When you look back on how you thought parenthood would be before you had the baby, is that how it has turned out? What words would you have used back then when you looked forward to the days ahead as a new parent? Would they be things like, ‘happy’ ‘fun’, ‘not perfect, but good’, ‘togetherness’, ‘tired for the first bit, but ok’ ‘sorted’ ‘confident’ ‘fulfilled’. If that is how you are feeling now, then stop reading this blog! If, however, you don’t quite feel like that, then this is for you!!!!
Being a parent doesn't come with a manual
Being a parent sadly doesn’t come with a manual. If it did, that would make it a whole heap easier. However, just think how big the manual would be! I wonder how many of us would bother reading it!!!! It’s funny, isn’t it? Everything is fine as a parent until just one day, it isn’t. You can’t put your finger on it, you can’t really work out why, but you seem to spend all day tidying up, sorting other people’s mess, feeling under-confident, incapable, lonely, bored and just downright sad and at times you probably don’t like your partner much either. There’s nothing actually wrong, but you just feel a bit rubbish!
Then you stop and look at your child. They are so special, but at times perhaps you feel that you actually don’t like them much and you wish you were back at work, as you were before the baby came… then the guilt comes again and of course, you can’t mention this to anyone, because they are leading that perfect life with their perfect children and perfect relationships in their perfect houses!
Ok so here’s the thing… all the above is TOTALLY normal! You are actually NOT ALONE! We have all felt it, it is just that no one tells you about it (until their children are much older and they talk about this time you are currently in with real honesty!)
So here is my advice for what it’s worth.
- Put your baby down somewhere safe with a toy. Make a cup of tea and sit down alone and read this. Your baby will be fine with a toy for 5 minutes and you will feel better for the break.
- Your housework can wait. Your partner can help you do it. Or why not call another baby friend and ask them over, tell them that your house is in a horrible mess while you are on the phone and start tidying up while they are there, I am pretty certain they will start doing the dishes for you if they are a real friend! You can chat as you work, and the babies can play! (One day, you can do the same for them!)
- The feeling underconfident, feeling incapable thing needs to stop. It is amazing how this one breeds! So, if you hear yourself saying things that you wouldn’t have said before you had a baby, talk to the voices and tell them to go away! You are brilliant, you are enough, you have been through a MEGA thing by having a baby, and you have come out of the other side. You may have stretch marks, bumps and cuts and scars to prove it, but you also have an amazing baby…. You are BRILLIANT! (If the talking to the voices doesn’t work, then try putting your big girl pants on and taking a big breath and doing the things that you are worried about anyway. Often, giving it a go works out better than you thought it would do!)
- Feeling lonely is so horrible. Personally, I find it totally draining when I feel lonely and it also helps me breed the insecurity! SO, if it hits, find something to do, it might be gardening if that lights your fire (get your baby to help you), or even better, do it alone while they are asleep. Do some yoga, breathe. Go for a walk and decide to say hello to everyone you meet. See how many people say hello back to you! Go to the library, borrow a book and talk to the librarian. They love to chat with you ask for a recommendation about which books to borrow! Phone a friend, arrange to meet. The chances are, they are wandering around their house wondering what to do with their baby too!
- When you have a baby, it is tough for both you and your partner. Your world has changed totally, but their world has changed too, if only that they have less time with you! It really helps to talk to your partner. Try to calmly tell them how you feel. Try not to blame them, try rather, to talk gently. Use ‘we’ rather than ‘you’ and remember to ask them how they are feeling. You might be surprised by what they tell you. Do make sure that you have got across the things that you need to say.
- Are you finding having a baby is a bit monotonous? That is normal, especially in the early days. It can be really dull. One of the hardest things to do is to come up with new and different things to do. All you want is someone to tell you what to do! Well… the Oliiki app does just that. Each day it gives you new activities to do with your baby from the day it is conceived to their second birthday. That is over 1000 different activities! In fact, the activities in the app also work as a kind of manual, one that helps you understand how to play, how to talk to your baby, how to set routines, how to manage their tantrums and divert the more difficult behaviours. So, if you want that manual, that is delivered to you in bite-sized chunks, then perhaps it might be worth downloading the Oliiki app and giving it a go.
Once you put all these things in place, you might find that things get a bit better. They may not be that perfect rosy glow that you initially imagined being a parent would be, but hopefully, you might be a few steps closer to a lovely place. You will certainly be helping to develop your child and more than probably, helping make you happier in the process too!