On Saturday 29 September 2018 my twins, Maisie and Delilah turned one. I’m not quite sure how to cope with the fact that I have two one-year olds, they were only born last week?! Or that’s what it feels like. I’ve heard it so said so much (but it is SO true) that the days are long, but the years are short. I feel like I blinked and a year passed! What an absolute ride it’s been, here are five things that my first year of motherhood has taught me:
1. Everyone is winging it.
Before I had the girls, I had such a preconceived idea of what parenthood would be, I looked around my world, whether that be on social media or in reality, and saw mums that were absolutely smashing it and seemed to know everything about being a parent. I thought that I should know my opinion on every subject that could possibly cross my path so that I was prepared for when the girls were born, and I worried about how I would cope if I didn’t know my opinions on everything (from nap times and discipline, to weaning and all that comes in-between).
As it happened I didn’t know all my thoughts before they were born and now having been a mum for one year I have realised that even the best of us are winging it. All babies are different, so really, it’s not possible for us to have all the answers and even the thoughts we had about parenting before becoming one, often go out the window because you do the best with whatever is in front of you and sometimes scenarios arrive that you would never have even considered. A combination of instinct, love and knowing your child is all you really need, you CAN do it. Trust yourself.
2. God has ALWAYS got my back, even if I’m not fully aware.
Being a parent requires a lot. Time, money, energy, patience, love (to name but a few). Often these things can begin to run dry, ESPECIALLY when you are tired, but I have found that God is always beside me nudging me for that reminder to be patient (and giving me the ability to be), refreshing me in times of pure sleep deprived madness and providing EVERYTHING I need. Whether that means financially or otherwise. I could tell you countless stories of God providing us with money right when we needed it, or that kind person to support us in a moment of stress. He will always be there supporting you, even behind the scenes when you’re not fully aware of it.
3. I don’t need to be superwoman and asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
As I mentioned in my first point, I thought that I should know everything I needed to know about motherhood before the girls were born and I thought that I should be able to bounce back with full energy levels and the ability to continue to stay on top of two babies, cleaning the house, making food and much more. Oh, how I wish I could go back and tell myself that I don’t need to be superwoman. So much of Jesus’ life was spent in community with others and the disciples supported Jesus in some tough moments of his life; if even he needed that support then why do I think I should be above it? The amount of times this past year that I have relied on family or friends to put on a wash, or tidy the house, or hold the babies while I grab a shower can’t be counted and it’s been a life saver. We still use a meal delivery service and it saves me from getting overwhelmed with thinking about dinner and routine times etc. People love to help and so why not take them up on their offers, give people a job to do when they come round to visit and treat yourself kindly…
4. It’s ok to take some “me” time, in fact it’s vital.
Having time to reconnect to yourself and investing in yourself is SO important. It can be easy to lose who you are when you become a parent because it is all consuming. Sometimes it happens without you even really noticing because you are so engrossed in the love that you have for your kids and getting to grips with parenthood, but for me, I found that after not too long I was really missing some alone time to recharge. Take some time just for you. There can be different levels to this. Firstly, the smaller things; Perhaps you just want to take a nice warm bath, or maybe an early night so you can read a chapter of your book, even just painting your nails. For a more extended ‘me time’ you could leave the kids with your partner or a babysitter and go out with some girlfriends, go to the cinema on your own or have a cheeky spa night. Whatever it is, make sure at least once a week you get yourself some good me time, it’s what you need to recharge, and it will help you in those moments of parenthood that are tough. You’re equipping yourself to be a good mum because you’ve recharged to focus your energy on your family.
5. I don’t know everything, but that’s ok.
It’s not possible for me to know everything, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. The best thing about that is, it’s ok. Community is so important, and I’m blessed to have amazing people around me (both locally and further afield), so I know that in the times when I haven’t got it all together, there’s a tribe of people around me investing time and love into my girls but also in to me. I have an incredible husband and for us it is ALL about teamwork. All the way. Most importantly, I have God. So, if you ever find yourself a bit at a loss over what to do, or if you’re feeling inadequate…Firstly, know that you are not inadequate. Secondly, find your tribe, whether that’s close friends around you, your partner if you have one or other family members. Love them, invest in them and they will do the same for you. Finally, LEAN IN to all that God is, and all that he has for you. It’s a daily task, but a worthwhile one. He has everything you need so if you don’t know everything, that’s ok, He does.