The other day I found a diary that I barely remember writing. It's full of entries to my first-born documenting our first year together. It's going to be serialised. Oh, hang on a minute, no it's not... because it's the DULLEST READ EVER. Full of crazy s**t I did and how much I loved her. Like every day was about HOW MUCH I LOVED HER. No way do I remember enjoying motherhood anywhere near that much. Clearly I was a) sleep deprived b) hormonal and c) a total bloody liar. Anyway, I shared one particularly embarrassing post and lots of mums told me the 'funny' stuff they did with their firstborns. Here's a summary: if you're a first time mum sitting there fretting about every single thing (as we all did), I hope this helps you chill out a bit. Because there are some things you really don't need to do. Like ever.
1. THE SCENARIO: Roasting a chicken JUST for the stock at 11:30 PM at night for your newly weaned baby. Then somehow finding the energy to write about it in your very sad diary. Who knew you can get low salt stock cubes for this very purpose? (Everyone, but you).
THE FUTURE: They will reward you by growing up, developing the sweetest tooth and eating all the E numbers they can lay their hands on whilst their sibling(s) who were weaned on dirt, air, party rings and whole (not low salt) Oxo cubes (eaten raw whilst you were too busy doing something else) turn their noses up at the sweet stuff and would much rather have a satsuma.
THE LEARNING: It's going to be ok, whatever you do (or don't do).
2. THE SCENARIO: Stimulating your baby in ridiculous ways. You spend most of the first year worrying about how to stimulate your baby. Are you doing enough with her? Reading enough? Talking to her enough? So you buy 34 Baby Einstein DVDs from eBay and convince yourself that she really enjoys watching one before her lunchtime nap (according to the very sad diary).
THE FUTURE: By the time you have more kids, you'll be so exhausted and distracted you'll only think about stimulants for you, not stimulating them. They will have a better vocabulary than you, know their colours and pretty much have been raised by Netflix.
THE LEARNING: You're all the stimulation your baby needs. I promise. Oh ok, and maybe Netflix.
3. THE SCENARIO: Peeling things that were never meant to be peeled. Like grapes. Because, well, no reason really. It just feels like something a really good mum would do. (P.s. do cut grapes lengthways before serving, as they're a choking hazard. The peeling bit has no benefits whatsoever though. Don't say this blog isn't useful haha.)
THE FUTURE: Not peeling things that were meant to be peeled. Because you're so darn tired and your toddler is already halfway through the satsuma, skin and all, so what's the point now?
THE LEARNING: You're a good mum regardless of all this shizzle. You always have been.
4. THE SCENARIO: Sterilising EVERYTHING that might go near your baby. Like putting boiling water in the saucepan before putting, erm, fresh boiling water in it to cook the broccoli.
THE FUTURE: Eating actual animal poo.
THE LEARNING: Your baby is far more resilient than you think. Try not to obsess over their welfare. You're doing a great job.
5. THE SCENARIO: Wondering if your baby is going to be a social pariah. Your baby/toddler bites another child at nursery. You have sleepless nights worrying that she's going to be a social outcast whilst googling, 'Is my baby a psychopath?'
THE FUTURE: She grows up to be funny, kind and aware that it's not ok to go around biting people.
THE LEARNING: It's a developmental phase. And one that most babies/toddlers go through. Seriously, don't worry. It will pass.
6. THE SCENARIO: Thinking every mum is a better mum than you. Worrying that you're not helping your baby to develop enough. Because little Billy is already using a beaker AND holding it himself and your baby isn't. Feeling out of your depth because all the other mothers seem to know more mum hacks than you.
THE FUTURE: One day soon, no one will give a s*** about this stuff. Or even remember it. Or remember anything, come to that.
THE LEARNING: We're all out of our depth most of the time. You just learn to ride the wave of motherhood and chill the f*** out. Also there's no better mum for your child than you.
I really hope this helps you see what a great job you're doing. I know when you're in it, all this stuff is so overwhelming and it absolutely feels like you need to take the hardest path in order to do the best by your baby. But take it from us old mums, you really, really don't. Happy mum. Happy baby. You can get more new mum reassurance in The New Mum's Notebook, the sanity saving journal for all new mums (it will definitely stop you roasting a chicken at 11.30 PM at night). Available online, priced £20.