Twenty nine weeks today.
Twenty nine whole e since this little madam arrived.
Twenty nine whole weeks of love.
Hands up who had a firm idea of how they were going to parent, before they actually became a parent….?
I had a lot of strong beliefs in the way that I was going to mother. What I would do (read and sing to them all day whilst keeping an immaculate home and cooking her a vast array of culinary delights) and what I definitely would NOT do (Baby TV, shove a mobile phone in her face every day and never moan about her and/or life ever again)
Let’s just say it was a little easier sticking to that in my hypothetical life.
Not a huge surprise to hear that a lot of my hypothetical ideas flew out the window by, oh, I dunno, week two maybe?! I was extremely naive to what being a parent is, and sadly, what i think added to my naivety, was the fact that not a lot of people out there are truly honest about what motherhood involves. Contrary to popular belief, babies dont read the manuals before coming out; sometimes its not like the tv programmes where a gentle rock is enough to settle a screaming baby to sleep. Sometimes, despite feeding, changing AND cuddling, they will still continue to scream at 3am. And 4am. And then again at 5am….
The lack of honesty from mums (myself included at times now) can lead to us all feeling pretty inadequate at times; like we’re failing as a mum when we have days where we feel down or defeated. Having a baby is one of the most precious gifts that life can give us, but that doesn’t mean we should feel guilty for not enjoying every single moment of it.
People are very vocal about the fact that your life will change completely once you have a baby, the ever-wonderful-to-hear ‘your life will never be the same again’ was said to me multiple times throughout my pregnancy. I knew that life would change a huge amount, and I was as prepared as someone with no prior experience of having kids, could be. I stupidly thought however, that I would adapt a lot more naturally than I have. People are quick to tell you life will change, but they rarely let you know in what ways, and even less likely to tell you if they’ve struggled.
Before I go on, I feel it’s important to say that on no levels do I regret becoming a mother, nor do I wish I didn’t have her. She is the reason I want to be my best self every single day. It’s bloody amazing being her mum and shes got to the stage where (on the whole) she’s a very easy baby to have. I have gained SO much from becoming a mother – it has enriched my life on so many levels. I never knew I was capable of feeling so much love or pride on a daily basis. I know there are so many women out there who would give everything they have to be in my position, so please dont feel like I’m taking it all for granted with what I have to say next – I know how lucky I am.
Despite all the positives there are to becoming a mother, there are certain aspects of my life that have suffered. In a completely selfish way, I’ve had a few times when I’ve felt a bit down recently because I feel like I’ve lost myself a little bit. Who I used to be.
Pre-baby, I had a very busy, very sociable life. I worked full-time shift work, where I’d be on my feet constantly, speaking to anyone and everyone. I’d come home and often grab something to eat before heading to the gym, or i’d meet with friends for a coffee/couple of glasses of wine. Weekends, if I was off, would involve a nice meal out or a takeaway, if not a night out with friends. As a treat now and again, we’d go away for the night or head up north to climb a munro.
In comparison, last night, we spent our Saturday evening searching YouTube for ‘how to clean my TomeeTipee perfect prep machine’ ……
My life has very quickly become all about Olivia – taking care of her and prioritising her needs all day every day, just as it should be. But to go from a previous care free, independent and admittedly, selfish way of living, to my current life, is a huge change.
Nobody ever really loves change at first, even when its a positive change; it can take time to adjust. When you have a baby, there’s no time to adapt slowly. You’re thrown in, it is all consuming. Your days are spent in a daydream, a bubble filled with love, dirty nappies, and sleepless nights. You barely have time to think about your next move, let alone anything else. But then slowly, the bubble starts to deflate and the initial all consuming feelings, fade slightly and normality creeps back in. Except, it’s not normality as you’ve known it, it’s very much a ‘new normal.’
To go from a very active, sociable life, to spending every single day with a newborn baby who can’t communicate other than to cry, is a massive change. I’ve never been a ‘routine’ person – shift work put paid to that, but I loved it for the most part. I loved the element of every day being slightly different, no day was ever the same. Whereas now, every day feels the same, even on the weekends. That is part and parcel of having a baby, i understand that, and she is an absolute joy in my life, on the whole. It’s more the routine ‘lifestyle’ that comes with it – the monotony of tidying, cleaning and doing multiple rounds of washing eeeeevery single day, only for the house to be a tip again within minutes. I’m obviously spending much more time in the house these days and so these little things can start to build up.
I’ve recovered from the chronic sleep deprivation, the constant tears for no reason and my fear of mirrors (worzel Gummidges uglier twin springs to mind) which means I’m able to take a breather and start to think about myself now and again.(God forbid!)
With that, comes the realisation of how much I’ve forgotten about myself. My needs and wants, what makes me tick. I’ve forgotten how to be anything but ‘Olivias mummy.’ When i have time to myself the odd afternoon, I tidy the house or I prepare meals for Olivia. On the even rarer occasion that I have a night out, I spend the majority of the time wondering if she’s ok, or worrying about the next day with her. And whats even worse? I’ve become ‘one of those mums’ that doesnt speak about anything other than her baby.
But tell me, how can I have anything other than her to speak about when I don’t ever seem to do anything without her?
Of course the financial aspect probably adds to it – I chose to take a year off of work to spend with my baby. It’s SO worth it as I get to spend that extra bit of time watching her grow and hitting new milestones. But with that comes a pretty rubbish maternity pay, one which although is liveable, is tight. And doesn’t leave a huge amount every month to spend on ‘ luxuries.’
Things I used to take for granted such as meals out every week, new outfits/shoes/make up. Even just spending the money on beauty treatments such as getting my hair done or my eyebrows waxed (I’m hoping the monobrow is gonna make a come back soon!) is a bit of a luxury but would probably be enough for me to feel a bit more like ‘me’
I’m so lucky in the fact that I have a very hands on husband. He’ll often take Olivia when he gets home from work in the evening and he takes her swimming on a Sunday morning which gives me the chance to get on with things. And we try to do as many things as possible as a family when we can. I just need to figure out how to use my limited ‘me time’ to my advantage.
What do you guys get up to in your ‘own’ time? If such a thing exists anymore…..Throw any suggestions my way please.
This has been a much more negative based blog than my usual and ive been swaying as to write about it but one of the reasons i started this blog was as a way to write down my feelings and try to make sense of them. I want to look back on the good and the not so good times because its important not to sugarcoat everything.
There will be difficult days and times where i yearn for my previous freedom, but ultimately, I feel utterly blessed to have this beautiful, funny, interesting little character in my life and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching her grow. I know that in a years time, when im back working, I’ll be missing these days where I had to do nothing but spend quality time with my little Liv.