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Rated: E · Letter/Memo · Parenting · #2202888
Never be ashamed to ask for help.
Parenthood is hard. It’s called a ‘hood’ for a reason, you definitely need one to survive. I’m meaning a ‘neighbour-hood’, not a literal ‘hood’, like, on your coat.
I only have one little baby, but I am not ashamed to say that I need help. For those of you who have more than one, I salute you, that must be ridiculously hard. Unimaginably hard. Especially if you do it alone.
My husband, Patrick, is my best ‘mum friend’. The other mums I have met recently, tend to have a lot of subtext in their questions. I can’t handle subtext. It stresses me out on my car journeys home. It’s understandable. We’re all terrified of getting it wrong. But I think sometimes we put the fear into each other unintentionally.
No, Patrick and I make all our parenting decisions together, based on the happiness of our family, logic and realistic outcomes.
Sometimes our decisions are not considered best practice, according to the masses, but we back ourselves. Whatever we do is best practice for the three of us, and if it’s not working out, we change it.
I’m saying this, because I will be able to hear the big tut when I tell you that… the first night we brought our little Rafi home, my mum stayed over and looked after him all night.
Patrick and I hadn’t slept for 36 hours, and we were both zombies.
I, of course, hadn’t even thought of this possibility. Until Patrick said, ‘We are going to be so rubbish at this, unless we get some sleep.’ I pondered it for a while, and thought, you know what? I’ve just been through quite the trauma, I can barely keep my eyes open, my body literally will not move, and Patrick has watched all of this happen to me, constantly on edge. My little Rafi needs to have someone who will be able to stay up with him all night, giving him cuddles, singing to him, feeding him, smiling at him, making sure he is safe and happy. Not two amateurs, zapped of energy, who could potentially murder each other before morning.
Mum couldn’t have been more excited. She cuddled him all night, so that his first night out of his comfy tummy home, was so snuggly and full of love.
We woke up refreshed and excited for our new life to begin.
Mums find it very hard to be, ‘selfish’, and will make other mums feel bad if they have done something for themselves.
But, I truly believe that, sometimes, by being ‘selfish’ and looking after yourself, you, in turn, are looking after your baby. Happy parents = Happy babies.
I don’t mean all the time. I don’t mean bin your kids off with anyone constantly so that you can carry on your pre-child life. I just mean, when you know you are running low, call on someone who loves your baby to take a shift. You should feel no guilt about that. And they really are waiting on that phone call. It will stop you getting frustrated, upset and fed up with parenthood, and your little one will build trusting and loving bonds with those people who will also be constants in their lives.
So… no matter how you are feeding your baby, think about whether taking a break is right for you. My sister-in-law is exclusively breastfeeding, so her Mum looked after little one until he was hungry, and once he was fed, he went straight back to Grandma for another few hours.
Of course, if it doesn’t feel right to you, and it would feel uncomfortable, to the point where you wouldn’t be able to relax anyway, then it wouldn’t be worth it.
But if you’ve been thinking about it and just need to feel less guilty about putting it into practice, just think, ‘well that woman who wrote that blog gave her baby to her mum on the very first night, so, I’m not as bad as her.’ And then just do it.
Sometimes we all need to re-charge, and that is ok. Taking a break doesn’t mean you are a bad parent; it just means you’re human.
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