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5 Things Not to Say to a Sleep-Deprived New Mama

Here are five things that have been said to me, or are continually said to me and just bum me out! I have provided a tip for what to do instead…
  1. When my baby was young I just “got on with it” (oh, I didn’t think of that?!) – now is the time to sympathize.
  2. He’s just a baby (really?!) – let them have a wee vent, see above.
  3. Have you tried…x y z… – assume they know their baby and they have tried it or know that it doesn’t work for their baby in that moment.
  4. I did…x y z…with multiple babies and it worked – just because it worked on yours, doesn’t mean it is “right” or going to work on any other baby.
  5. He’s hungry – not every cry is due to hunger! Just refrain from commenting when the baby is crying.
I have learnt three immutable truths in child raising:
  1. No baby is the same. No mama is the same. No time is the same. Things change from person to person and generation to generation. There are also multiple factors in every outcome. One single component, does not generate a whole, happy, healthy, well-adjusted person.
  2. Mamas get tired. Even at six months old babies don’t always sleep very well in the night time.
  3. Mamas know their baby best.
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Jobs

Being a mother is a job. A challenging, exhausting, 24/7 job that pays only in smiles.

My baby is 9.5 weeks old and I have been asked many times already if I am back at work yet! It’s also been assumed many times that, because I work from home, I don’t need childcare.
I’d like to set two things straight. First, work at home is still work. Second, the baby needs so much care there is no way I could get any work done.

My baby sleeps very little during the day. If he does sleep it is in my arms or in the pushchair – continually being pushed. In the night I am still being woken every three hours for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time, if I’m lucky. If not, like last night, we barely slept from 1am.

I’d like to encourage mums to stand up for themselves. As the amount of pressure I’ve already begun facing is huge. And I already have chronic pain and fatigue to deal with.

It will get worse. No wonder there is a vast (and growing) number of women dealing with chronic fatigue and other lifestyle related illnesses.

I will be trying to fight for balance. But gosh it is hard! In a world simultaneously dealing with increasing lifestyle related illness and increasing expectations – how have we not learnt? And how do we expect mums with tiny babies to be doing double shift? Even if the child is at daycare during work hours, the woman is still working two jobs!

So, mums, please fight for yourselves. Dads, please care for the mother of your children and help them to balance the responsibilities wisely. Families, support your mums and help them fight for balance. Let’s fight for new norms!