As I write this blog, my very active eleven month old lays sleeping in his crib. Half of my kitchen utensils are strewed around the kitchen floor. Before he was born, everything had its rightful place, but now everything gets shoved back into any draw or cupboard that will have them. My son delights in finding new treasures in the kitchen it’s his favourite exploring place. His little face lights up when he spies something he’s never seen or even better when it’s something he’s never usually allowed to have.
I find myself absolutely savouring the moments when he’s asleep, as it’s time to gather myself and catch my breath. In my pursuit to recreate some sort of equilibrium I am trying something new. Instead of rushing around like some frantic lunatic I am actually sitting down! The very act of sitting is in itself very testing, but I am determined to give it a go and just bask amongst the chaos. Because something has to give, I cannot carry on burning the candle at both ends. I am trying to change a behaviour, an innate need for order in the refuge that is home. I know that I must do this as a rested mom is a happier mom, and I want to be in the moment for my son. Soon my son will beckon me to his crib and be raring to go once again. But this time it’s gonna be different, because I am rested and ready!
Coming home with a new baby is a whirlwind and if it’s your first baby it’s also a massive learning curve.
In the first few weeks visitors flow in and out, and each day is filled with the excitement of having a new baby – the adrenaline flows. Once you are left alone with your baby, you may initially feel a sense of isolation creeping in. For me, the first few weeks after my mom left and my husband went back to work were the toughest. Not only are you exhausted from being a new mom, but you are still such a newby, trying to navigate your way through the new mom world. I found toward the end of my sons second month I really began to get into the groove. I learned to embrace my new role and gave into the emotions that I felt. I just went with the overwhelming need to hunker down and nest. The need was so primal in fact that I decided to completely go with it and embrace it. For two months we barley went outside . I absolutely loved this time, as it gave my son and I time and space to bond – I treasured every moment.
when I look back at those early days I am so glad that we were able to have this time. After all there is a whole lifetime ahead for my son to orientate himself in the world, why rush anything, as time is so very fleeting in the early years and they don’t stay little for long.
Aloysius Snuffleupagus is a character from the popular children’s show Sesame Street. He is a wooly mammoth with a long trunk or ‘snuffle’.
My ten month old has bogies of gargantuous proportions. I am talking full on blocked up nostrils. It’s what I now fondly refer to as the snuffleupaguses! Just like the beloved character from Sesame Street. Try as I may I just can’t seem to keep his snuffleupaguses at bay. Regular dousings with nasal drops, bathing and fresh air cannot seem to budge them. They take on an identity all of their own, lurking their in his little dark crevices we know as nostrils. I often think they have taken up permanent residence in there, until at last they emerge and my son takes a rest from scratching frantically at his nose, only for another to shortly reappear. My husband has considered mounting them, so that they may be displayed for all to see. Like The wall of Gaylord from the movie Meet The Fockers. Only ours would be the wall of Baby bogies. Now I don’t want to wish any time away, cause every moment with my son is precious, but it will be such a relief when my son can remove his bogies on his own accord, and rid himself once and for all of his snuffleupaguses.
There is a plethora of information available to us now at the touch of a button. Remember back in the day when we would scroll through phone books or pick through piles dog eared books to find the information we were looking for. Nowadays we just pop our questions into the search engine and voila! We have what we are looking for right there, and often much more information than needed.
Being a parent, often brings up all sorts of questions. We are so lucky to have all the information we need right at hand, or are we? Sometimes the information available to us can be as much a burden as a help, because there is so much of it. Let me give you an example of this. Two months ago my son started on solids. Pretty straight forward I thought to myself- introduce things gradually over a period of time. Then I started researching on the internet. Boy was I wrong – not so simple apparently. There was so much conflicting information on how this process should be undertaken I found myself feeling swirly headed and much more confused than when I started. I have found myself feeling overwhelmed many a time when cyber researching various questions about my baby. There is however you’ll be pleased to know a way to avoid getting cyber zapped. I have found these techniques to be very useful and hope you do too. Firstly be very specific when doing a search online. Limit the number of websites that you look at – be choosy. Only look at websites that come from a reputable source. Once you have collected all the information you need, write some notes and then check through it to see what you have. Lastly use only information that you feel comfortable with. If there is one thing I have learned, its that parenting is a highly individual process for both you and your child. I always say to myself, wait ! parents didn’t have all this information hundreds of years a go and they managed to raise their children none the less. My gut feelings and instinct are two things I feel much more tuned into since being a parent, and both help me guide my way through the cyber yikes!
It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I finally realised what incredibly hard work it is being a parent. No one can actually prepare you for it, you just have to experience it yourself first hand. But it got me to thinking about the way in which we as a society value stay at home parents. You never hear anyone say oh and do you know, she was a stay at home mom! What an incredibly important job.
In my life I have had an abundance of jobs, I consider myself a jack of all trades. I have worked in many different fields and with many different people. Some of which were good and some not so good. Being a parent is by far the most rewarding and all-consuming job I have ever had. Being a good parent is so important to the mental and physical health of our children, through good parenting we hope to guide and equip our children with the necessary tools to navigate their way through our wonderful and sometimes complex world. Without guided parenting children often grow into adults with little knowledge to navigate the world, often becoming confused and lost – without sense of self or place. We as parents collectively shape the next generation within our society – what more important work is there than this? Just because there is no monetary value attached to parenting, western societies view of stay at home parents has become greatly under valued.
So I say it’s time to break the stigma, lets all begin collectively to give stay at home parents the recognition that they deserve. Let us make sure they know how truly valued they are and how vitally important they are to helping to mould future generations. After all well raised children are the very foundation from which our society is built.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I found myself wishing the days away my restless legs and lack of sleep had driven me to distraction, it’s time I thought to myself let’s get the show on the road!
What I hadn’t bargained for after the birth of my son was the overwhelming sense of separation anxiety I experienced. Suddenly my son was no longer protected and tucked away from harms reach inside my womb, but let out into the world – and so it begins I remember thinking to myself. For the first time in my life I actually had an understanding of what it must have truly felt like for my own mom.
When we returned home all I had wanted to do was nest, again the feeling was so overwhelming it surprised me. I had never imagined it would be like that. In hindsight I believe what I was feeling was truly instinctual,it seemed to come somewhere deep inside of me. I remember thinking to myself how wonderful , that millions upon millions of women from all walks of life and spanning all the historical eras may have experienced emotions just like these. I found great comfort in this thought and it made me feel very connected to other moms. Once I had figured this out, it seemed to create space for me and my baby to truly be in the moment and fully embrace these feelings. My son was born in the winter and so for three months we literally hunkered down and nested, going out very little and enjoying every moment, even the fretful ones!
I find it amazing that there is such an abundance if information out there on how to care for your child, but very little on the emotions that are associated with having a child. We as a society seemed to be obsessed with knowing everything down to the last detail. Very few people talk about using your instinct and following your heart, yet as human beings these instincts come from the very foundations on which we are created or built-whatever your view.
I truly hope that women are lucky enough to recognize the new emotions they feel after giving birth, and to fully embrace them so that they can enjoy every moment.
As I write this my husband, is sat on the sofa, feet up with drooping eyelids. An avid soccer player and lover of all sports his whole life, but even the World Cup can’t keep my man awake these days.
Being a parent is the most wonderful experience I believe any of us can have, but it is without a doubt the most exhausting thing I have ever done in my life. Our son all of eight months, has been rocked to sleep since he was born, and of course as we know early habits stick. Now though, we have started sleep training in the hope that he will learn to self sooth – he is no longer interested in being rocked to sleep and even the favoured stroller is losing its appeal. Who knew that getting to sleep would be so difficult for many babies. I have discovered that with parenting very early on, there is a need to let go of the reigns even at this early stage. We try so hard to do the right things for our children, that we often forget to simply let our children be In order to learn. I am not suggesting of course that we leave our children to their own devices, mearley that we have to create structure and instil security early on, so that children can adapt quickly to changes that we as parents put into place. I have now got over the need to run to our sons side at the slightest murmur. I know that guiding him along the path to self soothing will benefit him in the long run, after all sleep and good sleep habits are so valuable to our growing babies as they move into toddlerhood and beyond.