Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Mum’s are often asked the question, ‘What do you wish you'd known before you had your baby?’ The reply usually goes something like... I wish someone had told me just how tired I would be, that breastfeeding would be hard, my hair would fall out, etc. My answer - I wish someone had told me it was okay to still be yourself.
Frankie was conceived on my 23rd birthday. So, I guess I was a fairly young Mum. I didn’t have many people to look up to who held the title of ‘Mum’, apart from my own. So, I just sort of copied what she did. Which resulted in me completely forgetting who I was before I became a Mum. So, here are my 5 tips on how to be yourself when you’re a new Mum.
1. Follow Social Media accounts that inspire you.
It wasn’t until I found accounts like Dress Like a Mum and Mere Souer, that I asked myself ‘Where the hell have you been Gaby?’. Ever since Frankie was born and even more so since I started Frankie’s Threads, my Instagram feed was full of babies and my YouTube was full of birth stories and pregnancy vlogs. There’s nothing wrong with this, if anything it shows I took my role as Mum very seriously... But there was not a morsel of evidence that I even existed as non-Mum Gaby.
Unfollow accounts that make you feel like you need to be someone else and fill your feed with things you love and that remind you who you are. Whether that’s fashion, make up, memes or politics. Whatever floats your boat.
2. Fight the urge to ‘dress like a mum’.
Yes, your style is going to change and you’re probably going to head for comfort over style and if you’re breastfeeding then you need to consider easy access in all your outfit choices and not in a way you might have done before. But if you were obsessed with colour before you grew a miracle in your belly, then why are you wearing beige? If you loved obnoxious slogan tee’s before you birthed a child, then why are you wearing a Breton striped top? If your thing was a power suit before you became Mummy, then why are you wearing sweat pants? Don’t feel pressured to fit in with all the other Mum’s, you should dress in a way that puts a smile on your face. I realised it was okay to be a Mum with pink hair and orange pants, and that actually my son would respect me more for being myself.
3. Do parenting your way.
As a first time Mum, it’s so easy to compare yourself to the other Mum’s at playgroup or even your own Mum. You might fall into the trap of taking their advice a bit too literally. Yeah so, you might not have been a Mum before, but you’ve been a person for a pretty long time. So, you probably know what you like and dislike, you’ve probably made mistakes and learned from them, you probably know the values you’d like to pass on to your kid. You do you and ignore what everyone else is doing.
4. Make time for the things you used to enjoy.
Just because you have a baby now doesn’t mean you can’t have the same hobbies and interests. If you have a baby attached to your hip 24/7 then you can always find baby friendly alternatives to what you used to like. If like me you’re a foodie, look for kid friendly restaurants (more on this to come). If you used to love a rave, there are lots of baby raves and family friendly festivals. If you’re creative, you can unleash your inner artist at messy play. Or if fitness is your thing then there is sure to be a local gym class with crèche. If you do manage some time away from your offspring, then make time to do what you really love, which let’s face it, you'll probably sleep.
5. Trust that you are good enough!
I guess the most important thing is to realise you don't have to change who you are, how you dress or the music you like in order to be a good Mum. Trust that you are good enough as you are. I think the minute I realised this was when I became a better Mum. I want to teach Frankie the importance of being yourself. How was I supposed to teach him that without leading by example.
I decided to write this blog because it's something I wish I would have found in the first few months of motherhood. I hope it gives at least one of you the confidence to be yourself.