Today on the blog is the gorgeous Paolo Espinel, nutrition and life coach from Be Wise Be Healthy. She is sharing with us the three mistakes she made as a first time mum.
Three Mistakes I Made As a First Time Mum
When we women start a family, all the attention is focused in the pregnancy itself, the preparation for birth and the welcoming the baby home but little thought is given to the new life as a mum looking after a new tiny creature.
We are never taught formally how to be a mum, we do not know what to expect and how to best get ready to be responsible for another little human being. Yes, there are millions of books and information online, but this only creates confusion, guilt and doubt about the way we raise our children, especially those first couple of years.
Unfortunately, we tend to ignore the perfection and wisdom of our universe and the advice from the wise older mums; and as we walk on the self-discovery journey of being a mum we naturally do things that we regret later. For me, these are the top three mistakes that I made as a first time mum:
MISTAKE #1 – Not following a routine – I never believed in routines and was VERY flexible about how and when things were done. During the first two years of life, I took my daughter everywhere and she slept easily in the car or pram but rarely at home. There was no schedule for eating, bed time or any kind of bed routine at night. She used to cry a lot, especially when tired but I did not follow her cues. Days were long and I was tired. After many sleepless nights and exhaustion, I decided to follow routine and things changed overnight.
MY WISE ADVICE – Babies (and children in general) like a predictable world. Activities that happen at about the same time and in about the same way each day provide comfort, security and emotional stability and help children to learn to trust caring adults. Being able to anticipate what will happen next give also children opportunity to build their confidence and self control. Most importantly, routines allow you (the mum and carer) to have a rest, experience less stress in your days and live a more organized happy life. So, start by evaluating what routines you have in place and how well these are working for everyone. Keep in mind that every family is different, and you must create unique routines that suit your circumstances.
MISTAKE #2 – Wanting to control everyone – I created a stressful environment at home, as I was always complaining how my hubby was doing his job as a dad and how my little girl was developing and behaving. I had in my mind another picture and HIGH expectations and forgot that they were separate individuals whose behaviour I could not control. I had to learn the hard way to let go and accept that we all are different, we all do things differently. I had to remind myself about how lucky and blessed we were as a family.
MY WISE ADVICE – A large majority of us want to control the world because of FEAR! Yes, our own fears and insecurities are what make us behave like this. But it is only when you let go of control and surrender that you can enjoy all life’s possibilities and strength family bonds. By stopping trying to control others, you start to focus on yourself and in the process rather than in the outcome. So if you are feeling that you want to control everything and everyone around you I invite you to pause for a moment and ask yourself what is that you are afraid of. Is that true? Think how you can relax more, lower your expectations, and accept things as they are. Enjoy the feeling of freedom and peace that this shift brings into your life.
MISTAKE #3 – Being with my daughter 24/7 – I took a year of maternity leave and I spent most of the time with my little girl. I was pretty much with her ALL the time and did not give her much space or opportunity for independent play or self-soothing. She wanted mummy all the time, and after 4 years she still does. While being indispensable for a little cutie is an amazing feeling, it is also very tiring. I was craving help and some time for myself. Learning to separate from my girl was very hard but creating space and time for me and giving the opportunity for my hubby to interact more help him to strength the relationship with our daughter.
MY WISE ADVICE – As a mum you will be irreplaceable and your children will tend to prefer you over dad during those first years (most of the time). Give yourself permission to enjoy that feeling but create a healthy relationship with your children by letting them enjoy some time alone (always under close supervision!) and by allowing them to spend time with other family members or carers. And stop feeling guilty! You are doing your best, you will always love your kids and they know that.
Well, I could keep on going but I want to invite you now to share in the comments below what mistakes you made as a first time mum and what do you wish you have done differently.
Before you go, please grab a collection of my best freebies. You don’t want to miss out on the ‘Self-care Manifesto for Busy Mamas’ and the ‘Be Wise Be Well Mama’ recipe!
Paola Espinel is a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach at Be Wise Be Healthy. As a mother of two young girls, her mission is to empower mums of young children to reconnect with their inner wisdom, develop new skills and love themselves truly so they can thrive in life, experience abundant health and become great role models for their love ones.
Through her supportive coaching, she inspires overwhelmed and tired mothers who are finding challenging to lose the baby weight and look well after themselves helping them to make small gradual positive changes in their diet and lifestyle to create long lasting healthy habits. Visit her website for more inspiration, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Paola is currently working on an 8 weeks ecourse called ‘Busy Mamas Shine: Give Birth to the New You and Live Vibrantly While Raising Young Kids’, and hopes to share it with the world earlier next year. Get on her mailing list today to be one the first to know when it launches.
Kate Bowern says
Fantastic article, thank you. I felt like I was writing number three. It’s taken me 5 years and three children to finally realise I don’t have to be with my children 24/7. Better late than never I suppose haha. This is great advive 🙂
I am glad it resonated with you Kate. You are not alone! Motherhood is an ongoing journey with plenty opportunities to learn. By the way, I love your website!
Great article! I have made most of these mistakes myself… particularly being with my daughter 24/7. Thanks!
Oh Paola! What awesome advice… I am have only just realised that being with Master 2 and Miss 1 ALL of the time is not doing any of us much good. I lovey little people but I’ve realised I also need time away from them to fill up on the things I love, and it makes me a much better mum when I’m with them. Less quantity, more quality.
Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful reminder x
Nikki Smith says
Paola, thank you for writing this. So often an article has the wise wisdom and not the I used to do this before I knew differently. I’ve just been thinking of introducing some more routines. I Love your compassionate take on routines and family. Nikki x