Kensington Mums was established in 2011 with the aim of sharing knowledge and experiences to help fellow mums learn from one another. Today the network command an audience of London based mothers, many of whom live outside of the Kensington area but tap into the community for its blend of events, advice and connectivity.

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

Founder Dina Maktabi offers up the seven things she would tell a first-time mum:

Find your Mamma tribe

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of finding your mamma tribe. You need people around you that can relate to what you’re going through. It is key to maintaining your sanity and allowing you to fully enjoy your mothering experience. Happy mummy, happy baby. After all, it takes a village to raise a mother.

Tiredness takes on a new meaning.

Before having babies being tired meant that you went to bed late or that you were woken up by a car alarm for half an hour during the night. Tiredness post birth is a whole new experience that is hard to convey. You are there in body, but very frequently not really there in mind. I’ve heard the post-natal brain described as an economy light bulb: on, but not very bright. People are usually kind about this phase and, it has to be stressed, it is just a phase.

No disgusting stone will be left unturned.

One of the first things you learn when you become a mother is that #poochat is fairly standard. It’s vital that you leave your inhibitions at the door to survive this intellectually unchallenging topic. When they’re born, babies do very little so one of the key things that you can focus on when you’re a new mum is how much they poo; what the size is; what the consistency is; what the colour is etc… When your world feels like it’s spiraling out of control, it makes you feel better that your child’s excrement is deemed to be normal. Fact.

It’s ok not to be ok.

Most women suffer some form of post-natal depression; whether a mild form of baby blues or something more severe. Nevertheless, a recent study indicated that only 1 in 5 speak to their doctor about it. Too many women feel that they should be doing it all and should be Instagrammably happy with their lot.

No-one should have to suffer in silence. Always speak up. Mum friends are essential in maintaining your mental health. They understand your plight – whether exactly or theoretically. Speaking out is always the answer, or the start of one.

You can’t do everything

There’s a culture of portraying yourself as 100% perfect – being the perfect mother peppered with a successful job, day trips, baking, interior design, organic lunchboxes, homemade lemonade, girl’s night outs etc etc etc. NONE OF IT IS REAL. There is no way you can do everything. It is just not possible.

When it comes to Instagram vs realilty, the two images are inhabiting two totally different spaces. They’re completely incompatible. Shortcuts are a vital ingredient in maintaining a mother’s sanity. Buy a cake from Sainsbury’s; buy ready chopped up onions; don’t go to every single birthday party; don’t spend all day cleaning for your mum friends when they know that in reality it’s always a tip because their houses are too!

Be kind to yourself.

It’s a sad truth that many mums forget to look after themselves after they give birth. Make sure you get a bit of time off once in a while. The good times are wonderful and we all love our kids, but the good times can be made all the better if you catch a little break now and again. Indulge in a bit of pampering; go and see a girlfriend; go for a run… make sure you’re having a bit of ‘me time’ or you’ll find your fuse is far shorter and your temper far quicker and your relationships with your family members might suffer as a result. Remember, self-care is not selfish.

And when it comes to loving your child, your cup will runneth over.

It’s impossible to describe the love that you will feel when you first meet your newborn. The intensity of this emotion to anyone who hasn’t experienced it is hard to convey.

Which is why we will put up with the fact that life will never be the same again. Because it will always be worth it.

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