To all new mums – give yourself permission
Being a new mum is wonderful. But it’s also scary, exhausting, and at times, downright stressful.
And not to mention, your confidence takes a huge hit.
In what seemed like a heartbeat, I went from being a confident, career driven out-and-about kinda girl, to something of a nervous stay-at-home mum.
In my career, I pitch with gusto. I’m comfortable networking and working a room. And as those who know me would attest, I’m never stuck for words.
With my friends and family, I’m self-assured, as these relationships had been built and nurtured over years if not a lifetime.
Not content with the above, I also run my blog – HalimaBobs – in my spare time, where I get to satisfy my writing bug by producing beauty, travel and lifestyle features.
Yes, I like spinning a lot of plates.
I also pride myself on being the go-to person. The one who comes up with solutions, not problems. I have real issues with what I feel is putting people out, so I make a point of being independent and self-subsistent.
Basically, I generally feel I have my stuff together.
And suddenly comes this new boss in an incredibly cute little bundle. Except the accompanying role comes without a staff handbook. No induction. No nothing. So it stands to reason that I, like new mothers the world over, initially found this new position daunting.
However, it was only when talking to other mums that I realised that this worry is not only perfectly normal, it’s ok too.
Basically, being a new mum is hard work. And none of us really know what we’re doing. So it’s only by giving ourselves permission to get things wrong, feel vulnerable, and crucially, ask for and accept help, that we can get through it and give this new job our best effort.
So for all new mums out there, here is my advice, and the wisdom of some others, to get through the anxiety driven first few months…
Social media can wait
Yes I’m back on Instagram now. However, when Hannah first arrived, I didn’t touch my phone. Having a baby is one of the few times in your life you can go back to basics and switch of tech. So make the most of it.
Talk to other mums
When I felt at my most inadequate or exhausted, it was a relief to hear that other mums felt the same. I’ve made a whole new squad after becoming a mum. I’ve made friends by joining my local NCT group, attending antenatal classes and joining the various children’s centres.
You really need to speak to other mums who are going through the same thing at the same time to feel less alone. Plus my mummy WhatsApp group is alive and kicking when I’m dealing with the 4am witching hour.
Build a village
Raising a baby is no mean feat. And you need all the support you can get. So don’t be backwards in coming forwards for help.
If someone offers to bring food, graciously accept. If a friend visits and gets the kettle on, put your feet up. And don’t underestimate the cuteness of babies. Your arms may ache from cradling, but your visitors would happily hold your bundle of joy for hours. So make the most of your two spare hands and do that thing you planned to do.
Be in the moment
I never realised how much my worry could pass onto my daughter, until it was spelled out for me loud and clear by Sophia Kupse, who is otherwise known as ‘the Muscle Whisperer’ (you can read my review here).
I recently had a massage with Sophia, who treats back pain which is brought on by stress.
Sophia explained to me how my anxiety levels affect Hannah’s demeanour.
She also urged me to give myself permission to make mistakes, give myself a break, and focus on the now.
True enough, ever since my massage, I now enjoy each second of motherhood, rather than stressing about the next cry.
Don’t lose yourself
Whilst in the throes of motherhood, it’s easy to become all consumed with your new normal. However, it’s so important to try and keep a part of you. Not only because it keeps you sane, but it also helps you be a better mum and set a good example for your little one.
As her mother, it’s so important that I keep a part of my ambition, to show my daughter what can be achieved with hard work. I want Hannah to know that mum does some ‘stuff’. I want her to see that women can not only be great mothers, daughters and wives, but they can have a footprint in the world. Life as a woman can sometimes be tough, but we really can make things happen.
So those are my tips for mummy survival. If you have any anecdotes to add, let me know in a comment below.
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About the Author
I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!