Nearly all new mothers could be described as an Overly Anxious First Time Mother (OAFTM). This phenomenon can be seen in postnatal wards, houses, and baby groups up and down the country. The OAFTM with her first-born child spends hours each day worrying about the slightest thing. Classic thoughts such as “My baby hasn’t wet her nappy in over an hour! Is she dehydrated? Is she sick? Should I go to A&E?” or “My son has been asleep for three hours. Is he still breathing?” and “Oh, my goodness, is that strawberry in her nappy, or is it blood?!?” pervade the sleep deprived mind of the OAFTM, cutting off access to all rational thought.
Thankfully, by the time you have a second child, OATFM syndrome seems to resolve itself. When your second child arrives your first-born has survived at least nine (probably a lot more) months in your care without major incident, so for you, the whole business of raising an infant is second nature. By this point you’ve become the “Whatever, They’re Fine” Mother (WTFM) and very little fazes you. Here at Mumblog, we’ve come up with a list of classic behaviours of the OATFM and how it differs starkly from that of the WTFM. You probably fit firmly in one camp or the other.
OATFM – Insists that all visitors to the new-born wash their hands with alcohol gel before handling the baby. Fidgets nervously whilst other people hold the baby. Demands the baby back after five-minutes.
WTFM – Begs visitors to take the baby away for three hours so she can get some sleep.
OATFM – Panics every time anyone coughs within five-metres of the baby. Insists on leaving if someone sneezes.
WTFM – Resigned to the fact that the older sibling will be sharing all those lovely germs.
OATFM – Everything must be sterilised, including syringes for infant paracetamol and scissors used to open formula packets. Spends hours researching on the Internet how long something stays sterile for once removed from the sterilising bucket.
WTFM – Can’t remember if she sterilised this bottle, but thinks that as it looks clean, it’s probably fine.
OATFM – Weighs baby every day using a combination of kitchen scales and a tray. Rings the health visitor if there is no weight gain after 24-hours.
WTFM – No idea what baby currently weighs, but the baby-gro is getting tight so she must be fine.
OATFM – Checks the baby’s temperature every 20-minutes after the first cough. Has the out-of-hours GP number on speed-dial and is on first name terms with all medical professionals in the area.
WTFM – Thinks the baby is probably teething.
OATFM – Checks the baby is still breathing every 20-minutes.
WTFM – Hasn’t heard baby cry for an hour so assumes he’s fine.
OATFM – Wakes at 4am in a panic because the baby missed the 2am feed. Wakes baby up to feed her.
WTFM – Stays fast asleep. Rejoices in the morning at the bonus sleep time.
OATFM – Spring cleans the house before every Health Visitor visit. Dresses baby in best clothes and then showers, dresses smartly and applies make-up just in time for the Health Visitor’s arrival. Sends her partner out for posh biscuits to offer to the Health Visitor. All to create the best impression.
WTFM – Wonders if Health Visitor will notice she is in pyjamas stained with baby spit up. Asks toddler to pick up toys but knows she is fighting a lost cause.
OATFM – Scrutinises content of every nappy to check for abnormalities. Has googled images of poo and is familiar with the Bristol Stool Chart. Only uses cotton wool with cooled boiled water to clean the baby’s bottom.
WTFM – Simultaneously wipes baby whilst watching toddler spray wee all over the toilet. Uses wet wipes to clean both messes and disposes of all items quickly in order to chase toddler to put his clothes back on.
OATFM – Follows all the weaning guidelines religiously. Baby lives off organic food with rice crackers and fresh fruit for snacks for the first 18 months. Panics every time grandparents come over in case they bring Chocolate.
WTFM – Baby’s first food is the crisp the older sibling kindly shared with him.