Every new mum loves advice, especially from a complete and utter stranger. So, here goes.
1. Don’t believe anyone who says that they find mothering easy or that their baby slept through the night from day one. They’re lying. It’s that simple.
2. Ask for help. I think far too many mothers think that being a successful parent means doing everything yourself. This is absolutely not the case. It really does take a village to raise a baby, so reach and out and accept help from anybody who is willing to give it.
3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Lord knows you’re going to have enough people, newspapers and ‘experts’ doing that for you. Motherhood is a wacky journey full of ups and downs. It’ll bring you immense joy and intense sorrow. The best thing you can do is relax, go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
4. Get out of the house, or palace, every day. Fresh air is an amazing thing. It will make you feel more human and clear your head in an instant.
5. Start as you mean to continue. As a mother who was told in hospital that you can’t spoil a baby and who ended up three months later with a baby who had a severe dummy addiction and would only sleep while being rocked, I learned this the hard way. Want your baby to sleep in her own cot? Start putting her there straight away. Can’t imagine yourself rocking a three year old to sleep every night? Avoid doing it wherever possible. You’re only creating problems for yourself down the track.
6. Beware of the most dangerous disease that can plague new mums: oneup-mum-ship. Mothers of newborns have a crazy ability to be super competitive. Sometimes they don’t mean to be this way and sometimes – oh boy – they really do. Just remember that every baby is different and will develop and do things at their own rate, when they’re ready. Babies are impossible to compare so don’t even bother.
7. Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is so, so important. Every 10 minutes you can get helps as a new mum. The house work…umm…I mean…being regal and pretty and charitable can wait till tomorrow. I promise. Also, learn to sleep anywhere. This skill will most definitely come in handy. Prior to having my daughter I needed my own bed and complete darkness to enter the land of nod. Now, I could fall asleep standing on my head, making dinner. Seriously.
8. Find a way to wear your hair up that looks half decent because believe me, most days you won’t even be able to think about doing it. Oh wait, you probably have a personal hairdresser, don’t you? Ok, forget that one then. But as long and beautiful and perfectly shiny as your ‘do is, it won’t be practical around teeny tiny hands that are learning to grasp. Mummy’s hair is way more interesting than Sophie the Giraffe or even great-granny’s jewels. On that note, don’t buy Sophie the Giraffe in the first place; she may be trendy but my baby is far from impressed. And back on the hair issue – be prepared to have the maids (help? servants? what is the PC term these days?) clean the bathroom floor every time you brush your mane because you will lose a scary amount after having your little one.
9. Spend some quality time with ol’ Willy-boy. Becoming a mother leads to an experience of true and real love like no other, but during those first few months it can be all too easy to forget your other love, your hubby. It is really important to take some time out of every day to spend with him. Even if it is just a quiet cuddle in the corner or a brisk stroll around the grounds of the manor. You’ll be much better equipped to handle all of the curve balls that new parenthood throws at you if you remember to look after each other too.
10. Don’t listen to everyone’s advice. In fact, ignore most of it. Especially that which comes from people who don’t know you or your baby and particularly that which is actually criticism cleverly disguised as advice. When you have a baby everyone thinks they know best and everyone wants to tell what you ‘should’ be doing. In reality, more often than not they’re just trying to justify and validate their own choices. Just smile your best Duchess-y smile and nod your best Duchess-y nod. No one knows what is best for you and your little prince or princess more than you.
So, in other words, forget everything I’ve just said and do whatever you think is best.