Dad Instincts

The other day my husband and I were having a tiff over whether our baby girl is in fact teething or just being fussy for no reason; I believed that she is teething, and my husband believed that she is just having an off day and that I don’t need to always assume the worst. Needless to say; this turned into a huge argument, I explained to him that I have “motherly instinct” and that he needs to learn to trust that, he replied by telling me; he also has instincts as a dad – which brings us here.

I have since come to realize that I have this ugly side to me, one that feels I need to be the superior parent, that I somehow need to be the one my baby needs, and that only I can console her when she is upset or not feeling well. The fact of the matter is; that although this is mostly true, it is not true every time.

There has countless times where my baby is upset and I can’t console her, her dad takes her, and she calms down, there could be a million reasons for this; she feeds of off me , so that day I might be a bit more emotional, upset or stressed out, and she feels this too, it affects her world just as much as it does mine, if not more. Her dad on the other hand; takes things in stride, he is generally more laid back, relaxed and rarely gets stressed out (we balance each other out quite well).

At first, this made me feel quite irrelevant, it hurt my feelings that my baby girl was not comforted by me, and that she needed her father instead.

As a new mom, I constantly put pressure on myself to do things “right”, I was adamant that I will be the best mother and I would research anything before making a decision about my baby girl’s development and wellbeing, whether it be her feeding, her sleeping, her play time, her stimulation – EVERYTHING.

This was starting to drive me insane, I was always tired, no matter how much sleep I got at night, I was constantly stressing about her at night for no real reason, constantly doubting my own abilities as a mom. It was taking all the enjoyment out of being a mom in the first place, it made me miss the little moments that I was supposed to be enjoying with my family.

Overcoming my insecurities

Studies have found that a woman only matures at the age of 25 – mostly emotionally, according to this; you only really know what you want to do in life and can face the challenges life throws at you with maturity and a clear head. Well, I don’t know about you, but I am 27 and still don’t feel sure about myself and my future most of the time, and some days I really don’t feel all that mature either.

Overcoming this silly little insecurity took quite some time, I had to really work hard at it, and change my perception of the situation, my husband being so involved is a GOOD thing, him wanting to help and give opinions when she cried or was being cranky; was him being a good father and a good husband, it did not mean that he thought he knew better than me or that he is questioning my abilities as a mother. He simply wants to play a big role in her upbringing, and although he respects my opinion and realizes that I am the one that looks after her the whole day, sometimes, a fresh new opinion or suggestion from the outside is just what a situation calls for.

Looking after your child during the day, every day, can become intense (especially those days that they refuse to sleep and just basically refuse to do anything you want them to), you tend to get into your head too much and it becomes very difficult to take a break and gather your thoughts, or just to even have a cup of tea and plan your day.

Your frustrated, tired, and then dad walks in and says – “maybe you should try and put her in her pram instead” – Immediately you are enraged at the thought, because you have been trying to get her to sleep the whole day, and yet you did not think of that (you can’t tell him that though because you feel stupid for not doing it in the first place)

The Change

I realized that my husband (just like me) also finds joy in parenting, and the fact that our baby girl is comforted by him, yes, he might not have the same bond with her as I do, and yes, he is not always right about what is wrong with her, but neither am I for that matter. Making him feel like he is wrong all the time, also hurts his feelings, so now; even if I know she does not have a fever; if he suggests it, I take her temperature just to be sure, and this level of respect has changed our marriage for the better, he also now feels like I value his opinion and I don’t just brush it off.

This had a ripple effect, he is now more confident in looking after her if I am not there, because he is more confident in his fathering skills and his “fatherly instincts” so to speak, he does not feel the need to call me every ten minutes when she cries, he now knows what to do with her.

We as mothers are quick to dismiss things like “fatherly instincts” because we don’t believe that it could really be a thing, although I don’t think it is more important than “motherly instincts”; fathers all over the world are moving away from the historic “mother does all” way of life and becoming more and more involved in parenting.

I have even seen my husband googling “sleep regression” and “teething symptoms” a few times.

Now that I look at things a little differently; these things warm my heart, and I am so lucky to have a husband that is such a good father to our precious baby girl, and he deserves all the credit in the world for his “fatherly instincts”.

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How we underestimate small talk

Who has the time right !? We are all so busy and overwhelmed with our own lives and motherhood in general, that it sometimes feels like no one understands what we are going through, we tend to isolate ourselves in our own self made unhappiness.

Well I do anyway, it cant be said for everyone because some people are better at addressing their own issues than others, but I tend to feel like my husband does not get how hard it is to be a full time mom, to live in the middle of nowhere (#farmvibes) and to have no family or friends nearby to vent to when things get too much (because lets face it; they do).

Today I did some self reflection and it came to me; the reality of the situation is that, well, he doesn’t completely understand, nor can anyone. No one can truly know what another person is going through unless they have been through it themselves, and even then; people handle situations differently. So instead of focusing and fighting about something that simply cant be changed, I just sat and had a casual conversation with him. Simple right?

Afterwards, I felt so much lighter, it was the first time in so long that I wasn’t focused on how stressed or overwhelmed I was, I just shifted my focus for a minute and it gave me a whole new perspective on things. Don’t get me wrong, there will be days that I still wallow in it, because I am only human. But I just realized what a difference it makes to not focus all of my attention on the hardships in life, to basically give myself a break from it all, by simply not talking about it.

Value those conversations, and make an effort to talk less and listen more because it makes all the difference.

To the stay at home mom

I am the first to admit that quitting my job and staying home full time with my baby sounded awesome, how lucky am I to be in that position to spend all my time with her ? Although that part is true, I was underestimating the whole thing !

I am 11 months in and I have never , NEVER, been this tired ! Granted, she is entering toddler stage as I write this (please keep me in your prayers haha), but it is such hard work, those peaceful ALONE bathroom breaks I used to take at work is enough to make me want to go back to work.

It never ends, and that is what people don’t get. There is this “idea” out there that if you stay at home with your kids you must have so much time on your hands – “what do you do with all your time”; is enough to make a mom want to slap you in the face (sorry for the aggression lol , but we all know it).

I always hate when in the movies the stay at home moms go to pilates and coffee dates with their prams all day – uh hallo ? Does your baby just casually sleep the whole day ?! I mean what ?. It is such a cliche and that is why people think it is such a laidback lifestyle. Where in reality – if you get to put your make up on in the day it means that you had a little “me time”.

So to all the stay at home moms out there – salute ! You are as strong as they come and don’t let anyone tell you different!

Danger ! Entering Toddler Phase

I honestly thought that my baby was a lot of work before, until recently 🤣

My baby girl is approaching 11 months now , and boy is she busy ! And I mean a good busy , she is learning and taking so much in now , she wants to explore everything and plays with everything BUT her toys 🤣 (and by this I mean the dog food, the plugs, the chargers, my cupboards, the remotes, medicine bottles, you name it) it has taken baby proofing to a whole new level !

Today motherhood just got the better of me , I feel exhausted down to my toes, and everything I need to do after she goes to sleep just feels like too much effort.

I just read online “there is no epidural for motherhood” – how true is that ? No matter how hard the day or situation is, you show up, and you give your child the best you can even when its hard. You wake up the next day and somehow just have the energy to do it all again.

But seriously, having a busy baby/toddler is no joke, I spent most my time closing my bathroom doors and hiding something new she found today, but I would not have it any other way and am so grateful that my baby girl is healthy and happy 🙏🏻

How to know when your baby is ready for daycare

I am a stay at home mom, my baby girl is now 10 months old, I know my baby, and I can see that she is not getting enough stimulation at home, I can also see that I am running out of ideas as to how to keep her busy during the day. She gets so excited when she sees other babies or kids. I must add that we live in a rural area, and she also does not see other people but us (except for the occasional visit to my parents or friends) , and then she gets overstimulated by all the excitement of people and malls, its a horrible viscous circle.

So I made the decision to take her to daycare, we live far away from a town, so I decided to take her to the town where my moms lives and only once a month for a few days, just to socialize. Boy that first day I honestly though I made a mistake (I know a lot of you are with me on this one), the crying almost made me turn around to fetch her, luckily I spoke to some moms before the time that said all babies cry the first day and I must just give it time.

The second day I was so nervous to take her , she cried again, and by the time I was out the door she stopped. When I fetched her the woman said it went so much better and my baby girl even smiled at the teacher when we left, they even did little footprint artwork at school that day and I got to take it home. I have never been so proud of ANYTHING in my whole life , that little footprint is on my fridge and I will keep if forever !

After that very long story; all I want to say is that every baby and every situation is different , not all babies benefit from daycare and not all moms can afford to stay home with their babies, follow your instincts, you know your baby best (no matter what the in-laws might say or even your husband), do what you think is best, because most of the time you are right !

I am so glad I decided to do that, and I cant wait to take het again ! 🙏🏻❤️

Don’t let anyone make you feel like less of a mother or that you are doing the wrong thing thing with your child, EVER ! I speak from experience when I say that it is a slippery slope , and soon you will be second guessing yourself around every corner, and you know what ? Life is too short for that nonsense ! If your baby is happy and smiling , who cares what anyone thinks !

Starting to enjoy motherhood

The first few months after we brought our baby home was insane, you stress, you are unsure and you are overwhelmed in every possible way. After that, you seem to kind of find your feet as a mother, but you are still unsure of yourself and your instincts.

Now, Paige is 10 months old, and I just feel more at ease, more confident about being a mother and with following my “gut”.

I also don’t seem to care so much what people think, and lets face it, most moms are not afraid to tell you their opinion of something they are doing! Usually it would upset me that someone would tell me that they would do it differently, now, I just say “oh okay” with a smile and move on. It’s liberating.

I feel like I am starting to come into my own, I get to enjoy every little giggle now without worrying about a milestone that hasn’t been reached yet, or the amount of wet nappies she has had for the day, I am just enjoying her and the time I get to spend with her.

If my baby does not want to sleep or stands in her cot forever without any hope of sleep, I get up, knowing that it is just a phase and she will get over it. Honestly I wish I had this mentality when she was a newborn, I would have enjoyed her more and not stress over everything, but as with everything in life, it was also a phase I needed to go through as a mother, to appreciate the moments I have now, and seeing her grow into a beautiful, smart little girl.

So blessed 🙏🏻

You ARE mom enough

Wow the past few days have been tough !!!! I felt like a failure as a mother, a wife, and just in general. My baby is going through well, something haha, I am never 100% sure what.

Everything I seem to do with her upsets her; getting dressed, wiping her face, feeding her, putting her down, carrying her, and looking at her. I do know its a phase, but wow its getting me under these past few days. It’s exhausting, and its something you cant understand until you go through it yourself.

She is at that age where she wants to do way more than she is capable, and she does not understand why she cant reach the dog bowl from her walker, which results in relentless crying and stomping until I take her out and let her have it. I know I know I am spoiling her, but at this point I just cant be bothered as long as the crying stops.

Its very easy to go to that dark place and think ;”boy I am really not good at this”, you look at other moms and you think they got it all figured out and they are so put together. When you have days where showering feels like you conquered the world. The truth is, they also have struggles and that I can promise you ! If you get up every morning and do your best, put your child’s needs before your own and teach your child to be a good and kind person by being one, then you are mom enough !

That is all you need to do, my sister once told me “up until 2 years old all you have to do is keep them alive” haha , that still makes me feel better when I have days where it feels like that is all I did.

Give yourself a break, learn to look for the humor in tough situations and tell yourself that you are awesome more than once a day! Because by being a mom, you automatically are !