1. Do stuff your face with the food you feel like, especially in those first few months post-birth. It’s hard enough getting up a million times a night to feed your baby as well as having to keep yourself awake by day with only Jeremy Kyle for company, to then not eat what you fancy. Sure, be healthy but if your body tells you need a chocolate Krispy Kreme who are you to argue?
2. Motherhood, especially the early days and weeks can be lonely times for many women. Partners are often back at work and the sudden realisation that you’re the Mummy in the room can be a baffling time for most.
So next time you’re at a postnatal class or even popping for a coffee at your local coffee shop, however bad you’re feeling, smile and start a conversation with another mummy. Try to be open and friendly.
No one can ever have too many mummy friends and the mum who sits there quietly in the corner, might be the one most in need of a mate.
Now is the time for female solidarity if ever there was one and those early friendships are vital to support, share and most of all, laugh together. Go on, make a new friend today.
3. Always thank friends and family who have sent presents and flowers to mark the arrival of your little one. Once you are up on your feet and feeling well again, sending cute thank you cards shows real appreciation rather than an emailed thank you. I made relatively inexpensive postcards of my boy with a thank you note to send to friends and family. Don’t forget your manners just because you’ve had a baby.
4. Additionally, you should always send flowers or a present within a few days of friends or relatives having newborns.
Childbirth is a big deal as you know and it’s good etiquette to acknowledge this. It goes without saying that when you visit the new parents in hospital or at home, not to forget the basics, to congratulate the happy couple and I mean both of them. I saw first hand my hubby being ignored and it really isn’t fair-Dads did do half the work too you know (OK not half, a 1/3 maybe!) but they should share in the praise.
5. Don’t compare yourself to those crazy mums whose bodies snap back into shape the minute they leave the delivery suite. For most women it takes at least 9 months to look remotely similar to the women they once were, even if it means being surgically attached to your Spanx from now on and forever more.
6. Don’t compare your baby with your friends’ little ones. Be sensitive to the fact that everyone’s baby develops at their own pace. Yes little Frankie might be playing Beethoven at 10 months old and yours can barely utter a B sound but they all grow up eventually and who wants to hear that classical music banging on all day long anyway!
7. Talk about other things, not just your baby. Yes we know your baby’s beautiful and destined for uni aged 7 but nobody, mother or not, wants to hear about your little Suzi 24/7. Ditto with your single/non parent friends.
After an initial catch up about your child, take the opportunity to engage in other subjects from current affairs to celebrity gossip and even soap operas if you have to. Enough about weaning and baby poo already. I get plenty of that at home to hear it at play dates and on my time out.
8. STOP WITH THE GUILT all the time. I’m Greek, we invented guilt but us mothers have made it into an art form. It’s OK to want to have a life as well as being a Mum, to want to socialise, be the girl you once were, go away alone with your husband, eat at that expensive restaurant you used to love every once in a while, dance to MTV Base like you just don’t care, change careers/hair colour/partners (lol!) etc etc. Motherhood’s not a prison sentence so you shouldn’t feel bad about wanting other things in your life as well as your little one, to make you happy.
9. Try and do something just for you at least once a week. That could mean going to the toilet and actually reading a magazine on there rather than having two little hands tugging at your legs, or who knows, throw caution to the wind and enjoy a relaxing bath. Those of you who are serious about ‘you time’, which you should be, should go book yourself a pedicure, a blow dry and a night out ideally in that order. Yes I said it. YOU TIME. Now go have some.
10. When family and friends, (providing they don’t have criminal records, drink and/or drug problems) offer to help you with childcare so you can have the above ‘you time’ say ‘yes please and thank you’. Now let’s all practice: ‘Yes please’, ‘thank you’.
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