REACH OUT: Take a tired mum out for coffee or offer her some words of encouragement.
REACH OUT: Take a tired mum out for coffee or offer her some words of encouragement. Thinkstock

New mums need your understanding

DO YOU know a mum struggling to get through the day or a mum who seems to be operating on auto-pilot?

Motherhood is not a competition about who is having the hardest time but that's how it can feel for many new mums.

That's where the nanas, grandmas and nonnas of the world come into their own.

We have literally been there, done that and we would be still be wearing the t-shirt if it wasn't stained with a thousand grubby finger marks, spilt drinks and dried snot from the year of a thousand colds.

We have survived the tough days of motherhood and now we need to support this next generation.

I remember how tough it could be keeping small humans alive and entertained every day and it takes a while to realise that the days might be long but the years are incredibly short.

It might be tempting to think this generation has it easier than we did. After all many dads are helping more than ever, workplaces might be more flexible (for some) and there might be more time-saving household gadgets than we had but many new mums are struggling to be confident as mothers. Don't you remember that feeling? I sure do.

An army of facebook friends and "mummy bloggers” might help but ironically it can also add to the anxiety of figuring out what's right or wrong.

Too many mums who dare to air their feelings on social media feel the heat of some harsh judgement. Debates about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding or co-sleeping over cry-it-out can quickly spiral out of control and leave everyone feeling less sure of their abilities.

None of that helps a mum who is just doing her best to love her baby.

My advice is that new mums should remind themselves you will never please everyone when it comes to your parenting standards. The best thing you can do is find routines, schedules and habits that suit you, your baby and your lifestyle. It's okay to consider if someone else's idea of "right' might help but you don't have to judge them or yourself if it doesn't sit well with you.

For those of us who have come out the other side I would love to see you hold back on the judgment and reach out to the new mums you know. Family members are the obvious place to start but why not reach out to a colleague who's on maternity leave, a neighbour or a family friend who might benefit from a little boost.

It's easy to do: You could drop in for a visit, ask them out for a coffee, send them a text or go old school and send a card or letter.

Or say a few encouraging words to that frazzled stranger with three whingy kids in tow at the supermarket.

Kindness matters in this world. My daughter had a friend deliver coffee to her front door after she endured a particularly bad night with her babies. It was such a small gesture but it gave her such a boost.

Some of us might choose to pretend our children were perfect, others will wax lyrical about how horrible kids were.

Either way, every mum knows those early years are not easy and hopefully you know from experience a few kind words can turn things around.