United Kindmums – The Gift I’ll Never Forget

To celebrate the Netmums’ United Kindmums Campaign we’ve asked a number of bloggers to share their stories of a random act of kindness that really made a difference to their lives. First up we have Molly from Mother’s Always Right describing the gift she’ll never forget. 

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It’s a dark, chilly October morning. I’m cold and feeling very low. My baby is crying because she’s tired and has the sniffles. I’m crying because I’m tired and have the sniffles. We both want to sleep.

The newborn bubble has well and truly burst. My beautiful daughter has reached four months and, while I love her so fiercely it makes my heart physically ache, I am exhausted. I feel spent and alone. My husband is at work all day and my friends haven’t yet got children. The hours until bedtime stretch ahead like a dark, sleepless void. I cry again.

I feel like I’ve failed my daughter somehow, because I’m not feeling bubbly and happy today. I feel like I’ve failed at motherhood somehow, because I’m not enjoying it this morning.

And then, a knock at the door.

It’s my next door neighbour. When I greet her, red-eyed and dribbly-nosed, she takes one look at me and puts her arms out. Without allowing for one word of protest, my neighbour takes my baby and sends me to bed. I sleep for two hours. Two long hours. I wake, refreshed, ready to feed my child, play with my child and be the mum I want to be.

I will never forget that act of kindness. The gift of sleep is the greatest gift any new mum can receive.

The thing is, that moment, eighteen months ago, has probably been long forgotten by my neighbour. It was two hours out of a very busy day for her, juggling a business and running around after her own toddler. But for me, those two hours were golden. The difference between failing or succeeding at motherhood that day.

I hope that if I’m ever in a position to share that favour with another mother, I will do the same. It’s so easy to forget how hard the early months of motherhood can be. Those early days – when time seemed to stand still and sleepless days and nights sometimes felt like they would go on forever – are just a distant memory for me now. But I hope I hold on to that memory and never let it go.

I’m in the same position as hundreds of thousands of other mums across the country. My own mother doesn’t live nearby and I was the first amongst my circle of friends to voyage into the realm of parenting.

I was the new mum at the local baby and toddler group. I hadn’t lived in my village long enough to get to know anyone before my daughter arrived. The other mums appeared to juggle their numerous children effortlessly. They made motherhood look like a breeze. I didn’t want to let the side down – I only had the one tiny baby after all.

This meant that, at times, being a mum could be a lonely business. But the day my neighbour knocked on my door… well, that day I didn’t feel like I was alone any more.

I didn’t mind admitting I was tired. I got rid of the fake smile plastered across my face. I relaxed and let my shoulders slump. She told me she knew how it felt, she could remember it clearly. She told me it was completely normal and that I wasn’t expected to love every second of motherhood. We both agreed it was hard sometimes.

And then I slept. When I woke I was given a hot cup of tea. And I felt ready to give this thing called parenting another shot.

It’s funny what a hot cup of tea, a friendly smile and two hours of sleep can do. A gift that I can’t hold in my hands, but one that I will treasure forever.

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Molly Forbes is a broadcaster, journalist and writer who lives in Berkshire with her husband and 20 month old daughter. She’s also a first time mum surviving on very little sleep and huge quantities of cake and biscuits. Molly blogs about the real aspects of her bumpy journey through motherhood, at Mother’s Always Right

If you have been on the receiving end of a lovely random act of kindness we would love to hear about it.  Share your story in our United Kindmums forum on Netmums.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
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12 Responses to United Kindmums – The Gift I’ll Never Forget

  1. Jane says:

    I had 3 under 3 1/2, a mum in our village also had the same but youngest was the same age as my oldest; so I always looked to her as how I would be able to cope in 4 years time. She did the same for me as your neighbour did for you although she took my eldest whilst I had 2 hours sleep when the youngest 2 napped. What a relief!

    A couple of years later I was able to return the favour to another mum in our village with 3 children who had not slept all night. I hope she paid the favour forward too.

  2. That’s such a lovely comment Jane and exactly what our campaign is all about – paying it forward!

  3. Reading that story and follow up comment has given me goose bumps all over. I was alone with a baby and four year old. I thought I would die with the sleep deprivation – but a friend came and helped me out – so I could sleep. I have never forgotten it. She also hung out my washing (and got it in again!), cleaned the fridge and generally helped out. You’re right, the kindness stays with you, long after the favour.

  4. So true Anya. Perhaps we should all ditch the ‘new baby’ gifts and start giving ‘an hours sleep’ token instead!

  5. Caroline says:

    You seem to have a habit of making me cry! Love you xxx

  6. Pingback: The gift I’ll never forget | Mother's Always Right

  7. What a glorious photo and a lovely post. I remember when I had my first baby and was tethered permanently to my chair by infant, feeding cushion and a jealous cat, the wife of one of the students in the college where we lived coming round with a home-baked cake. I barely knew her and had always found her intimidating, but the kindness of the gesture and the gloriousness of a cake to devour really struck me. I now always try to bring cakes to new mothers.

  8. How lovely! Cake and sleep is definitely the answer!

  9. Lara says:

    Wonderful story! Beautiful people!
    Congratulations, your story is very nice, simple and touching!
    How I wish I had a friend like yours..

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