Life skills my baby has taught me

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You’ve worked hard all your life, forged a career, built up a business maybe, and whether or not you like your job, it keeps you busy and forces you to use your brain a bit. Then suddenly the baby arrives, and you’re so absorbed in everything it entails that you can’t help wonder if all the grey matter has gone to, well, mush. Fear not though, your baby is teaching you some invaluable life skills, as Rachel Tompkins celebrates…

How to survive on very little sleep

Babies excel in teaching us this life skill. And although it might not feel like it at the time, it does mean that you’ll be joining the much celebrated ‘sleepless elite’. Margaret Thatcher is said to have belonged to this group because she only got four hours sleep a night. Whatever your political beliefs, there’s no denying Maggie achieved quite a bit on very little zzzz’s!  So if it’s good enough for her….

Working quickly under pressure

Anyone who can successfully assemble a new buggy and then master how to collapse it to go into the car and then open it out again is surely worthy of a degree in engineering? Then there’s the car seat to contend with too. Add a screaming, wriggling baby into the mix and your ability to work under pressure would be on a par with a winning Crystal Maze contestant.

Being able to remember everything

And I mean everything! From where that precious tatty muslin that they won’t go to sleep without has hidden itself, to knowing where the plastic Calpol syringe was last left. You quickly realise that the quicker you can remember these vital little nuggets, the less time you spend dashing around the house clutching a crying baby. 

The ability to recite every nursery rhyme verbatim

From ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ to ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, this skill is one that you acquire gradually and subliminally. You’ll experience that cringeworthy awkwardness at your first few baby singing groups (don’t worry we’ve all been there). Then the more you go, the more the words and lyrics of every nursery rhyme under the sun will creep into your consciousness. Before you know it you’ll be nonchalantly singing them out loud even when the baby has long since fallen asleep.

The knowledge that your body is amazing

You’ve not only grown a human being inside you in less than a year, you’ve also managed to safely bring it into the world. Experiencing your body going through such a seismic change really shouldn’t be underestimated. No doubt you’ll feel a shadow of your former self to begin with, but slowly, as the months pass you’ll start to feel stronger and more like ‘you’ again. Us women are our own worst enemy though. We’ve all looked at our post-baby body in the mirror and wondered if it’ll ever be the same as before. It might not be exactly the same, but just look what it created. Worth getting a few saggy/wrinky/droopy bits for that’s for sure.

You’re stronger than you think

Not wanting to get all cheesy, but when you have a second to stand back and reflect on how much you’ve learnt since becoming a mum, you really are stronger than you think. In the physical sense of course – lugging a baby and car seat around sees to that (or completely knackers your back in my case). But also in spirit too. I for one could never imagined being able to survive on so little sleep before I had children. Or to being able to mentally plan in my head what we were all wearing that day and what we were having for lunch and dinner before I even got out of bed! Not to mention being strong enough to withstand all the tough times (and the good times that are so good you want to cry with happiness) that being a mum throws at you. But sometimes just looking at that tiny, vulnerable little bundle that’s totally reliant on you can’t help but make you feel pretty darn amazing. High-five superwomen!

@RachTompkins@mushmums