Here are a couple of thoughts that have been on my mind for awhile. And when I say awhile I mean almost two years since I first became a mother. Perhaps it’s because I want to let them go, or to have a formal record to refer to when I have my next one, but here goes…
1. Feel safe
This is not the time to be packing up your belongings and moving homes (both things I did). You life is about to undergo a major change and this is when you need to feel the most secure and settled. Get your nursery together, build up your space, fluff those nesting feathers because you will need a solid anchor when everything is in a whirl.
2. Don’t buy into it all
When you are expecting your first child, everyone and their mother will be trying to sell you stuff. You do not need all of these things and I made a conscious effort to be as pragmatic as possible (maybe a bit too much, which I will address later). Be a smart shopper and read the reviews. At the beginning all they need are the basics and you.
3. Also get what you want
Having said the above, I do wish that I had allowed myself a couple more luxuries. People will be telling you that you will have too much after your baby showers but you know what, buy those onesies in the 0-3 size. Do what you need to do to feel prepared. That is the one thing you owe to yourself.
4. Things will change
I am seriously the person who wants to buy a Christmas ornament organizer. I want to wrap all of the little pieces in tissue and gently place them in the square boxes. I like control and when things go awry, I get frazzled, even if I pretend to be zen. When my son arrived 2 weeks early, I was thrown off base and didn’t recover for awhile. I was suddenly thrown into a new territory where my independence was gone and I was responsible for someone other than myself. It was scary but the love that I feel for him is something I feel for no one else.
5. Take comfort in the good and cut out the filler
No matter what your support system is like you will always have the worrywart who makes you question your parenting methods. Really, who needs a parrot on your shoulder echoing your own insecurities? Not me. Next time, I will tune out this chatter and draw from the good stuff. My aunt used to write me emails saying that my son was growing so much and that I was doing a good job. That is the good stuff.
6. Be gentle to yourself
Having had no younger siblings, I really had no idea what I was doing initially. Sure, I was a camp counsellor and babysat the neighbour’s kids but the youngest was a solid four year old, not a wriggling, delicate newborn. Be kind to yourself in spite of your doubts because we all struggle when we’re making our way. Make a conscious effort to take care of yourself.
The best part of it all? All of it: the sleepless nights, teething, night training and fits, they all pass. And in the end, I truly believe that your kids are the most fascinating people you are lucky enough to know.