Apart from all the obvious reasons, having a baby is an exhausting time emotionally. Yeah, the sleep bit doesn’t help, but in a wider sense, you are changed forever.
I remember those early days with L, being quite poorly and back in hospital and just struggling. Struggling a lot. Someone told me to be grateful for what I had, which incensed me as gratitude for how lucky I am doesn’t come into it. It’s all relative. A struggle is a struggle.
These days the kids are 4 and 6, and the challenges are different. But I think going through the changes in your body caused by pregnancy and birth, and then the complicated nature of parenthood can leave you scrabbling about for your ‘mojo’. That magical power that makes you the person you are.
As that alters with the addition of a new baby, your mojo must too. I’ve no doubt I lost mine for a while, in between all the truly glamorous after-effects of having a baby and total lack of sleep. Being 25, I was the first of my friends to have a little one and I felt isolated to start with. But, I knew if I wasn’t careful, my self-esteem would be damaged forever.
I’m a big believer in self-care and sometimes as a mum you need to grip onto that with both hands. After all, you can’t look after anyone else if you don’t look after yourself.
New clothes and makeup never fail to do the trick, but if you’re totally skint and/or feeling too knackered to care, there are much better things you can do to grab that mojo and never let it go:
Find your tribe
Whether this is online or in real life, find a group of mums who ‘get it’ and hold onto them tight. Avoid any mothers who are into comparison… the ones who want to ram it down your throat how much their kid sleeps/eats/excels academically. I once knew a mum who had (very obviously) forged her child’s signature on a birthday card, boasting they could write at the age of 2. At the time, I remember panicking before actually realising what was going on. How completely ridiculous.
You want the mums who are honest in your life, the ones who will tell it like it is and laugh at the things you both struggle with. Being equally supportive of each other, they will lift you up in tough times and be firmly beside you through the fun and happiness too.
Take a breather
So it’s been a crap day, but there’s always tomorrow. Wipe the slate clean, have a bath and get into bed as early as you can to re-group and revive your weary self. If any jobs don’t need doing urgently once the kids are asleep, abandon camp and leave them for another time. The house may be a mess but your sanity is much more important.
Know your worth
Why is that we’re doing the most important job in the world yet we can sometimes lack confidence or doubt ourselves? Relax, you’ve got this. We’re all faking it ’til we make it in life, and as long as you’re keeping afloat (even if your knickers have been on inside out all day), it’ll all be ok. Trust me.
Whether you’re having trouble breastfeeding or with school politics, we’re all in this amazing, scary, invigorating and exciting journey together. Never forget that.