I’m not the Mum I thought I would be

Ooh er, coming back after a blog hiatus and kicking things off with a controversial post title. This is, though, the one thing I want to say before all of the other things I want to say. It’s more vital I get this out than the fact my newborn is now over nine months old; that  breastfeeding is infinitely more rewarding (and initially harder) than I expected; that I’m finally feeling more like myself; or any of the other things I want to talk about. Because, actually, all of those things follow on from the simple truth that I’m not the mother I thought I would be. 

This is the mum I thought I’d be:

  • Don’t pick him up too much, he’ll be mollycoddled
  • Routine, routine, routine – this baby will fit into our lives not the other way round
  • Get him used to his cot as early as possible
  • Get him to sleep through the night as soon as poss because I love sleep
  • Breastfeeding is fine (although jeez everyone needs to stop banging on about it) but I’m not wedded to it so we will see how it goes.

The mum I’ve actually turned out to be is, basically, the complete opposite of the above. I’m pretty much baby led in most things, including feeding and routine. That’s to say – we follow a basic routine but it’s Bug that has laid out what we do and when, I just follow along. 

My baby is a terrible sleeper. I rock him to sleep, I boobfeed him to sleep, I cuddle him to sleep and then he sleeps with us all night with multiple wake ups where he rolls over for some food. This is the best and easiest way to ensure we all get some sleep. 

The above decision was made at 3am one night when, sweating and exhausted, I tried to put him down in his cot for the millionth time, only for him to wake up. I thought to myself, “I have to get him to sleep in his cot or else…” and I then tried to finish that sentence: or else what, exactly? What was the worst thing that could happen? My son is a happy, secure, lively baby. One day he’ll be able to sleep on his own because that’s how humans function. He will also be able to walk and talk but, for some reason, I wasn’t freaking out about the fact that he wasn’t doing either of those things yet. Just like walking and talking, he isn’t developmentally ready to sleep alone and unaided. I know this because I’m his mum.

Oh yes, that’s another thing I used to scoff at before I became a mum: the idea of a mother’s instinct. It’s pretty much the driving force of much of my decision making in relation to my son so, er, again not the mother I thought I’d be.

I’ve also become one of those people who bang on about breastfeeding. For my son, it’s so, so much more than just about nutrition, it’s how I calm him, how I relax him, how I help him to go to sleep. It’s by far the most important tool in my parenting box. It’s hard. They don’t tell you that in NCT and they really should because then it wouldn’t be such a shock. But if you manage to make it work, it’s absolutely fabulous.

My son and I both had a tough birth and he was not a happy bunny for the first few weeks of his life. So I carried him around in a sling. Again, this was not at all part of my parenting philosophy but my goodness it worked. He slowly stopped being so anxious, he became calmer, he started to enjoy the world instead of sending out “I WANT TO GO BACK IN” vibes all the time. 

I think what’s hardest about being the type of mother I’ve turned out to be is that my type of mothering (I should say parenting as my husband is similar) is not the mainstream. Telling people that you bedshare with your baby gets a similar reaction to telling people you feed your baby crack. I’m one of only a small handful of mums who are still breastfeeding, and I’m aware that I’ll continue to be in the minority as we approach Bug’s first birthday as only 0.5% of UK mums continue feeding to this milestone. It can feel a bit lonely being the only one doing things a certain way. But I strongly believe that I’m parenting my baby in the way that he needs. As long as he’s happy, so am I. 

So, here we are: nine months in and I’m absolutely not the mother I thought I would be. But, actually, I quite like the one I’ve become.

My Petit Canard

8 thoughts on “I’m not the Mum I thought I would be

  1. LOVE this. It’s funny how our expectations can be so different from our reality. I am in awe of the fact you came to the realisation yourself that what you all needed was sleep and he didnt have to go in his cot. That’s pretty amazing, probably that there mother’s instinct thing!
    I remember feeling very isolated about feeding my son over 12 months and that’s when I popped along to some breastfeeding groups. Actually a couple of the groups i went to made me feel it the other way – i gave him some water or something and didn’t fit it AND i stopped (he stopped) at 17 months which was young in the group.
    Welcome back to the blogosphere!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. littlebug

      Thank you, it’s nice to be back!
      Yes, I don’t think there’s any way to really prepare for the reality of having a child and being a parent. I’m quite lucky with the sleep thing as my mum is from a country where co sleeping is the norm (cots aren’t a “thing”) so I know it doesn’t produce crazy, needy babies. That’s helping me deal with all of the comments…!
      Argh that’s so frustrating about the breastfeeding groups. Wherever you turn as a parent there’s someone acting like you’re doing it wrong. 17 months is blinking brilliant for a breastfeeding journey, I hope we make it that long xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post. I remember when I was pregnant with my third I always told myself I wasn’t go to co-sleep, he was going to fall into routine with us etc but nope I have done everything I said I wouldn’t do haha. #MarvMondays


    1. littlebug

      Haha, yes šŸ™ŒšŸ½ It’s good to have ideas about how you plan to do things but it’s just as important to throw those ideas out of the window of you need to! Thanks šŸ™‚ #marvmondays


  3. What comes through in this post isn’t necessarily what’s the right or wrong way of doing anything, but how happy you are together, doing your thing, and being his Mummy. That, is what they call a #win. Beautiful.
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. littlebug

      Oh good, I’m glad that’s how you interpreted it – it definitely was not a case of right and wrong, just simply that I had a baby who required a different approach to parenting that the one I had envisaged.
      Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub!


  4. justjessreality

    Yes, I’m a mom for the second time to a 3 month old and nothing went as planned with my son or now my daughter. between the colic, fussy teething where none of the toys help and you try to avoid getting the baby orajel. Now my son consistently wants to tell me he doesn’t want to eat what I cooked and I have to charm him into it and have him help me because then its soo much better. lol We are never the moms we plan but we have healthy happy children so we are the best moms for our kids. I loved your post, And keep on breastfeeding!!


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