Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Looking back at things you did with all the wisdom learned from having done them and thinking ‘why didn’t I do that differently?’
Mumhood is like that. How many times did I think ‘if only I’d known that then’!
If only I’d known I could have avoided that tantrum if I’d approached it a little differently. If only I’d known what I know now about the way mumhood felt and why, how easier it would have been. And if I’d known, now things have turned out okay – and they mostly do – that I could have relaxed a bit more!
This is what I’m hoping to pass back down to all mums coming along the road behind me; hindsight. Because hindsight’s a wonderful thing, so you might as well have use of mine.
One of the things I wish I’d known at the time was how wrong people can be. How much of what people said wasn’t the case at all, and had I trusted my intuition a bit more I would have guessed.
I wouldn’t have had my baby on the back seat of the car for a start! (You’ll read about that!)
Neither would I have taken it as gospel when they said; ‘it’ll get worse’ when I was coping with sleeping and feeding and toddlers and sometimes feeling a bit rough. I think they were trying to be smug. But I lived in dread of that coming true as it already felt quite challenging. As it turned out they were completely wrong. It just got better and better.
Listening to them could have made me overlook the absolute joy and delight of being a mum. It’s incomparable – as long as you allow yourself to feel joy and delight and not get snagged up in one-up-mum-ship, petty politics and traditions that just don’t work for contemporary mothering.
And something else I wish I’d known was that it wasn’t necessarily going to be like they said in the baby books. It wasn’t that it was wrong exactly, it was just reading them you could feel you didn’t measure up. Okay – so they did have some stuff that was alright too, just not right for me. But that’s the important point; baby books, or any advice, are not gospel. You have to understand that and get what’s right for you from them, discard the rest and not feel bad about it.
We are all different, different mums, different characters, in different circumstances, have different babies and different needs. No one book is ever going to be the answer – not even mine.
The best answer is in you. Your intuition; perspective from others and professionals certainly, but mostly you, you making independent choices based on what you feel and what you know. By thinking about the kind of mum you want to be and going for it. By being what you need to be to do this job well.
That above everything else is what this book is about; being. Being the mum you want to be, need to be, how best to be it, how to handle it and why it matters.
Being the best you can be, both for you and for your baby and growing child.
Becoming a mum can be overwhelming, sometimes for a few years as other children come along. It is overwhelming dealing with babies and toddlers and growing kids never mind yourself, never mind making complex decisions about how to be now life has changed.
That’s why I’m offering this hindsight in the hope of making it less complex. And enabling you to thoroughly enjoy being a mum, growing into a mum, and engaging with the joy and delight it surely can be, as it has the potential to just get better and better!