20 things I would tell my former self about being a mum

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I had never really thought about what it would mean to be a mum, to enter this crazy world called parenthood. Sure, I wanted to be a mum, I knew that much. But I never really thought about the incredible sacrifices, challenges, and emotions it would entail; and the huge amount of energy it would demand of me. I guess if we all thought about these things in advance, the number of people becoming mothers would probably plummet to the earth’s core.

There are so many things I have learnt, so many things I have accepted in my first two years of being a mother. And I feel a much better person, and mother for it. Hindsight can be a wonderful yet cruel thing…if only we had known. But how could we ever? Would I have listened to my own parenting advice? Would I have comprehended if I tried to pass on these nuggets of wisdom to my former self? I can only speculate, but one thing I know for sure, those nuggets would be these:

1. Don’t try to be perfect – The fastest way to come undone as a mother is to try to be perfect. Instead embrace your imperfections, and what they bring to the table.

2. There will be times when you feel like a failure Weekly, daily, hourly, these times will come and come again. Wallow if you must, learn from it, and try to be stronger the next time you fall.

3. People will always try and impose their way of doing things on you – Shut off. Their opinions don’t matter. Walk away and trust in yourself.

4. Sometimes there is nothing you can do – Sometimes you try every combination, every approach, and nothing works. Accept that sometimes there is nothing you can do to change things, it’s out of your control.

5. Take pleasure in the little things – When times are tough, and even when they are not, take pleasure in the small happy moments. Be in the now, forget about what has been or what will happen.

6. Don’t take it personally – Kids can act like assholes. That in turn makes you feel like an asshole too. Don’t take it personally – it’s just the way they are.

7. It’s ok to lose your shit – Sometimes letting yourself unravel is the only way you’re ever going to decompress and move onto the next thing.

8. Know that this too shall pass – No matter how bad things may seem at any given moment of time, you have one thing you can always fall back on, and that is knowing that this too shall pass. And remember, whatever doesn’t break you, makes you.

9. Don’t overanalyse – Unless you want to drive yourself into a deep, dark hole, forget the over analysis, hey even forget the analysis. It doesn’t get you anywhere really, apart from stuck with your knickers firmly twisted around your butt.

10. Trust your instincts – There is a reason why the old adage “Mother knows best” exists. Your instincts are more powerful than any book or advice. Know that and have the courage to stick to it.

11. Everyone else is fumbling around in the dark too – Know that however “together” everyone else seems, that behind closed doors, it’s just the same theme, different variation they are living through. People are very good at making things seem ok, when they are in fact – not. If in doubt, fake it ’til you make it.

12. Don’t compare – Comparison is the root of all evil. While we are all in this motherhood thing together, every child, mother, family and situation is different. Focus on your own. No one size fits all.

13. Always know that you’re doing your best – For that moment, for that stage, you are doing the best you can do. Never feel you are letting anyone down, particularly yourself.

14. Enjoy the rainbows when they come, hold on tight for the shit storms – The highs are high, but the lows can be phenomenally low. Hold on tight for the roller-coaster as it careers from one day to the next.

15. This is the hardest job you’ll ever do – Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Trust that through innumerable challenges and simply mind-boggling times, you will come out stronger, wiser and better for it.

16. Don’t lose yourself – Don’t feel guilty about making time for yourself and your own needs and interests. You need a mental (and physical!) break from this motherhood gig, and you will come back a better parent for it.

17. Don’t lose your relationship – Work, work, work at your relationship. Because this is how everything started, and one day, hopefully all that will be left once the kids pack off.

18. It’s hard for him too – It’s bloody hard being a mother. It’s also bloody hard being a father in many ways different from the ones you count your own.

19. Accept the mother you are – The mother you become may very well be very different from the mother you envisaged yourself as. Accept and make peace with that notion.

20. You are not a failure if you need help – Once upon a time, whole communities raised children, nowadays, the onus is much more on the nuclear family. With less family support, do not be afraid to seek out help and support in any way possible. Go with whatever makes your life easier. You can not be everything to everybody.

What else would you tell your former self about being a mum? Do share in a comment below….

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  1. I would add that you should never, ever begrudge your self some time. However you need it and whenever you can have some. You can still love and care for your children while having a coffee alone. x

  2. Great post, I couldn’t agree more with all of these. My mom always told me early on a lot of these things and I did not listen a lot of the time but it’s definitely sinking in now.

  3. Great advice Talya! But I think if someone had told me those things before I became a mother, I wouldn’t have really understood… we were so innocent then!

  4. The only think I would add is ‘Don’t try to be perfect – you will fail – you’re human with all the fallibility that brings. Love yourself for YOU – you’re doing an amazing job!’

  5. Fabulous post and some great pieces of advice – I agree with all of these, especially accepting the mother that you are rather than berating yourself for not being the mother you imagined you would be. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. Great post! I wish I had read it five years ago!
    I’d add not to feel guilty when you leave your kids to go out to work. The guilt is all consuming and I wish I could just stay with them…but it’s not possible…not if they want to eat and sleep under a roof.
    I’d also go back in time and tell myself not so spend so much money on pretty soft furnishings…They are 100% likely to get covered in puke, snot or in a really unfortunately event…. shit!

    • Yes in fact, funny I am just not thinking about returning to work after going to work, then leaving work because sometimes…you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do! Haha love your comment about the soft furnishings how could I have omitted that lol?!

  7. Fabulous advice to your former self or to any mom! Trust your mom instincts is a huge one! Even when they are irrational, you should go with it. #PicknMix x

  8. Great post. I found myself nodding to all of these. I’d tell myself not to worry so much, especially in the early days. The early years go so quickly and I sometimes feel I spent too much time feeling anxious, guilty, worried etc. Hx #PicknMix

  9. All very true. I really think looking after your relationship is important. We have three kids – our eldest is 8 and our youngest 21/2 and after some tough years I’m suddenly feeling more ‘me’ again, making a bit more time for my husband and our relationship, and it’s a little bit like falling in love with him again. You’re right – that relationship need to be there when the kids grown up. Thought-provoking post (just popping over from Louise’s friday fab five) xx

  10. Wonderful! I particularly like letting go of the parent you thought you’d be! Very difficult, but very true!

  11. I love the one about accepting the mother that you are. I’m not sure what kind of mother I expected to be, to be honest, as I couldn’t really visualise what it would be like until the baby was here. And even then it took a lot of getting used to!

  12. Love this, what a fab post. I’m sure lots of people reading will feel like you are speaking to them, I do! Thanks for linking up to #TheList x (it would be fab if you could add our badge or link back x

    • Oh oops sorry hon I thought I had think some stuff went a bit wayward with my shocking internet connection last week I’ll do it now! x

  13. This is so good. Number 3 rings true for me. As a twin mum — unless the advice is coming from another twin mum — advice isn’t often relevant. I found going with my gut instinct was the best plan! Thanks for linking up to #TwinklyTuesday — much appreciated x

    • Ah thanks lovely. Gut is the number 1! I always curse myself whenever I end up defying it..Thanks as always for hosting x

  14. This is afabulous list, I wish I had read it when I was a mum. First time round everyone thought they knew better than me how I should be doing it. Was hard to stick to my guns.
    I would add to it, me time is vital. For your sanity, and thus for the benifit of everyone else as well.#fartglitter

    • Thanks lovely – could not agree more on the me time. It’s really only something I have grabbed hold of with gusto in the last few months…you feel so guilty for it but really it’s vital to keep your sanity.

  15. Amazing, thanks so much for sharing! I think this will come in handy in the next month (due 8th December) AAHHHH!! : ) I think ‘don’t lose yourself’ is key as it’s quite easy to get swept up in every day tasks and forget to take a moment and BE YOU.

  16. These are things I still often need to remind myself of. I hate being out of control and not being able to fix the problem. Guess that’s parenting though. Still makes me want to scream.
    Thanks so much for linking up to #fartglitter x

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