What Would You Say To Your Pre-Child Self?
In our Advice from Mums series, we talk about a range of different parenting topics with a fabulous group of mums. Today, we asked 9 mums ‘If you could go back to before you had kids, what advice would you give yourself?’ Read on to find out what they said.
Advice From Everywhere
It feels like I have been receiving parenting advice my whole life. I’m younger than my husband, so most of his friends had children before us. And offered us lots of ‘helpful’ advice as they figured their way through the early years of parenting. When I got pregnant with my first, there was a sharp increase in the amount of advice we were given. It came from family members, friends with kids, friends without kids, colleagues, random people I interacted with. And after he was born, the advice came thick and fast. To say it was overwhelming would be a massive understatement.
My first year as a mum was full of ups and down. The exhaustion from sleepless nights. The random emotional outbursts from constantly changing hormones. The pressure from being responsible for keeping another human being alive and well. Joy at finally figuring out how to express counterbalanced by a sense of failure for not being able to breastfeed. Relief when I finally switched to formula. Constant fear that he would catch something and we’d end up in hospital (or not be allowed out to begin with). And so much more.
But as I emerged from that first year, and went through the second and the third, I found my own rhythm. We found our rhythm. So when my friends started getting pregnant and asking me for bits of advice, I made myself stop and think. Made myself not just regurgitate the advice I had been given over the years, or random things I thought might be helpful. I stopped and thought ‘what would I tell myself?’ If I could go back to before my son was born, before I got pregnant, what advice would I give my younger self.
My Advice to Myself
Don’t Take Anything for Granted
There are so many things that you take for granted now that will change once you have kids. Lazy weekend mornings. Uninterrupted sleep. Eating hot meals. Catch ups with your friends. Having your own space. Time to yourself. A clean house. Take the time to enjoy and appreciate them now. You will be ok when they change, and one day they may return, but make the most of them while you can.
It’s ok to have expectations, but it’s more important to realise that so much of what is to come is completely out of our control. And just because reality doesn’t match your expectations doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong.
Being a parent will come with many challenges. Some of them will be bloody hard. Some of them you’ll never see coming. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when they come. It will not mean you’re not capable, not strong, not enough.
Enjoy The Little Things
Make the most of every cuddle, every kiss, every moment they want you to hold them. One day, out of nowhere, they will say no to those things. It may hurt when they do, but know that it’s not personal.
Believe in yourself
There will be times when it feels like you have no idea what you’re doing. When you will question yourself. Question your abilities as a mother. There will be days when you will feel like you are getting everything wrong. That you know nothing. Those times will pass. Trust yourself. You will know your children better than anyone else.
I don’t know if I’d take my own advice, but if I had the opportunity, these are the things I’d tell myself.
What Do Other Mums Say
I asked 8 other mums the same question. Here’s what they would tell themselves if they could.
Tanya Abd ElJalil
Do all the things you want to do while you’re young and free – party, travel, go to nice restaurants, buy stuff that is precious and breakable, and have fun. There is a lot you can do after kids, and of course lots of people do things with kids, but, you may not. And start a fitness routine/habit that you love, so you’re ahead before you have kids and no time. Set up your career to something that is flexible and family friendly if you can – and make all the connections you can pre-kids.
Tanya runs Your Business Wife. Connect with her at:
Ha! Stop judging! Without realising it I was so judgey, about kids crying on planes, at restaurants, toddlers with screens, kids at pubs and fast food restaurants, you name it. I’d tell myself parenting is bloody hard and you need to do whatever helps you get through.
Plus I’d remind myself judging anyone in any aspect of life is never useful or kind! I’d also let myself know that there will be some super hard days, days where you will cry, scream and not want to continue but these days will be far outweighed by the hugs, the smiles, the kisses and the laughs these tiny humans freely give out. They don’t hold grudges and the tiniest smile can improve your mood. So perservere and you will do a fantastic job.
Nikki runs Ocean Luxe. Connect with her at:
Get out there and explore the world a bit more, and get my portfolio up more.
Jessika runs Cheeky Boys Boutique & J.H. Photographer. Connect with her at:
Look after and be kind to yourself. I took the luxury of having the time and space to look after me totally for granted. So, while you can, exercise, eat well and rest well. You will appreciate it immensely in the future!
It will work out the way that it is meant to – Not the way you have planned and that’s okay. I had so much expectation tied up in the birth of my first child. Relax, go with your instincts and make sensible choices that benefit all the family, not just the baby.
Gender and age gaps are not worth worrying about! I spent a lot of time trying to strategically plan exactly when I’d have each of my children. Funnily enough, it didn’t work out. Our planned girl and boy with a 2 year age gap (really original, hey) turned out to be a girl, a boy and another girl who are 3.5 years and 2.5 years apart! Guess what? We’re totally happy with that and wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is going to be the hardest thing you have ever done, but also the most rewarding. Motherhood is extremely challenging. You are on, 24/7, without a break. But it is easily the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do! The feeling of complete love that your child has for you and you for them can’t be explained. Enjoy it!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Like many new mothers, I thought I could do it all. Turns out, I was faced with many unforeseen challenges during the early days of my child’s life and I needed help. Luckily, I was able to get that from many different people. There’s a lot of great help out there so don’t be afraid to ask for it. It’s not weakness, it’s smart.
Erin runs Tokyo Socks. Connect with her at:
Life as you know it will definitely change, ultimately for the better most definitely…but it isn’t easy. Your life changes a lot…your priorities…your views on life in general…and it is totally no longer just about you and your partner. There are so many wonderful little things in this journey, which I am now realising, passes by so fast. So while the early times are hard, and the sleep deprivation sucks, it’s only for a short time. Enjoy each little moment with your babies, while they are babies!
Nicole runs Creative Mum Life. Connect with her at:
Don’t judge other parents by the way their kids behave. Smiling and giving them empathetic nods of “you’re doing great” are perfect for those situations. You’re definitely a perfect parent until you have kids!
Amanda runs Mummy Confessions. Connect with her at:
Have your children earlier and grow with them.
Ursula runs Ursh Finn. Connect with her at:
Don’t ever compare yourself or judge other Mums., we all have our different strengths and you never how much sleep someone’s been getting or how mean their toddler has been to them today.
Be kind to yourself, you’re doing a great job!
Alana runs Castle & Kite. Connect with her at:
How about you? What advice would you give yourself if you could go back?
Do you have a question, or want to share the what you’ve learned over your parenting journey? Come and join our community of mums.