Friday, December 04, 2015

Parenting: The Good, The Bad & The Crazy

From the first moment I saw those lines on the test, I was officially a Mum. From that moment, I was already in love with this unknown little person and that love only grew stronger and stronger through every scan, every kick, every reassuring little flutter. I knew that I had this amazing little person to care for, for the rest of my life. Exciting, beautiful and utterly terrifying. 

Along with the love, unsurprisingly comes the worry, the crisis of confidence. The two things go hand in hand. When you love and care for something so much it's only natural to worry a little, or a lot about whats to come. Am I good enough? Can I cope? Will they love me? Yes, Yes and Yes.

For some reason I felt pretty confident in my ability to be a mother, despite the fact I didn't have the foggiest idea what to do with a baby (this way up?), it all fell into place. My confidence lapsed in front of certain people and in certain situations, but my instincts were so strong I just knew they had to be right. It took me a while to show it on the outside, but it was there. The biggest struggle for me is when the children get poorly, it worries me to the point of tears, it's so hard to watch your baby of any age suffer and always worth seeking advice if you have the smallest of concerns. It's seeking that help and advice that takes confidence, but also reinforces it. Have faith in your instincts and decisions.

Research by Neurofen shows that it takes around six months for the average parent to feel confident in their parenting abilities and I would say this to be true for me too, in public at least. That first few months I was happy with my mothering skills but terrified of the outside world and scared of showing my confidence with my son in case I was doing something wrong - stupid I know. I hid away until breastfeeding, nappy changes and screaming babies became more manageable! Second time round, I was confident from the start, it all came flooding back, but during my second pregnancy I worried a lot more than the first. The main reason for my worry was that having been through it all once, I knew how precious babies are and how much love I would feel, so there was more pressure to get it all right. I felt like I was so lucky first time round that I couldn't possibly be so lucky again, how wrong I was. How very lucky I am.

As a parent, you need to throw everything you think you know straight out of the window. I loved my NCT lessons, but so much of what I learnt became irrelevant once I was faced with a baby suffering from colic, reflux and a bad case of separation anxiety, which I think we both had. I quit my job for fear of leaving baby and dwindling finances on nursery costs, I looked and felt like a different person and as much as friends dropped away like flies, I made new ones, ones that understood the new me. Always surround yourself with people that make you happy, believe in you and want only the very best for you. Life is far too short for negativity!

The main thing to remember as a parent, is to go with your instincts, listen to your mind (and heart) and go with your gut. Your baby is a part of you and you know best. Have the confidence to say no to others, never do anything that doesn't make you happy and don't be afraid of what others will think or say. Find your inner voice and shout it loud. Nothing is as important as the new little life you have created, so always be confident in your choices and abilities.

We all make mistakes at times, but try not to think of them as mistakes, it's all about learning and every single baby is completely different. All children need different things and you never know what their personality and loves will be like, so just go with the flow and tackle each day as it comes.

Visiting play groups and Children's Centres are brilliant for baby as well as parents. They give us a much needed change of scene and time out, but also give us the opportunity to be around others in a similar boat, this does wonders for your confidence when you hear others stories, see others who also struggle at times, cry, laugh and try their best. Whatever you are going through, you can bet that other parents have been through the same, brave those groups, get chatting and always ask for help when you need it, you will always be glad you did. If chatting isn't your thing, then simply enjoy the tea and cake. Cake is our friend.

As your babies grow into toddlers, you experience some real fun. There will be meltdowns in shops, tearful strops, embarrassing moments like at play group when it was my sons turn to pick an animal in Old MacDonald and instead of singing cat or cow, he shouted (in the silent room) 'WANK!'. Those mortifying moments are funny to look back on though and with every bad there are a million goods to balance it out. Take pictures like a proud paparazzi and write down everything so you don't forget.

Every parent goes through good and bad times, it's all very normal and helps us grow.

When you catch yourself in the mirror covered in stickers, food, panda eyed and pyjamas, you can only laugh. These are the good times. Who needs 'perfection' and does it even exist?

My biggest bit of advice to boost your confidence and enjoy your journey through parenthood is to find happiness in every day, have fun, smile always and never let others bring you down. You are the best parent because you are you and your children will love you for all that you are, the good, the bad and the burnt toast.

Enjoy your children and make the most of all those silly messy moments; the muddy puddles, the supermarket screams and those stressed last minute runs to school. These days fly by so quickly! Before we know it, they'll be off starting their own journey.

Thanks for reading,


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I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to blog about a specified subject or review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have been entered into a prize draw to win a £100 voucher as a token of thanks for this post.