First time round my child was on a strict routine for sleeping and feeding from the age of about four months. I would worry myself sick if I wasn’t at home for his sleep time as that meant the entire day was out of routine and I just couldn’t cope.
Fourth time round I sometimes forget to feed him….. And I’m happy with a five minute car nap…
2. Time spent with child.
First time I sang songs, read countless books, went on loads of walks, sat and chatted to him.
Fourth time I’m happy that he’s entertained by the other children.
3. Seeping at home.
First time- he had most of his sleeps at home.
Fourth time- if I have two home days a week then I’m happy!
4. Leaving baby to go out.
First time I hated it. I felt I needed to be close to me baby in case he needed me or if something went wrong and I had to be there.
Fourth time. I’ve since learned that I desperately need to make time for myself and that hubby is more than capable to put the baby to bed. Mumma needs a wine with girlfriends!!
First baby everything was charted, noted, compared with the ‘book’and other people’s kids. I always knew how much he weighed, when he ate/slept/shat.
Fourth I have no idea how much he weighs but he’s chunky and not fading away so I’m not worried. I don’t have the ‘book’ anymore. Gave it away. Whatever works for us is the right way. And the longer he takes to start moving around, I don’t mind!!
6. Opinions of others.
First time I was terrified if someone thought I was a bad mum, if they thought I was doing something the ‘wrong’ way. I wanted to be perfect in everything I did and as a result my mental health suffered.
Fourth time I’ve learned that the only perfect mum is you to your child. Whether you make baby food from scratch (which I did first time) or whether it’s from a jar (from third baby onwards) it doesn’t matter. Whether your baby breastfeeds or bottle feeds or co-sleeps or cot sleeps or rides around in a pram or is worn by you. It doesn’t matter. If you take a few hours to yourself you’re actually a better mother as you’re in a better frame of mind when you return.
Wisdom from a fourth timer (even though my fourth is only 5 months old!!):
-don’t sweat the small stuff. It won’t make a difference in the long run.
-do whatever you need to to get through the day, but do it happily. If that means leaving the washing til tomorrow then so be it.
-you can discipline your children and they still love you.
-it’s ok to not be ok.
-if you’re having a shitty day, tell some one. It takes the shittiness right out of it.
-if all else fails, reach for some English Breakfast and Cadbury’s.