I will never forget her… The nurse who scrunched up her nose, rolled her eyes and told me it was “not ideal to cuddle your baby, or look them in the eye when they wake at night”. It really hurt that to her, my instincts were wrong, and as a new mum I believed her. I believed her words over my own inner voice. I believed that she was right and I was wrong and OMG I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO AND THIS IS JUST GOING TO GET HARDER AND HARDER AND I JUST KNOW MY KID WILL NEVER EVER SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT, OR BE EASY TO RAISE.
Looking back, I can see that my instincts were fine and that given time, and a little effort, Mackenzie’s sleep would get better. And of course I now know that she’d grow up and we’d have all new sleep troubles. It wasn’t worth freaking out if it would get better (it did) or worse (it did). Either way, me doubting myself didn’t influence or change how life unfolded, it did regardless, and instead of taking it in my stride I was worried the. whole. damn. time.
When I first became a mum I put in a lot of effort to build my support village. I joined countless baby groups online, I went to SPACE group, I signed up to all the baby expert emails, I found some great sleep consultants and followed them on all manner of social media portals. It was great to feel like I had baby experts at the touch of a button, filling up my feed, there ready to go. But, if you are like me, then sometimes a little information can be too much information.
I mean, even now, every comment I read online from a fellow mama whose four children don’t sleep through the night, or whose kids refuse all food and wake all night from hunger, or whose son has tantrums every hour, or whose daughter slaps and kicks the other kids at daycare, or whose four year old still gets sick every second week, years after commencing daycare causes me to freak out! I freak out because I imagine all of those poor mothers and I imagine that it will all happen to me.
That I will never sleep again.
That I will have to pick up food from the floor for the rest of my life.
That I will always have to reason with my kid for why she can’t tip over the rubbish bin, or stick things in the plug socket, or climb all the furniture, or hit mama when I don’t give her a biscuit.
It’s taken a while for me to turn on my self awareness and think about it, but I’ve realised that all this worry is just too, too much. If you open yourself up to the millions of possible ways that your life could go wrong, you also open yourself to a million worries when very few, if any, of those possible outcomes will actually come true.
And even worse, if you waste all your thoughts on all the possible ways that your life will go wrong, you’re not giving any energy to all the ways that it could go right!
And that is the crux of my (new) attitude to life. Why think of all the ways it could go wrong when you could actually just believe that it will all work out? That it’ll get better! That I’m a good mum because I try my absolute best, whether it turns out right or wrong.
I have it on good authority that your kid will eventually sleep through the night, and eat all of their dinner, and go a full day without a tantrum, and stop crying for your attention, and stop insisting on watching you shower and use the bathroom and you know what? They’ll eventually stop needing you all the time and you’ll miss it.
They’ll stop asking for cuddles, and kisses, and for you to read them another bedtime story. They’ll stop wanting you to rub their back in the night, stop giggling when you sing a silly song and they’ll stop thinking that you are the best human ever, that you are the centre of their world and that you are the meaning of life personified.
I for one have left a few facebook “baby groups”, unsubscribed from the baby expert newsletters, and put a whole bunch of internet forums on the backburner. I’ve kept to two mum groups, because I love how supportive the women are on them, and I’m happier from removing myself from the majority of the baby-expert industry, with only my toes dipped in for good measure. I’m also happy in the knowledge that I know where to go for help, should I need it, and if it don’t? If life really does work out like I thought it would? Well that’s a whole lot of worry and negative energy I’ve banished from my life, which can only be a good thing!
Do you believe that if you think good thoughts, good stuff will happen?
And if you focus on the good, your mindset will be better overall?
That we are what we think?