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Finding your Mo(m)jo

Written by Nicole McAuley for her blog, These Wonder Years.

You can follow her on Instagram here!


Nobody knows their baby like their own Mummy nor
can comfort them quite as well. Pretty close – yes.
But that special bond of growing that little person in your body and giving birth to them is something else!

I’ve always enjoyed writing and more recently, my own very amateur photography . That combined with parenthood- my new favourite obsession since 2017 (and before to be honest- show me a Midwife who isn’t ‘baby besotted’) provides a lovely therapeutic hobby for me, not to mention memories in black in white, there for me and my family to read and reminisce over in the future.

I recently took a break from writing these blogs, unsure of where I fitted in and not feeling confident enough to put myself out there. Friends and colleagues have been eagerly asking when my next one will be out/what it will be about which is so kind of them and has given me the little boost that I needed.

I never force a blog topic on myself but wait for it to come to me and let my creative juices flow from there. But nothing crushes that creativity like the anxiety that going back to work after maternity leave and a busy, ever-changing lifestyle brings.

So as things start to calm down a little, as we come to terms with our new ‘normal,’ I thought I would be frank and speak about just that…

Identity Thief

Parenthood can be the biggest thief of self confidence.

One of the biggest transitions in your life is that into new parenthood. It begins in pregnancy. Not only does your body change physically and emotionally, but your priorities instantly and naturally start to change. From the simple necessary sacrifices like ditching the alcohol, and taking the vitamins, to being financially mindful of the upcoming maternity leave and little creature that will be dependent on you for decades to come.

You naturally fall into that ‘baby bubble’ from the day that blue line appears on the stick (and before really), which is a lovely place to be. You participate in different conversations, ones that wouldn’t have interested you before. You begin to delete the Wedding blogs and forums on social media, as your attention turns to the parenting ones and the highlight of your dash to Victoria Square turns from Urban Outfitters to Mamas & Papas. These are all changes to be celebrated, not mourned. This is the beginning of the best chapter of your life and one that I’ve always been told and can now start to vouch for, that will go by the quickest! It is also, most importantly, the one where you have the potential to make the biggest impact and get the most reward from!

Self image can take a bit of a knock during this transition. From the simpler things like for the fashion conscious, maternity clothes being limited (and generally more expensive) and having to consider whether or not you can breastfeed in public in a particular outfit without flashing everything from your armpits down, to having been the bubbly party animal, now traded in for a sober, early night instead. Some of these changes may be short term only, while others are a rite of passage that need to be made peace with.

A beautiful gift of reassurance from @scandiborn

When is the right time?

That million dollar question that every couple asks themselves regularly; ‘when will we be ready to start a family? (and one that everyone else tends to ask you from as early as the Wedding Reception). The truth is, I don’t think anyone is ever 100% ready, but it is a decision that you won’t regret and one that will change your life for the better (albeit, busier too).

It is also one that consumes you day and night, it is all you can think about and you eat sleep and breath it, contemplating if the time is right. Your world becomes heightened. All of a sudden, you will start to notice things you never have before like makes of prams, Mothers breastfeeding in your local cafe and babies crying. This cascade of emotions is just preparation for pregnancy and parenthood as you will likely empathise a little more, research the backside out of EVERYTHING and second guess every decision you make from here on out.

With the realisation and comfort that you’re not alone and the vast majority of parents around you are feeling the same way (you only know this if you openly talk about it to each other girls- just saying!!), you can begin to accept your new normal and learn to cope with and hopefully embrace it.

The sheer reality of fertility is that when you finally make that all important decision (if you ever do manage to make it), it may not directly correlate with when it’s actually going to happen. So try not to overthink it and be extremely grateful if it does!!

Our ‘Babymoon’ @ Lake Garda, Italy – 6 months pregnant.


In my newborn ‘baby bubble,’ just taking all of her in

‘My kids will never do that’

LOL- that is all!

Guilty of it myself at times, the pre-parenthood us will look at families and relationships around us and think to ourselves, ‘Ill not do it that way.’ We naively think that we’ll snap back into shape and everything around us will go back to the way it was. When you see a child throw a tantrum in a supermarket and proudly think to yourself ‘my kid will never get on like that,’ Want to bet?.’

I now look at those red faced panic stricken parents with an empathetic nod thinking my days are numbered and it’s only a matter of time!

Honestly, the majority of the time, we have very little choice in the matter. I often hear quotes like ‘this baby will fit in with our family, not the other way around.’ Babies and children are very versatile- yes, but also extremely unpredictable. They will have ‘off days’ like you and me, sometimes sick, sometimes in bad form and often just feeling a little insecure. These days may just call for more cuddles or a night in Mummy and Daddy’s bed, because although new parents will strive for a ‘routine’ and often feel like they are failing in lack of one, new babies aren’t designed to have one and children are human beings, not robots!

I love being a Mummy and (most of) all that role brings with it. It’s a role that is ever changing and just when you think you have it sussed, that little sassy person throws a spanner in the works and you go back to winging it. Even the most eager, natural of parents have their off days, trading in organised activities and playdates for an afternoon in front of the Teletubbies. Or unable to face another evening slogging over the stove to produce a homemade organic meal from the baby cookbook (for your toddler to refuse, throwing the plate off the highchair anyway), opting for fish fingers and waffles instead. These days and feelings don’t make us less of a parent, but just human. Our biggest flaw is not being honest with one another. If you happen to mention that you’re having one of these days on that WhatsApp group, chances are you’re not the only one recently. You may even have a giggle about it after bedtime over a glass of wine.

‘It takes a village’

Like with any big change, becoming a parent brings with it an increased vulnerability, one of self doubt brought on by peer pressure, hormones and even your past. The most valuable thing a new parent can possess is a community of people who will understand what you are going through, the good the bad and the ugly! From giving you space when you need it, advice when you ask for it, to celebrating the milestones (however little they may be). Sure, books are great and serve a purpose, but there is nothing like personal experience and books don’t give hugs!

You might not realise it now, but friends and family, that WhatsApp group of fellow Mummies (available at the touch of a fingertip 24/7), the Mums & Tots group that makes you a warm cuppa, the baby classes that provide adult company and give you a reason to get dressed and out the door in those early days, to the professionals who monitor and reassure you when you need it most are invaluable in this journey.

My advice to anybody who is feeling isolated or overwhelmed is to speak up…tell these people and let them help you through this journey as ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ a lesson that parents before us have learnt and discovered, so why fight it?

Self Image

Getting changed out of your jammies and putting makeup on during those early days can be a challenge, so invest in some nice/matching ones!

In a sometimes desperate attempt to not ‘lose who you were,’ you can feel a struggle with change and your new role. Being a Mum is by far my favourite role yet and I do feel I took to it quite naturally, having embraced it from the start. However, it is my other/previous roles that have taken a knock. Like going back to work and trying to balance a career alongside parenthood, or that within my friendship circles who don’t have children yet. I used to be the keen one, always willing to go out/go away and have blast whilst doing so. But since having this little creature depend on me and my body 24/7 over the last 2 years, I naturally needed to change my priorities and put her first.

Every few hours away from her calls for prep, from babysitters to packing endless bags and expressing milk for days and weeks in advance. Aside from all of that, which ofcourse can be done, she happens to be a needy little character/ a bit of a Mummy’s Girl and so a weekend away from her will cause her some distress. I’m fully aware and hopeful that this will change in the near future as she grows and becomes more independent and confident, but in the meantime I am more than happy to make some ‘sacrifices.’ As wise ones have said before me, ‘these days may be long, but the years are short’ and I couldn’t agree more.

So until the (hopefully) not so distant next time,

One rediscovering, grateful Mama


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