This is how you should treat a first time mum.

Listen up, take notes.

I need to stress that this article isn’t about how to treat mothers, but first-time mothers.

And before mothers-of-four start criticising, I’d ask them to reflect, really reflect, on what it was like when there was just one child. One person who completely disrupted life as you knew it. A person who turned everything upside down. A person who you had to look after, even if you had no idea how to go about it.

I have no doubt that looking after multiple children is challenging, so challenging! But there are some things that can be forgotten even after you’ve had children, such as the terror a first-time Mum feels, often on a daily basis. Here are my top tips for treating a first-time Mum (based on my own experience). 

1. Don’t let your two-year-old hold the baby without asking.

I have no problem with babies holding babies, I really don’t. I do, however, have a problem with you not watching them hold my baby. Or letting your baby hold them when they’re not supported!  While you may be at a stage where you’re confident with your children, I’m still learning. And I’m not OK with an unnecessary bump to a head, which is the perfect segway to…

Being a first time Mum is very special, but some of us have forgotten what it can be like.

2. Don’t tell us it’s no big deal.

“Oh, James did so much worse. When he was six months old he fell off the bed!” That’s great, I say. Well done you for getting through that. That doesn’t mean I can’t freak out when my little one has attempted to gouge her eye out. Yes, it might be low on the baby-damage-scale, but I’m a new Mum and I freak out whenever my child isn’t completely happy.

3. Be patient in conversation.

There are two points to this one. The first being that we get distracted really easily. We are constantly watching our baby. So if darling sprog spits up and I stop midway in conversation to chat to her and clean it up, please forgive me. And also, remember this, we have acquired this amazing skill where we can pick up conversations exactly where we left them off before the distractions. Really, it’s not that we’re not listening, it’s just that we’re undertaking a masters’ class in multi-tasking.

The second is sometimes it’s hard to have a conversation about anything other than the baby. Why? Because that is our lives now, that’s all we have time for. Life has become about being Mum. It’s new. It’s scary. And we need to talk about it. But please, please, talk to us about something else.  Help us remember the world out there. Help us remember how to have an adult conversation! And be patient while we remember how to do it.

Don't be dismissive of any problems first time Mum's have, everything is new and sometimes scary.

4. Let us be late.

So, so, late. In fact, let us cancel on you at the last minute. Working out baby’s routine is really difficult. And, when it’s all new, sometimes getting organised is a daunting task. Please be patient, we will get there.

5. Be gentle.

Did anyone order a batch of hormones? How about broken sleep? Put all that together with a bit of new-mother-anxiety and you have volatile mix. Know that the new Mum might be a bit sensitive. We might even be prone to over-analysing every little thing (in my case, more than usual). So that flippant joke might not be taken that way, that hilarious insult might be demoralising, that criticism on baby’s paunch devastating. Treat us very, very carefully!

6. Finally, ask.

Please, please, don’t make any assumptions about me or my baby. To me, the new Mum, my baby is the most precious thing in the universe, so beautiful, but fragile, and I’m nervous – this all-consuming love is new to me. But all that nervousness dissipates when someone takes the time to ask me if bubs can play with Jenna’s toy (sure, no problem), or have a bite of watermelon (just watch the pips) or watch television (no, she can’t!). It makes me feel like I’m being taken seriously as a mother, and it makes me realise that you have an appreciation for the fact that we all like to parent differently.

What would you have liked someone to do for you when you were a first time mum?

Want more? Try these: 

The massive lies you tell yourself before becoming a parent. 

What your baby's cries actually mean.