With so much perfect parenting on social media and celebrities managing to somehow look catwalk-ready despite having a pooping newborn in their arms, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re the only one struggling to hold it together. But, you’d be wrong.
Lisa is the local mum behind Kate’s Cradle, a refreshing blog that tackles the less-polished side of parenting. We spoke to her about motherhood, mental health, and more.
Kate’s Cradle is a very open blog. What inspired you to start writing so honestly about parenthood?
There are two things I consider to be the driving force behind my blog. The first is that as a new parent, I found myself asking the question, “how did nobody ever tell me this???” way too often. It felt as though I wasn’t prepared for the realness and rawness of motherhood, because even though I was surrounded by people who went through the same experiences…they never really shared the details, many of them claiming that they’d actually forgotten them!
Which leads me to the second thing that inspired my blog: I didn’t want to forget. I wanted to record my emotions and thoughts throughout this crazy adventure. The beautiful, the confusing, the painful. I guess you could say the blog is my journal. Recording things there is therapeutic to me and could help others who might be going through the same things.
You focus on the feelings we go through as parents. How can someone emotionally prepare to join the tribe?
It’s hard to prepare for something so surreal as becoming first time parents. However, I would suggest that any parent-to-be start to familiarise themselves with the concept of change. That they don’t hold on too tightly to who they were/what they did before they became parents. That they embrace the fact that parenthood will bring change, and to allow it to mould them into new people.
In terms of mental health, do you think parenting is more challenging now than it was in the past?
I’ve actually written a blog post about this as it was a question that seemed to pop up everywhere during my first year as a parent. Personally, (and as the science points out) I think it is more challenging nowadays. There’s so much information out there, so many contradicting approaches to parenthood, that it can be very hard to find your own voice as a parent without feeling like you’re failing in one way or another.
Motherhood is overwhelming, so much to learn and to do. Who did you lean on to help navigate this new world?
Being the first of my closest friends and immediate family to have a child made this new world all the more daunting. However, I found myself reaching out to the ALL mothers in my life. My own mother, my mother in law and old friends I hadn’t spoken to for years who were also first time mothers. I also used social media platforms to start new friendships with young mothers too.
Do you have any words of advice for caring for yourself during pregnancy?
Soul. Mind. Body. Care for all of these three things with intention. Don’t spend your pregnancy stressing about the material things you’ll need for baby. These three things are more important.
When you have a baby, your body, mind and soul changes completely. What helped you come to terms with the new you?
This took a while and in many ways, I’m still figuring out who the “new me” is! The physical and emotional postpartum journey of recovery is a wild ride. What helped me most was thinking about my “new self” as a stronger version of my old self, in every sense of the word. Nowadays I wear my postpartum badge with honour, knowing full well what a blessing it is. Sure, I cry more often and I haven’t regained full bladder control yet… but I wouldn’t trade any of it!
Looking after a toddler during a pandemic can’t be easy. Did you take any positives from this rough year?
It might sound cliché, but my biggest lesson this year has got to be “live in the moment”. Don’t cling to plans, don’t worry about the future. Just take in every single moment of the “now.”
So for the new parent out there, for whom time is at a standstill…or for the parent tearing their hair out because their kids are online learning again. Breathe in, breathe out. Take in every moment. Because time truly flies.
Thank you, Lisa, for you honest words and for sharing the ups and downs of motherhood with us in Kate’s Cradle. Knowing we’re not alone makes such a difference!