. It counts, don’t get me wrong. It gave me the confidence to make decisions based on the different ideas I had read. But at the end of the day, it’s you who makes those decisions.
Here is me posing with baby in the pram looking pretty confident, when in fact what you can't see is the heavy bags under my eyes through lack of sleep and all the late nights worrying.
This brings me quite neatly onto why I set up Baby Toddler Adventure. Because I was that first time mum, I know exactly what it is like. I would spend hours looking up information to do with a variety of topics and the answers I was looking for were not easy to come by. So all that time I spent stressing and worrying and researching, I could have been relaxing or getting some much needed rest. I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby, so when they started having their own, I wanted to try and help them and make the transition to motherhood a little bit easier. I would offer the advice I had read and experienced and try to support them in any way I could. I even put together a gift box for one of them containing all the things I thought would be actually useful for the baby (and her!). This is where the idea stemmed from. I want to help my “customers” as I would my friends. Give them the support - be it with the resources information section, the content I post on Instagram and write in my blog and also offer some pampering ideas and treats in the form of the gift boxes and items I sell.
An attempt at a family selfie...
Another reason I set up Baby Toddler Adventure is because my children are getting older and for me, I was looking for a new challenge- something which was just mine and allowed me to stretch my brain beyond just being a mummy. For 3 plus years, I was just a mummy. Don’t get me wrong I treasure that time (not every single day as honestly, it was hard and I am only human!) but I don’t regret that time. But before I was a mummy, I was someone who worked and earned my own money. So adjusting to being a full time mummy wasn’t as easy as I imagined it would be. I missed the adult conversation that went with outside work, I missed the challenge of meeting a deadline, a complex project problem which had to be solved or even organizing a budget. In short, the mundane-ness of office life which I actually took for granted when I was doing it!. So for me, this business has been my opportunity to find myself again- outside of simply being mummy. I am absolutely not saying that just being a mummy isn’t enough, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a working mum or a stay at home mum but for me I needed to find a balance. Working or not, I do really believe taking time away from your child and family is actually good for your mental health. I’m talking not just going into the office but in your down time too.
My gorgeous baby boy, only a few weeks old here.
Being a mum is all about noise. I really noticed this the other day. When the children are around, it is just noisy. Even when they themselves aren’t making any noises, the items they are playing with are, or the TV they are watching, or music they are dancing to. I honestly think sometimes this gets just too much. We need some quiet from time to time, to get away from the noise and recharge. I think this is why I find walking through the forest, or sitting by a lake so calming, because the only noise there is the sound of the wind through the trees or the lapping of the water. If our lives are so full of noise all the time, it can get too much and our senses go into overload and we get too stressed and burnt out.
So time away, to find the quiet, is good for us. Be it a solo walk in the fresh air, or even sitting in the next room with a book. We need the quiet and I know I crave the quiet. Something I had never thought about before children and even when I had my first child.
And if you really can’t get time away, if that just isn’t an option for you then make sure you surround yourself with positivity; positive thoughts, positive people, positive Instagram accounts. Life is too short to be bogged down with negativity, it doesn't help anyone least of all you. As much as it’s important to be “real” , it is also just as important to focus on the good and if you are struggling to find any good… well, remind yourself how you are sitting there now even reading this blog! Try writing down at least 3 things you are grateful for, you will soon see that it’s how we think and how we deal with situations that affect how we feel (not necessarily the situation itself). If someone is negative, we can’t change them but we can change how we react to them.
So I think my main points with this week’s blog is to remind you that as a mother, it can be super hard and taxing. It’s not “hard work” like how we perceived “hard work” to be before children. A status update popped up in my Facebook memories the other day of me saying “how tired I was”- and this was before children, and I scoffed because I feel like I couldn’t have really known what tired meant because I didn’t have children then! (Anyone else do this?)
It is not without its rewards though, as tiring as it can be, there is nothing like being a mum. It is a completely unique situation.
I posted this on my Instagram earlier in the week and this certainly resonated with many of you (as it did with me!)
Do you know someone who is about to be a mum, perhaps for the first time? Have you seen the new mama gift box collection? These gift boxes have been especially curated to contain useful but also beautiful gifts for mum or a mum-to-be. I would love it if you could check them out and tell your friends about them.
And remember, as always, I would love to hear your comments on this blog - get in touch via Instagram.
Lastly, YOU'VE GOT THIS!