I wasn’t entirely sure how, when or if I would ever start this blog and so I concluded that the best time to do it is right now. 5.30am with a toddler who is drinking her milk and consumed by Peppa Pig.
Here I am, pen in hand, cup of tea number two going cold on the side, sleep deprived for seven and half years and counting and wearing my (very old, older than my children) pyjamas. This is pretty much how I spend most of my mornings – minus the pen.
How did this happen? How did I get to have such a glamorous existence you may well ask? Well I shall tell you… Children! Children have done this to me! Three of them to be precise. I love them all dearly, but Lordy me I am a very different woman to the one my husband met 15 years ago!
Back in the days of my early 20’s I was a thin, blonde, naïve, enthusiastic nursery nurse with a flat stomach and pert behind! I lived at home with my mum who cooked for me, washed my clothes, changed my bed every single week and generally looked after me VERY well.
I would see mums bring their children to nursery, bleary eyed, complaining and broken, shadows of their former selves and I would think ‘what are they moaning about? How hard can it be to be a mum? I look after rooms full of children daily, no problem’.
It is here that I will refer you to the Michael McIntyre rant on parenthood. If you haven’t seen it and you are considering having children I suggest you watch it first! “You people who don’t have children, you think you know what it’s like? You DON’T know! Simple things that you take for granted like leaving the house suddenly become impossible!” And so he goes on and I freely admit I DID NOT KNOW. For those of you who have not yet ventured in to parenthood, and for those who are about to, here is just a small selection of the things I did not know…
- You will fail…often, and that’s OK.
If you believe everything you read on the internet or in books and listen to everything you hear you will feel like you have “failed”. I have “failed” daily as a parent! I’ve forgotten to do things…like feed the children! I’ve forgotten to take things to school, I haven’t read enough with the eldest one, I haven’t done bedtime stories for each of them individually every night since the day they were born, and on and on it goes. This used to bother me, but I have tried my hardest. My children are happy and healthy and loved. That’s good enough.
- Breast feeding is hard and not breast feeding is NOT the end of the world.
Another of my failings! I told you there are many. I tried so hard to feed my first born myself. I went to the classes, I didn’t buy bottles believing that I would never need them, I was pulled about and prodded by midwives, my nipples cracked, there was blood, it bloody hurt and my poor baby was starving. Being told off by the midwives for not feeding him did not help. I felt pretty useless until one lovely lady came into my room at the hospital and introduced me and my son to the wonders on formula milk. He drank the lot and slept for four hours and we both felt better. For the sanity of myself and everyone else we grabbed the formula and never looked back! (He is now seven and a half and can build a V8 engine. He knows more about history, science and engineering than I do, so I don’t think it has stunted his intellect in any way whatsoever.)
- Winky down!
This is good advice for most males, but is especially relevant to new-born baby boys! A few days after my first son was born my husband had to return to work. I was a terrified jibbering wreck. How could he leave me in charge of someone so small? So fragile, so precious, and for a whole day!! I needn’t have worried. Louise, my bestest child free chum came to my rescue and we decided that a trip to the local co-op was required.
I kid you not, it took us (two grown women), trained nursery nurses until 4pm to leave the house! Every time we attempted to go, in between feeds and cups of cold tea, I would pick up my son to find he was soaking. Finally after 5 changes of clothes I realised that he was weeing over the top of his nappy! Not being experienced in the world of winkies it had never occurred to me to tuck it in first! Lesson learned.
- Sleep Scmeep!
Oh sleep, how I miss you. All of my children are extremely light sleepers and I swear all three of them are trying to tip me over the edge. They take it in turns to wake us up each night and then get up ridiculously early in the mornings. However, I’m so used to it now I’ve gone beyond worrying about it. Once I have ‘come to terms’ with starting another day I carry on like I’ve slept like a baby… oh wait a minute…I have!
- It will always be something “time”.
Milk time, breakfast time, school time, nursery time, snack time, nap time, lunch time, play time, pick up time, dinner time, bath time, milk time, story time, bed time! (Mummy’s wine time!)
- You will finally understand your parents.
Having children will do many things to you and in my case it has pretty much turned me into my mum! (That wasn’t difficult we have always been very close). But what I didn’t understand until I had children was how much you worry about them, how you always want the best for them and how you would do anything for them. You will find yourself in some fairly obscure situations to do all of these things!
So there you are. Listen to the bleary eyed shadow of her former self that I have become and know that you are not alone and it will be ok. But also know that my children make me the happiest I’ve ever been. I love all the little things that they do, the funny things that they say, the baby snuggles at milk time in the night, the fun, the giggles, the dancing and terrible singing to “Let it Go” and all the things we’ve got to look forward to. Who needs a flat stomach and a pert behind anyway!?