This time last year we posted our first ever blog posts. One each. Since then we have posted a whopping 53 more times between us! It seems that the joys and jollops of parenting and motherhood offer an endless stream of creative inspiration. Who knew?
Here’s a small selection of our favourites:
Parenting Solo Louise
Help! I’ve got a job.. Louise
But now, for your delectation and delight, we have put our first posts together in what we shall now call a super-post!
5.54am – Knife to Skin (by Louise)
Sarah suggested that for our first blogs, we should each write about what it was like before we both had our children and how our lives have changed. I’m not sure if sleep deprivation or baby brain are to blame but in all honesty, I’m struggling to remember much before the moment these words were scrawled in my medical notes:
“5.54am: Knife to skin”
It’s only been 6 years since my first born made a dramatic appearance out of my lower abdomen through a 6 inch incision in a flurry of terrifying emergency surgery. 6 years, that is all. But when I think back to those pre-baby days it generates more questions than answers.
What the hell did we (my now husband and I) used to do with all that time on our hands?
What on earth did we used to talk about?
What the flip did we do at the weekends?
I wondered for a while if this onset of pre-baby amnesia is not mother nature’s kindly way of helping us cope with the realisation that we are now responsible parents and that we have well and truly kissed goodbye to the life we once had as young and carefree lovers.
There was a definite point at about 6 – 8 weeks in to our adventures in to parenthood, when the penny finally dropped, like a full and filthy nappy from a toddlers waist. This is it. There is no going back. We are responsible for keeping this tiny human alive 24/7. This was followed by a short spell of grief for the lives we just left behind, then we got a grip and I think that’s when the amnesia set in – for self preservation purposes.
But now, if I put myself under hypnosis I can vaguely remember…
Long Saturday afternoons stretched out on the sofa with a hot cup of tea, reading the Guardian supplements and listening to music. Nice music.
Trips to the pub for Sunday lunch and three pints of Guiness to cure a hangover.
Nights out that began around bedtime and finished around sunrise.
Guilt free evening exercise classes when I could leave the house without anybody crying and begging me not to abandon them.
Long, meaningful conversations over dinner with husband that involved eye contact and each others full attention. Ketchup did not feature and drinks were rarely knocked over.
Hours spent wondering around Habitat fondling tea towels before coming home with a new jazzy mug with which to make a hot cup of tea in.
Spending the whole weekend indoors and not fretting about whether anyone has had enough fresh air.
Never reaching for the remote control during the day and certainly not first thing in the morning!
Sleeping whenever the hell I wanted, for as long as I wanted.
Using a hair dryer.
Going to the toilet without a child sitting on my lap.
Just ‘popping out’
Listening to radio programs as a nice thing to do, not just because its on in the background whilst I’m trying to wash – up, cook dinner, make a packed lunch, answer questions, fetch drinks, or pay attention to a child who is prodding me with their finger and repeating the word “Mummy” over and over again even after I’ve said “Yes?” twenty times.
Having two incomes… oooohhhhh!
I could go on but I don’t think it’s wise.
Quick! Lets look at the positives:
Life is NEVER dull.
Kids are bloody hilarious.
Sniffing your own child’s head is the antidote to any kind of sorrow.
A bit like having a dog, having kids forces you to get fresh air and exercise, so they are actually quite a healthy lifestyle choice… like getting a juicer.
Feelings of pride and love are on tap.
Getting to sleep in until 7.30am feels like a lottery win.
Wine at the end of the day is justified. Always.
Time is so precious that any non-child related tasks get done promptly and efficiently, procrastination is no longer an option!
Cold tea is actually not that bad.
Christmas gets really good again.
Playing lego in your pyjamas all day is totally acceptable.
So yes, my life has changed, of course it has. But it’s not hard to see which is the more rewarding, satisfying, interesting and fun..
Now if you don’t mind I’m just ‘popping out’ to get the Guardian.
Motherhood – How hard can it be? (by Sarah)
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!?