Pregnancy opens you up to conversations full of advice for soon to be parents from loved ones, friends and even strangers on the tube. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” was the most common piece of advice I received! Like how do you even do that?! Even after my second child, I am yet to master it! Well, unless it’s nighttime and in this case it really depends if your baby even sleeps at night!
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The advice given was usually useful and with good intention. I spent time taking on the advice given to me and also learning so much that I wanted to pass on to others. The one thing I really struggled with years after having my first was knowing who I used to be. The me before kids, before pregnancy.
I love being a Mum, I absolutely love it but for the first year or so, I was just Mum. After returning to work when my daughter was 17 months old, my conversations and thoughts seem to revolve around errands, motherhood and work. There was no me in there. Somewhere down the line I remembered that I wasn’t always this way. I used to be a woman who enjoyed baking, meeting friends and I’d spend hours engrossed in a book or discussing hair regimes. Over time, many of my hobbies and characteristics were simply forgotten about. Thinking back to all the advice for soon to be parents that I had read or heard, nothing had covered this point I’m getting to.
Being a parent can be all consuming. I often hear other Mum’s coming out with something along the lines of “I don’t feel like me anymore. I want to feel like me but I don’t even know who that is. Like, what did I even used to do?” If there was one piece of advice for soon-to-be parents I wish I had received before I had my first, it would be this, Make a note about who you are now before you become a parent, so you’ll always remember the you before kids.
No matter how excited you are to embrace your new life and new addition, the person you are should be a part of your new life. This is someone that your child would likely love to get to know! Grab yourself a notebook and write everything you can about you. Consider finding a safe place to store it. Then one day, instead of having to search for this amazing woman, you’ll find her, tucked away on that piece of paper ready to be found!
Who Am I?
We all know who we are, but how often do we write about ourselves? You’ll tell yourself that you know who you are. That how could you possibly forget but once your life becomes baby groups and nap times coupled with sleep deprivation, you can easily find yourself lost. Here are a few pointers to help you really think about who you are.
- Who do you call for a chat? That one person you call daily or weekly and can talk to for hours. This one is top of my list because it’s easy to get into a little bubble with your little family (and rightly so) but at some point you’ll want to call that friend for a good chat. You might not be able to talk as much as before, but ensure keeping in touch every now and then a priority, you’ll both have plenty to share I’m sure.
- What do you do to de-stress? Do you meditate, go for a run, have a bubble bath, read a book? It’s important to know what de-stressing means to you. I had started to believe that checking something off of my to-do list would help me to feel better. However, this could mean folding that pile of clothes that had been staring at me all week, but does this destress me? Not at all but a bubble bath definitely does the trick.
- What do you enjoy doing on a night in? Do you binge on your favourite series with a pizza or invite friends round for dinner? After having children many evenings are likely to be spent at home so this is a key point! What do you enjoy doing on a night in? Make it count!
- Where do you go on a night out? This could be anything from a trip to the cinema, the theatre, dinner, drinks or dancing the night away.
- You have a day spare, how do you spend it? Do you meet up with family, run errands, clean, go shopping. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fun, just something that feels like you.
- What are you passionate about? Perhaps write this one on a separate piece of paper. Write it all down. Anything. The good and the bad. What do you love or dislike? Is there something you could talk about for hours? This one will really give you an insight into who you really are.
- What movie /TV show / song makes you feel good? I used to have so many feel good movies that I would play over and over. I’d completely forgotten about them until I’d see one pop up on the TV.
- What do you enjoy eating at home? Is there a meal you enjoy preparing or a takeaway that you love. Write it down, you’ll be surprised at how you can forget some of the meals you ate often. After having children I find the meals I tend to cook are quick meals but every now and then, I’ll make something I used to love that takes a little more time.
- How do you treat yourself? Is it that cupcake that you love at the bakery store down the road, do you have your nails or hair done?
- What are your hobbies? Baking, writing, working out, crafts? Is there something you enjoy getting engrossed in?
- How would your friends describe you? Are you funny, the life and soul of a party, determined or outgoing? Who are you today?
Go with the flow. No matter how unnecessary or small something may seem, it has a place on your list if it’s a part of who you are.
Once you become a parent, some of these points are likely to change. The idea of dancing the night away instantly became less appealing when I would have to be up at the crack of dawn in full-time mummy mode. You might find that a bath isn’t so relaxing when you’re anticipating your child waking up any moment. But as some of these might change, some will stay the same.
Try to incorporate your new life into who you already are. It’s often found that revolving around your children makes life easier but sometimes it can be useful to make some of these the norm for your children too. My husband and I enjoy eating out so have always taken our children to restaurants. Our eldest knows what to expect and how to behave in these types of situations, while the youngest is too young to know yet. Both of our children can sleep pretty much anywhere which is a real bonus when you want to spend a day out. Consider watching TV or reading while the baby is having milk. Grab a jogging pushchair which you can take while running, the fresh air can do the world of good for you and your child.
This piece of advice for soon to be parents doesn’t just work for you as an individual. Write a list as a couple to remember what you enjoyed together.
It’s so easy to get caught up at home with messy play, cooking and doing laundry but make sure to make time for yourself. You are the best example for your children, show this wonderful person to them. Take this one piece of advice for parents and go with it, you’ll be happy that you did.
Do you have any advice that you deem necessary for soon to be parents? Let me know in the comments.