[AD – Paid Partnership with Asda Little Angels]
As the mum of two small babies, over the past few months, I’ve had a great tactic for feeling like I’m winning at life: I’ve lowered my expectations. What I mean by that is, as long as I’d got to the end of the day in one piece, and my babies had got to the end of the day in one piece, I considered it a win. There were days I didn’t shower, days I didn’t brush my teeth. There were days one baby (or both!) wouldn’t stop crying. There were days I’d get them off to sleep just as the doorbell went, waking them up. There were days I’d find myself shouting at the eight-year-old over something small. There were days when I cried just because I felt so tired and why does it feel so hard today?
But on those days, I’d remind myself that as long as my children were being fed, kept warm and getting lots of cuddles, and as long as I was looking after myself by drinking lots of water and taking the chance to nap when I could, and eating the odd banana in between all the biscuits, then I was doing OK!
It’s hard though, to remember that, when you’re in the thick of it. And it’s not just in those early days that the feeling of failure creeps in. It can happen at any time.
Interestingly, new research by Asda Little Angels shows that 67% of new parents admit they set themselves unrealistic expectations – that’s two thirds of us! It’s not that surprising, when you think about how parenthood is often portrayed by celebrities or in movies or on social media. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’s an endless stream of picture-perfect moments – heartmelting smiles, cute outfits, being snuggled up with your little one, all blissfully happy. And of course, many of us do experience those moments, but they are peppered throughout days which can be mundane at best and stressful at worst.
The research also discovered that over half of new parents go months between date nights with their partners, face a never-ending pile of laundry, nearly half of us don’t get dressed before midday, and we tolerate cold cups of tea. I mean, if that’s not a clear description of my life, right now, I don’t know what is!
But it’s reassuring to know that most other parents are like me – trying to keep it together and winging it every day. It’s something that comes up on Nappy Natters, the podcast series that I’m hosting for Asda Little Angels. In episode one – which focuses on pregnancy – new mums Nic and Lorna chat to me about what pregnancy was really like for them (anxiety and morning sickness came up) and in episodes two and three, I chat to Leanne, Lorna and Jade about the realities of motherhood. It was really refreshing to hear honest stories about the highs and lows of being a mum – like me, these ladies wouldn’t change anything for the world, but they’re not afraid to admit that sometimes it’s hard!
So, if you’re one of the 90% of new parents who feels like they’re failing, may I suggest you listen to the Nappy Natters podcast pronto?! It might just make you feel a bit better about your day.