What makes a Good Mum?
What makes a good Mother? How do we know if we are getting it right? What to do if it all gets too Much?
A New Mum
Being a Mum is something that most girls think and dream about for their future. For some it comes naturally and for others it can be a real culture shock.
Is 9 months enough time to prepare for what is in store? Not likely!
Below I've summarised a few pieces of advice - I've kept it short but to the point. Call it my "Mum Manual in brief"
When you bring your baby home, one thing you never really consider is just how much well meant advice you are going to be bombarded with.
It begins in the hospital with the Midwife telling you to "leave baby to cry", "feed baby 4 hourly", "Put baby on Back", "Feed baby this way" and so on.....basically a set of instructions.
You will very soon realise that every baby is different and what works for one does not necessarily work for another. This is where you own "maternal" intuition starts to come in to play.
You have carried your baby for 9 months - felt it's first flutters of life, felt it's first wee kicks of independence, begun to know it's routines even before its born so remind yourself - you know your baby already!
My advice is don't let yourself become swamped down by everyone telling you different things - although they mean well, it can be confusing and also frustrating not to mention making you feel like a complete idiot.
Remember, it will take time. In these early days, there is no rush and it is a big learning curve for you, as the Mother and also the baby. The baby has a lot of adjusting to do being outside in the world now instead of snug in a warm cocoon and some babies just take a bit longer to adapt.
Allow yourself to bond and get to know your little one. Don't feel bad if you want to hold and cuddle your baby - they need that too. I believe these early days are very important and as a Mother of two, I also believe that if crying babies are left to cry and cry, that solves nothing. It creates frustration, upset, anxiety and stress for both parents and the baby when sometimes a simple cuddle helps to settle.
Feeding every 4 hours! Well again, some babies do fine on that and others don't. You need to work out what is best for your baby. What is the point in leaving your hungry baby to cry for another half hour because a Midwife told you to. If your baby is hungry - believe me, it will not settle until fed so why allow it to become so stressed that when you do eventually feed it, it is so full of wind from crying that the whole bottle comes back up and you end up back at square one.
Again, some of the instructions are - change before a feed or change after a feed......you find out what works best for your baby! If changing before a feed ends up with a soiled nappy soon after and another change needed, then swap over.
Now we get into the interesting phase...Toddlers! By now, you have got to know your infant and vice versa. Not all children go through "The Terrible Twos" but I believe it's just the child beginning to become an individual. How do they learn if they don't do things wrong. They don't start off by misbehaving but believe me, they soon learn that certain actions earn them a little more attention so it can be a bit tricky here. Teaching them right without rewarding bad behaviour.
I think it's never too early to have "Time Out". Obviously when they are little, they don't understand what this means but it can be simplified for their age ie., 2-3 years old could mean being sat beside you for 1 minute without you talking to them. As they get a little older, you could introduce a stair so that they get taken to the stair and you remain there with them for 1-2 minutes without talking. They soon learn that whatever it was they were doing that earned them this boring period either isn't worth doing it or will end up with being bored again....and again.....and again!
Older and Teenage Years
The whole parenting side changes as your children grow. Each year brings different challenges. To keep this brief I've listed just a few notes :-
Be firm but fair
Talk a Lot to your children
Show Interest in their lives
Involve them in decisions
Never argue with spouses in front of them
Allow them to have Opinions
Support them through their emotional and physical changes
Noone in this World gets it right all the time. All we can do is hope we get it as right as we can and end up with children we are proud of.
I have a grown up Son of 19 and a daughter of 16 and I am so proud of both of them. I love being a Mum and hope I have given them some good qualities which they will pass on to their children.
To all you Mums out there either soon to be, new or experienced - Congratulations from me!