Five lessons motherhood has taught me…. And that every mom-to-be NEEDS TO KNOW!

You know who are the world’s greatest experts on parenting? Anyone who isn’t a parent yet. You hear them dole out maximum advice on how parenting should be—“look how that baby is screaming in the airplane. Her parents clearly don’t know how to manage her?” or “That woman is giving her daughter pasta for dinner! God, how lazy. She should only be giving her organic food.” Till recently, I was one of them. Someone with very strong ideas on the kind of parent I would like to be, and more importantly, the kind of parenting that is ‘correct’. That was until I became one myself. 

Today, after a blur of 8 months, I have no advice to give. I know now, for a fact, that there is nothing like ‘correct’ parenting. And that every parent tries their best. However, there are a few things I learnt along my journey, and hopefully they might help others embarking on the path to motherhood. 

#1. Kids are designed to survive new parents. Yours’ too will be fine! 

One thing I keep reminding myself in my journey to parenting is that today, our country is being governed by a man who was raised by a tea seller at a railway station. He did not grow up with Montessori toys, organic food, sleep training or 100% organic linen. But you know what? He’s killing it. We tend to put too much pressure on ourselves when raising our babies, thinking every tiny thing we do will have some sort of life altering impact on their future. Truth is, the only thing that matters is that you be a happy parent to them and give them the right values. Everything else they’ll survive. 

#2. You can’t pour from an empty cup

As I pour myself a glass of wine, hoping to drown out the screams coming from the nursery, do I feel guilty? NO. To raise happy, healthy children, you need to be that first. If you’re constantly tired, angry, overwhelmed or unhappy, it’s going to have a serious impact on your entire family. We’re trained to believe that a mother should only sacrifice for her baby. But I don’t believe that. I believe I always come first. While my baby will always be a priority, I can only raise her well if my mind and body are in a good place. So yes, keep yourself happy so you can keep everyone else happy!  

#3. Find your spiritual noise cancelling headphones! 

Like I said right at the start, everyone knows how to parent your child better than you. Especially in India. You will get constant gyan about what you should and should not be doing, and it will be persistent. No matter what you do, it’s going to be wrong. You can’t change the world, so just stop listening to it. Do your thing and carry on. 

#4. Your questions are not stupid. 

I remember Googling all sorts of things all the time, cause the questions in my mind were too stupid to ask anyone. From how to put batteries in some of Inaaya’s toys to what the colour of her poop meant. I was just too embarrassed to ask these questions to anyone. That is, till I realized that every new mom was struggling with the same stuff. Women are not born with some special wisdom on how to be a mom. So when it happens, you’ll be learning on the job. No matter how silly your question, ask another mom. She’ll know what you’re going through. 

#5. NO JUDGEMENT PLS.

This is literally the most important life lesson I have learnt after becoming a mom. I don’t know if it’s just because it makes for good conversation, or because it makes us feel better about ourselves, but as a species we tend to judge a lot. We have an opinion on how everyone lives their life, clearly under the misguided perception that we are living it perfectly. I was just the same. Until I became a mother. Until by baby screeched uncontrollably on a 3 hour flight to Chennai. Until she turned my in-laws home upside down, throwing things around. Until she refused to eat a bite of food (and when no one was looking, I tried showing her a cartoon to get her to eat!). Everything I had judged others on, I went through, and now I’m done. No matter what a parent does, today I truly believe it is their version of the best. 

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Tanvi Saraf

Tanvi Saraf is a writer, editor and traveller who's recently moved to the south. Having worked with the country's leading publications, including Marie Claire, India Today, Harper's Bazaar Bride and L'officiel, she now heads marketing for WeddingWishlist.com & CherryTin.com. Her life's philosophy and choices are guided by her motto, "Enjoy it. Because it's happening", and with both our websites, she's all set to bring the joy back to gifting.

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