Mothers on Mothering…

A fortnightly series featuring real words from real mummies…

This week, in its inaugural outing, me….!

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My little Munchkin is…just celebrating her first birthday. She is the happiest, smiley-est little thing I’ve ever come across, and she makes me laugh every single day.

Birth was…an unplanned C-Section from a reluctant induction after going three weeks over my due date.  It was not what I had wanted or planned for, and we are all still making a careful peace with it. Cranial osteopathy was a massive help though, for both of us. 

No-one ever tells you that…in those early days you will secretly wish you could just go back to work where life was simpler.

I couldn’t have survived the first three months without…my mother. And the friends I made and the copious amounts of coffee we drank and complaining we did.

I wish I’d known before that…it really truly would get better, and better, and better. And that it all really would be ok.

It used to drive me mad when people said: “Sometimes you just need to be tough with them or you’ll make a rod for your own back. She’s manipulating you.” (She’s five weeks old! She doesn’t know what her nose is, how could she possibly have developed enough Machiavellian tendencies to manipulate a fully-grown adult?!)

The best present anyone gave me was….Neal’s Yard Mother’s Bath Oil. So thoughtful, and so useful and so genuinely soothing. Bathtimes when Munchkin was asleep or someone else was with her became sacrosanct.

Our first holiday was…so much better than I expected it to be. Munchkin was three months old and we went to Portugal and somehow everything just seemed easier. And stayed that way when we got back.

The most important that I’ve learnt is…your sanity is the only thing that matters. If you’re sane, you can look after your baby. If you’re not, you can’t. So, whatever gets you through, however much the books tell you not to do it. Do it anyway. It won’t create bad habits, but it will make both of you happier.

I wish…women had an easier time of it now. There is too much advice out there and too much over-reactionary ‘guidelines’. Motherly instinct is the most powerful thing women have, and yet they don’t trust themselves to use it anymore, which makes me very sad.

Motherhood is…the most amazing, life-affirming, fear-inducing, strange, difficult and wonderful thing I have ever done.

Work is...not as important as it once was. But also, a vital lifeline to the person I used to be. It’s a difficult balance. I’m still working it out. 

I want my children to know that…it’s ok to be a geek, or to have strong opinions, or to be shy, or to be alternative. Being yourself is so important. We need all these different people in the world, and they all have their part to play.   

CountryMunchkin

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