You need positive reinforcement. We’re all winging it most of the time, terrified of what damage we might be causing to our little ones (or at least giving them plenty to discuss with their therapist in years to come). Sometimes you need someone else, who has been there, done that, telling you you’re doing everything right, and if you’re not, you’re doing the best you can.
Sometimes you need the V chat. Some unspeakable things happen to your body during childbirth. Sometimes, you really need to have that chat about whether you will ever be the same again, and why no one ever spoke about vaginal tears. Yes ladies, it’s a thing.
You need some childcare backup. Conference calls when you’re trying to be ‘mom’ are so tough (as you pretend desperately that you’re fully engaged in the call and watch with horror as your little one smears lipstick on your walls). Only another mama will be confident enough to pick them up, distract them with cookies or at least make crazy faces to stop them from crying so you can be ‘work you’.
They are no longer grossed out by bodily fluids either. I am the most squeamish person. All of a sudden, my tolerance for poop, bogies and sick have increased tenfold. Nothing screams tolerance like being able to deal with scrapping an unidentified ‘blob’ off your Celine trousers like Motherhood. Another mama will never flinch as they wipe your child’s vomit from their shoe.
We see the world differently. Fin looks at the world with the most incredible innocence. His questions are grounding and enlightening. He doesn’t understand inequality, and yet his own sense of what is unfair or wrong is so strong, it reminds me everyday how impactful we are, and society is, on children’s view of the world. Sometimes, you need someone who will equally marvel at their innocence and want to strive to protect it too.
The silent understanding that Balance is Bullsh*t. There was so much narrative surrounding ‘balance’ when I was pregnant. I genuinely believed it was possible to be the perfect mother, employee, wife, daughter, friend, and still have ‘time for me’. No surprise then, it’s not. When I wasn’t achieving the mystical balance, I felt like I was failing. As soon as I started to understand that life is about juggling, everything changed. I became much kinder to myself, and realistic about what I could do. Sometimes i’m an amazing mommy, sometimes I am killing it at work, it rarely happens all at once, and that, is ok. This is something you never need to explain or apologise to your mama friends for. They’re already living it.
There is no right way to mother. I remember I used to have wild ideas about motherhood. I wouldn’t only have organic toys, I would always wear heels, I would NEVER let my child eat junk food. I don’t know where these ideas came from, and I have let them go. You have to. Having a support network of other like minded women is going to support you in your chosen mothering path, whatever that is.
Motherhood has changed the way I approach work. I am more empathetic. I want to understand people’s frustrations, I want to listen more. Motherhood creates a patience in you that is invaluable. There is something calming about another woman who has also experienced this shift in mindset.
It will ALWAYS upset you when another child hurts yours. I never appreciated how hard it must have been for my own mum when I told her about another child being cruel to me, or hurting me. I appreciate that more and more. Sometimes the only person who will be as wounded as you are that someone has upset your little one, is another mother.
Toddler truths hurt. There is nothing like a little person to tell you exactly how it is. Still, nothing prepares you for the “mama, do you have a moustache”. Loudly. In a public place. A mama friend in the same position is going to see your toddler insult, and raise it, tenfold.
Michelle Kennedy gained recognition in the tech industry by successfully transforming globally renowned dating platform Badoo and being integral to launching Bumble. She is the Co-founder and CEO of the app Peanut, created to help new mums and mums-to-be connect. Aimed at a mobile-first generation of women, Peanut is a smart and chic solution for mothers to chat, meet up with, share and learn from like minded women, who are mums. Peanut is set to transform the way new mothers meet and interact.
Peanut aims to build a community of mothers and unite women on a wide scale, facilitating conversations that women want and need to have. Michelle believes in connecting women because they genuinely have things in common, not just because they’re mums.
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