Six things I’ve learnt since becoming a mum of two
One - same but different
No two children are the same. I mean, I’m not dumb, I knew this. But at the same time I really, really didn’t. I don’t know why but in my head F would be a small version of H. If I applied the same things I’d learnt with H then baby 2 would be easy, right?!
Wrong, each child is completely different from the size + shape we previously had a bean pole with chubby cheeks, long fingers and big feet who liked to talk from day one to this time round a little rotund bubs with more rolls than Greggs and dainty little fingers + toes, quizzical eyes and a big gapey smile. They don’t sleep the same, act the same, eat the same or in fact do anything the same. There was a moment when I convinced myself their eyes where the same colour blue * I was just grasping!!
I have two happy daughters who just like and need things slightly differently and that’s ok. I can work with that now I know
Emma with both her daughters wearing the Cub and Adventurer sun hats in Panda Pop
Two, don't forget your life jacket
PND comes in many forms. Previously, I was very sad and it was *quite obvious what was happening. I didn’t expect it third time round, I’d worked hard to prevent it. This time I was angry not sad. Angry that I was not keeping up and letting people down. It was less obvious until it was very obvious.
PND isn’t a reflection of how good a mum you are. It’s just something that can happen. In fact it happens to 1 in 5 mums. The same things that helped it go away before, help again. Talking, walking, getting outside into the fresh air. Essentially putting on your own life jacket first. If I’m ok, everything else runs much more smoothly and everyone is much happier.
*not to me but to others
Three, perfection is over-rated
Something has to give. The saying one is one and two is a football team is true. The careful routine/balance you’d established before has its rule book ripped up and you find a new balance. During this time at least one thing has to give a little (read a lot) until you’re back on an even keel. In our case it’s the tidying. In another world and another time I’d have a cleaner. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours to keep it all tidy when you have a baby that wakes if an ant sneezes. For now I continue to try my best and use the TOMM method but I also recognise that a tidy house versus us all getting out and going to the park is never going to win (not for the first year at least)
Four, get up and go is easier
My ‘go’ bag is much lighter second time round. With H every trip, even to the corner shop I packed for every eventuality like an American conspiracy theorist. Second time round it’s essentials only (nappies, wipes, portable change mat, outfit change x2, toy x2) that’s it. My back thanks me for it on the regular. Some days if I travel further afield I take more - but mainly that's my big Etta Loves muslin if I know I might need to create shade, blanket, whip up an emergency outfit. First time round the size of my bag was definitely a reflection of my mind and how underprepared I felt in general to be in charge of my twinkley eyed babs. Second time I know even in Norfolk you’ve never far from a shop if a ‘poohnami’ hits and you need an extra anything
Five, feeding is more divisive than inclusive
Four years on and breast-feeding attitudes haven’t changed that much towards women. Bottle feeders still feel pitted against BF and both are subject to judgement. I’m lucky I live in an accepting city but I have been on the receiving end of ‘tuts’ and the kinda of looks from men + women that make you want to pull your babe in even closer and protect them. It’s 2019, kids gotta eat, why is this non-issue still an issue.
Six, I can be mum and me
I’m still me. I have less hair (thanks postpartum), a few more lines around my eyes and I answer to mama much more these days but I am still Emma. Sometimes I have to dig a little deeper on those really tired days to find her but she’s there. She just pops up in different ways, ways that I can also enjoy with my kids. The clubber in me who loves a dance was in her element on holiday being the first up dancing with a live band, twisting + turning and laughing loudly. The person who loves to create has a willing partner in crime everyday and my inner fashionista is loving having two girls with a penchant for shiny things + jewellery. And it’s ok to take the time out and just be on my own for a little bit everyday...whether it’s a ten minute shower blasting out my favourite song or an actual run. I’m still here I’m a mum and I’m also still just me.
I would love to know what you’ve learnt since becoming a parent. Does the above sound familiar or has your experience been completely different?
On another note if anything in number two about PND felt relatable there are some wonderful places you can find help. Start with your doctor or health visitor but you can also look for places likes Pandas can help anywhere in the UK or if you are East Anglia based the Well Being service has some great resources.
Fresh Air Stories: Kat Brown in Kent. The first in a series of interviews talking openly about how we can get our kids outside more.