I was at work last week and someone asked me the most funny thing. The conversation went like this…
Person – “How many days do you work?”
Me – “Two days. I have a 16 month old little girl”.
Person – “Oh, right. Well what do you do with the rest of your time?”
I almost burst out laughing. “Oh all I do is sit at home and drink tea, is it not?” Is what I felt like replying. (Wink, wink). But of course that wouldn’t be true, for “what I do with the rest of my time” is much more rewarding and enjoyable than just drinking tea. This got me thinking about the topic for my next post…how being a mummy has transformed my life and the adjustments you make and come to accept.
My role is first and foremost Mummy. Everything else comes after. Of course whatever that may be is still important, but bringing up my daughter is my main priority. And it’s also a full time job! Becoming a mother has meant compromises, sacrifices and challenges. Since the day that baby was put in my arms, my life changed. My time was no longer my own, my needs and requirements now put on the back burner. No longer was I able to go to sleep when I wanted, or to have a lie in when one was thoroughly needed. I was now responsible for caring, nurturing and loving this little person who had grown inside me, been brought into the world through my lady bits and was now here. She was actually here, and I was bloody clueless. So for the past 16 and a half months I’ve been loving my baby and learning how to be a mum. Because no one gives you a manual on how to work this thing that is the tiny human you have made. You have to grow together, learn to understand one another and find your feet from the start. Really, you’re thrown in at the deep end, aren’t you?!
You. Don’t. Sleep. – Ok, maybe you do, but sleep will never mean the same as it did before having a baby. So, here’s the thing. Before LL came into our world, we went to an antenatal class. We were given two scenarios about two very different babies sleep patterns. Basically the wool was pulled over our eyes a bit and how clueless we were in thinking the baby would just sleep and fit in with our lives. We’d just be the same but with a baby. Wouldn’t we? Hell, no. You will never sleep the same again. We were told this before having her and we just thought “yeah right, everyone is just having us on!” But it’s so true. LL has slept through around 10 times in her whole life (and that’s being optimistic because I honestly can’t remember because all the nights just roll into one!) You have no choice but to get up when you’re exhausted, you’re so desperate for some sleep but you can’t because your little person wants to get up at 2am and stay awake until 4am. Your body adjusts to the interrupted sleep and insane new sleep patterns. How I haven’t passed out from lack of sleep on numerous occasions is beyond me. My body just pushes on through and my mind will catch up eventually. I have friends who’s babies have slept through from a very early stage, and I think it’s just the luck of the draw. You just never know what sort of sleeper you’re going to get!
Your time is no longer your own – What I mean by this is, you literally have no time for yourself anymore. No more regular long, bubbly soaks in the bath, numerous nail polish changes throughout the week, workout sessions (at the gym and with the Hubby)…anything, really, that involves some “me time” or doesn’t involve the little one clinging onto you. Even going to the loo involves LL screaming behind me because I’ve put her down, then she comes and sits on my knee. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and flicked through a magazine or read a book from cover to cover. I have about six months worth of Glamour magazines that haven’t even been opened. All of the above I now consider luxuries, and I appreciate them so much more now than I ever did before. And besides, spending time with your little one is the best thing in the world, so it’s a sacrifice worth making.
Your clothes will always look like shit – By this I mean they will, at some point during the day, have remnants of snot, vomit and food plastered over them. My washing was just about manageable before baby, but now I’m lucky if I ever have an empty washing basket. The ironing is always overflowing, I can only ever seem to manage half of it then LL will wake up from her nap or in the evening she’s unsettled so I’m up and down the stairs and eventually give up with it. Even when you’re covered in shit you just smile and carry on. It’s second nature now, really.
You will become a children’s television expert – Never mind my professional day job, lets discuss my extensive knowledge about CBeebies and Milkshake!. Forget watching those girlie box sets, period dramas and Emmerdale (yes, I am a fan of what goes on in The Dales!) my soapbox now only has numerous episodes of The Twirlywoos, Waybuloos and Teletubbies playing out. What? You’ve no idea who Great BigHoo is? What about Toodloo? Chickedey and Chick? No? Ok, never mind. (Hubby and I frequently burst into song when going about our day, thanks to listening to The Twirlywoos theme tune numerous times a week…”Quacky birds fly over the sea! Bring the boat close home to me. Me! Me! Me! The Twirlywoos. The Twirlywoooooos!” Yes, it has happened in the middle of Tesco, I’m afraid).
You catch every bug going – Colds, coughs, sickness bugs…I’ll take whatever LL’s having quite frankly. There’s no avoiding it. I’ve had a sore throat for weeks after having a horrid virus for two months and we’ve both been back and forth to the doctors. For saying I’m an Emetophobia sufferer I have to say it is getting ever so slightly better thanks to the amount of vomit I’ve encountered over the past 16 and a half months. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that.
Mummy guilt becomes the norm – The dreaded Mummy guilt, oh how I hate it. But you learn to accept that it’ll always be there and that it’s completely normal to experience it. Have I done enough with her today? Has she eaten enough fruit and veg? Has she drank enough? Has she passed a motion? Did I love her enough? It’s just a mental checklist of the process of the day, and I’ve now learned to embrace it and it just helps to remind me how much I love my little girl.
Time as a couple often goes out the window – That evening you both plan to have a nice romantic meal then watch a film with a glass of wine snuggled up on the sofa…you can forget it. I can see it in LL’s eyes “Ha ha haaaaaaaa! You and Daddy are planning a night together, well think again! I’m staying up until midnight!” It often happens and the best evenings spent together are now often unplanned and impromptu. But we still need to organise regular date nights. We just need to convince the grandparents to have LL overnight which means lots of bribery seeing as she’s not the best sleeper!
You will have to share all your food. Even if they’ve only just eaten – Because little ones are so curious and they have to try whatever Mummy is having. It’s a good job I’m not like Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S and I’m happy to share!
All of this is just part of the parenting journey and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It all makes me smile and the little adventure we have been on and other amazing things we are yet to experience just makes it all so rewarding. I wrote an open letter to LL on my Instagram account recently, and it says it all…
“Beautiful girl, what would I be without you now? Since the day you were born, you’ve changed me. You’ve completed me. You’ve given me a purpose in life. To love, cherish and nuture you. Being your mummy is the best gift anyone could have given me. To love you is all I’ll ever need. I never knew love until they put you in my arms. I’d found my soulmate. I look at life before you were born and I always felt something was missing, that something was you, and now I can’t imagine life how it was before without you. When I’m with you all I want to do is hold you. When I’m without you my heart aches. You’re mine, and I’m so lucky. You’re my little whirlwind, man do you breathe fire, but your smiles…your screwed up little button nose…your giggle…you make my heart melt. You’re my heaven. I love you baby girl. Oh, how I love you. Love Mummy xxx”