Looking back at the time when I first became a mummy, I was overwhelmed with how much there was to do, and sometimes lamented at how much our lives have changed. As time went by, I now look back at those times fondly, and certainly wish that time has more mercy on us as the boy is growing up too fast.
Today, I have a Victoria Koh on the blog. A first time mummy of only 4 months to a boy, Ryan, who she endearingly calls "Chilli"! Let's hear from her on how she is coping and what advice she is dishing out to other new mummies.
1) Welcome to motherhood! Having been 4 months into the job, how do you feel? Has your life changed very much as compared to before the arrival of Chilli?
Drastically! Mainly because my husband & I have been enjoying couple-hood for almost 7 years before I conceived. We were happy and contented with our carefree lives. At times, we will look at our friends who have kids and think to ourselves, phew luckily we have no kids! We have never exactly planned to have a kid although we always say its ok even if we do (yes, contradicting isnt it?) I guess that's also the reason why it took us that long to finally have a baby.
My life is definitely not the same; and even more so now that I'm back to work. I never ever ever thought i would set my alarm to everyday just so i can give Ryan his first feed, change and bond with him for an hour before my husband brings him over to my in law's place. After work, all I want to do is head straight home to see my boy. Ryan is now our top priority, so everything has to be pre-planned and revolve around him. Well, one thing hasn't quite changed for me and that's online shopping! My online purchases are now all for him!
2) What is the one big lesson that motherhood has taught you so far?
I'm never patient, can't stand waiting and will always choose the fastest way out of a situation. But with Ryan, there is no short-cut. Can't possibly ask him to finish his milk in an instant, take his nap at the times I want him to or get him to stop crying immediately isn't it. Also, having a kid doesn't just involve you but the entire village. Enough said because one will need tons of patience just managing them.
Can I also add that motherhood has taught me to be more tolerant and love my family (and extended family) a little bit more. Being the only child and coming from a really small family, I'm never comfortable sharing, be around or get along with people a lot; in short, being anal. I enjoy being alone, doing things my way and personal space means a hell lot to me thus i had a huge shock having to constantly deal with so many different family members after the birth of Ryan. Doubt I will ever get used to it but I know for sure I'm not hating it as much.
3) You have just returned to work, what are your childcare arrangements like and how are you coping?
The first two/three days back at work was the worst. Constantly thinking how he is doing, is he napping enough or simply IS HE OK WITHOUT ME? For myself, i had to adjust back to working mode too. But it's all fine now after 2 weeks :)
As for his childcare arrangements, we enrolled him into infant care when I first went back to work but now he's back at my in law's place. Don't get me wrong, my husband and I do see the good in putting him into infant care and the teachers were fantastic. But the truth is, its tough. I sat in on the first day and I kind of knew I will not continue. It's heartbreaking enough having to leave him for work and even more so leaving him in infant care. It didn't help that he wasn't adapting well and was crying half of the time.
My advice is, leave your child in infant care only if there is absolutely no alternative.
4) Any advice or tips for newly minted mothers in terms of preparing to return to work after maternity?
Trust your caregiver and learn to let go. Weeks before heading back to work, you might want to leave your child with your caregiver for a couple of hours and go out with your girlfriends or husband. It builds your confidence with the caregiver and its also giving your child time to bond with them. New mommies deserved a good pamper too, so go for a spa, do your nails, have a nice meal or whatever that makes you happy!
I run a fortnightly "Working Mommas' Survival Tips linky", and this In Conversation series, we have guest parents on the blog to share how they manage this thing called parenthood amidst all other daily madness. If you have a tip or two (or many many) to share, do link up here.