No matter what age you have a child, there are things you will have to learn the hard way- like just how bitchy you can be on 2 hours broken sleep, or how much chocolate you can consume without being sick (or is that just me?). I had H at the tender age of 21, Max at 22, and was running my own business by 23- I have to throw that in-, then Charlie at 26. Becoming a Mum at such a young age meant I had to learn some things faster than I might have otherwise, and some of those things were pretty hard lessons.
I guess the top of this list would be people can be judgmental and nasty- especially when they see someone vulnerable. Not that it matters, but I was married when I fell pregnant, but whether I was married, single or otherwise, nobody had the right to make nasty comments or give me dark looks when I was waddling around with a rather large baby bump. I’ll never forget being told that “if your mother had have taught you better, you wouldn’t be in this situation”. Yes, the first lesson I learnt was people can be down right horrible, and often feel like they have the right to judge someone else- please note they don’t.
Another tough lesson I learnt was that you have to take care of yourself too. I guess I haven’t flown enough for that important pre-flight message to sink in (the one they give in the safety briefing) ‘fit your own oxegen mask before assisting others’. If you aren’t doing well, then how are you going to help others, or be the best mother, or person you can be!? Self care is so important, and it’s something that can be very simple. It took me a few years, and a lot of tears and days of feeling lost and drained before I figured out this lesson. It’s one I forget from time to time, and it’s probably the most important lesson I learned as a young mother. A great resource I have had the pleasure of using is Self- Care for Mothers e-book and workbook- I loved working through the book and found it a great source of ideas. (Please note I gain nothing from mentioning this book- it’s just a great book, by a fellow Mum who is also a mental health worker & someone I think is pretty cool!)
Money doesn’t grow on trees (but I wish it did), but maybe the lesson should be- babies cost more than you think. Wow, those nappies sure do add up fast! If you add in clothes and the other baby paraphernalia you suddenly need, the cost of having a baby has the potential to be overwhelming. I had been ok with living on a small budget before kids, but oh my goodness, I was in for a shock once I had my first baby. I had no career, so had no maternity leave, and hubby was working in a low paid job, doing insane hours. It is safe to say money gets tight fast once you have an extra person in the house, and while I expected some costs, there were others that came along that really drained our bank account. I’ll never forget doing the washing and finding a disintegrated bank note in the washing machine, it was my ‘spare’ money from that week, and I had not another cent in my wallet. I cried so hard, because I felt like I was letting my husband down- not only was I the one going and doing the food shopping, and therefore spending the money that he was earning, but I had no way of earning money for the family too- it was a really tough time, and one that made me appreciate a) just how expensive a baby is and b) how trapped you can feel as a mother to a newborn baby.
My last lesson, is one I value the most- we have an endless capacity for love. My heart just keeps expanding and making room, every time I add someone to my life that I love. My first son showed me a love that I had never before experienced, and was completely unprepared for, and it was the same when I had Max and Charlie. You don’t have a finite amount of love to give- you heart simply grows to make room for the next person you choose to add to your life.
Some of these lessons were really tough to learn, I had many tears shed and days of feeling lost before I learnt them and grew from those lessons. Is there anything you would include in this list? Or did you experience something similar or different when you had kids?