Use the Force, first-time mums

Luke Skywalker

BEN KENOBI: Use the Force, Luke.

Luke is zooming down the Death Star trench. He looks up, then starts to look back into the targeting device. He has second thoughts.

BEN’S VOICE: Let go, Luke.

A grim determination sweeps across Luke’s face as he closes his eyes and starts to mumble Ben’s training to himself. Darth Vader is in close pursuit.

VADER: The Force is strong with this one!

Luke looks to the targeting device, then away as he hears Ben’s voice.

BEN’S VOICE: Luke, trust me.

Luke’s hand reaches for the control panel and presses the button. The targeting device moves away.
Back at the base Leia and the others stand watching the projected screen.

BASE VOICE (over speaker): His computer’s off. Luke, you switched off your targeting computer. What’s wrong?

LUKE (over speaker): Nothing. I’m all right.

The other day I met up with a friend who has a 2 year old and an 8 month old. I asked her what it’s like looking after a baby when you’ve already done it once and her response really struck a chord with me. She said “This time around is a lot more fun because I’ve learnt to trust myself“.

I’m fairly sure that when you have a baby your energy is split into thirds:
1/3 looking after the baby
1/3 coping with lack of sleep
1/3 worry and doubt
Imagine if you could eliminate that last one?! With your first baby everything is new, you blunder around looking for advice, reading this, googling that, and ultimately binning the lot and going with your best instinct. The second time around (it would seem) you do away with self-doubt and go straight to trusting your instincts. Now this may be because you have more faith in yourself, or it may be because you simply don’t have time to worry and doubt yourself (that 1/3 doubt becomes 1/3 chasing your two year old around!) But either way there must be an argument here for relaxing a bit with baby number one.

Whatever today’s worry is you’ll find 100 different opinions on what to do but when it comes down to it the best approach will always be what you as a parent feel comfortable and confident with. If that means feeding your baby to sleep then so be it. If you don’t want to use formula milk that’s ok. If they co-sleep with you until they’re 16, fine! (Little bit extreme but you get my point.) When it comes down to it we all know what is best for our baby (medical matters aside) and if we start to believe that then we can reclaim the energy we’ve lost worrying, doubting and googling.

I’ve been wondering if you’re a bad mother if you don’t read everything there is to read. Now I’m starting to think that you might be a better mother for not reading everything! For example, I’m well into weaning little Jim now. It’s loads of fun and we’re having a good time working it all out together. Right at the start I was reading loads and trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do. There was such an overwhelming amount of advice that I’ve given up on all that and I’m feeding him the amount and types of food that I think are right. I equipped myself with the basic principles, but beyond that I’ll work it out myself. If his food tastes suddenly change I am determined not to worry but to go with it.

I’m turning off the guidance system. A quick peak for advice every now and then, but that’s it. Wish me luck!

And what happened to Luke Skywalker? He turned off his targeting computer, destroyed the Death Star and became the most powerful Jedi of all. Let’s do it first-time mums…parenting Jedi-style.

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One thought on “Use the Force, first-time mums

  1. I think this is so true – you become a bit more laid back when you have your second or third, partly because you don’t have as much time to panic, and partly because you have some prior knowledge that should help you through this time round. So yes, trust yourself!

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