In the world of Mums, there are two very distinct kinds: the first-time, new mum (scared, unsure, polite) and the experienced, been there-done that-know that mum (confident, won't take s**t from toddler or anyone). Of course there are sub-divisions too: the carefree mum, the strict mum, the working mum, the SAHM, the stressed mum, the over-stressed mum. And underlying similarities: the tired mum, the exhausted mum, the coffee-addict mum, the wine-loving mum, the bags-under-the-eyes mum, the unwashed hair mum… But the stark difference is between the New Mum and the Experienced Mum.
New mum is in a panic. Immediately goes on to Dr Google. Panics some more. Calls the doc (or A & E). Lies awake all night.
Experienced mum checks baby's temperature. Checks to see if there's a new tooth on the way. Checks if other things are normal-ish. Then gives some Calpol. Repeats after few hours. Probably lies awake at night too, but knows that Calpol will make it all right.
You can make out a New Mum on her debut journey by public transport from a mile away. There is nervousness written all over her face, as she keeps peering into the buggy to check if her little one is still breathing or probably still even there. She's constantly speaking to or cooing to her baby, singing songs and making funny faces. In short, keeping baby entertained lest baby erupts into a volcanic howl while on the train. Pacifier is on alert, ready to be shoved into baby's mouth, in case the above happens.
Once in the bus/train, she is apologetic as she stumbles over people's toes while manoeuvring the buggy. 'I'm sorry for the inconvenience I am causing' is written all over her face. She seems lost at stations as she looks for the lift/ ramp. You can see she is silently praying for this ordeal to get over.
But New Mum walks the talk. She owns the station. She has right of way (after all, she's the one with the hugeass buggy, so it's better for your feet if you move out of the way!). She knows exactly where the lift is, and makes place for New Mum and her hugeass buggy in the lift too, assuring her that two buggies will fit at one time.
She also has bags of shopping hanging from the buggy because she's Experienced Mum, she can shop with a baby and buggy in tow!
Travelling with the tot
New Mum's first solo flight with her newborn is possibly the second most frightening thing after childbirth. The thought of being stuck in the skies, in the confines of two aisles and a seat, with a likely cranky baby and a planefull of strangers glaring at you is… terrifying. Again, New Mum is a bundle of nerves. She's apologetic for every little whimper that comes out of baby's mouth. You can see her ssshhh-ing and coo-ing through the flight. And inside, she's hoping and praying that baby doesn't do a poo – changing a Poonami in an aeroplane toilet is NOT FUN.
Experienced Mum struts through the airport, coffee in one hand, and stroller in the other, with ease. She knows she can board the plane first. She knows she will get special treatment. She knows people/ the flight attendants will go out of their way for her (she's flying alone with a baby for heaven's sake!) and she doesn't give a rat's a*# if co-passengers give her stinking looks. She also knows the tricks and tips to keep baby/ toddler occupied through the flight.
I speak from personal experience here: I was petrified to cut Little Man's nails for the first six months of his life. Those tiny fingers, with even tinier nails. The sudden movements. I would only do it when he was sound asleep. Or, more often than not, I would delegate the job to Daddy!
But now, as an Experienced Mum, I could do an entire mani-pedi to Little Man (ok, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but I'm that confident!).
At the supermarket
New Mum's first visit to the supermarket with infant is a disaster. There will be no or very hurried shopping, lots of crying/screaming/ kicking/ fussing, an equal amount of embarrassment and a secret promise to self to forever more do online shopping only.
While Experienced Mum knows exactly when to go to the supermarket. When baby is about to drift off to sleep, or toddler is exhausted after running around furiously at football class. She comes with her armory of goods – snacks, books, a soft toy, a hard toy, an i-pad – and a set list. She nails it.
New Mum is still to get a hang of this sleep thing. Bedtime starts (excitedly) at 7 pm and never, ever ends. She finally exits the bedroom looking like she's just murdered someone, or is probably about to.
While Experienced Mum has a routine, a proper bedtime routine. It begins at 7 pm and baby is in dreamland on the dot of 7.30 pm. She dances out of the bedroom, because she knows its wine-o-clock! She's got this whole sleep thing well sussed out!
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