Omugwo is an aspect in the Igbo culture where the mother of a new mum comes around to help take care of both mum and new baby. This usually lasts for a period, but some mums stay from 3 – 6 months. So you can imagine my extreme excitement when my mum got her passport and Visa to come stay with us in London after the birth of our baby girl. I was over the moon, happy, grateful and very relieved.
My mum came and changed the game. She taught me so many things and helped out with so much that I found myself saying thank you like 10 times a day, and it still didn’t feel enough.
But… having your mum around could also be a handful and a new experience for you, so if you are a new mum or getting set to be one, you have to prepare yourself mentally for when your mum comes around.
Sometimes, your mum will feel like she knows it all and has seen it all when it comes to caring for your baby or babies and she has a right to feel that way because she raised you. So while it is your home and your baby, you should prepare for that interference from mum.
There will also be a lot of guilt tripping. Those helpless types that you just have to give in no matter what. Moments will come up when she will want or expect you to do some things like put a cap on the baby when you feel it’s not necessary, or ask you to wait for 8 weeks before taking the baby to church, and you have a different opinion from hers. The best thing to do at those times is to just give in. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand your grounds when you also have your opinions, it is important that you do when you feel strongly about somethings.
Will you have deferring opinions? Of course. Will there be arguments? Absolutely. Will you feel like you can do things without her every input? Oh yes! But there are ways to handle all the pressure you may be feeling. So here are my top tips:
- Never ever raise your voice or snap at mum. When you feel upset, remember that she has left her home and whatever she could be doing other than bathing, cleaning, changing, feeding or soothing your baby.
- Take a walk. When you feel pressured, just take a walk (with or without baby), or do something to distract you from that current situation.
- Talk to her about how you are feeling when the tense situation has calmed down. If you have ideas/opinions that you couldn’t share earlier, bring it up then in a calmer atmosphere
- Pray to God for understanding and strength when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Always mask the issue when your husband is around. It’s best if he is always neutral.
Remember, it’s a beautiful thing to have mum around to help you become a better mum. It’s a time for unlearning and relearning. She has more experience than you do and has been down the road before you, so she has the upper-hand. Make her feel appreciated and try and make the most of that period because when she leaves, you will definitely miss her.
I would love to read your comments. Thanks.