When I originally started writing this post, I came from a more humorous, light-hearted angle – The Dream VS The Reality kind of thing – but I stopped writing it. It was long, and quite negative, which I didn’t feel like I wanted to write.
Pregnancy and parenting – both tricky issues and yet, as I have come to realise from being part of the vast blogging world, everyone is talking about it! A mine field of different opinions and hundreds of words of advice offer to those who find themselves lost, worried and tearing their hair out.
In the time I’ve been writing Educating Roversi, talented and funny bloggers such as The Unmumsy Mum, Hurrah for Gin, Honest Mum and BrummyMummy of 2 have evolved and found their place firmly within the world of social media. But what is that makes them so popular? What makes readers click “share” or “retweet”? They tell it how it is…with some humour and alcohol references mixed in for good measure.
It sounds horrible but I hope that, with the development of people being honest about pregnancy and parenthood, those who find themselves staring at the little wee-soaked stick with the two blue lines on (or word “PREGNANT” if you get a posh one that you have to remortgage your house for) get a reality check and are, therefore, more prepared for what is to come…as prepared as you can be anyway!The majority of films and tv shows portray pregnancy and parenthood in a similar way: mums to be smiling with a protective hand on their neat little bump, couples laughing as the bump kicks Daddy’s hand softly resting on Mummy’s belly, mum’s looking fondly at their newborn (make up and hair done), calmly feeding your child exuding contentment and couples walking hand in hand with the baby nestled in the pram. I’m not saying that these things don’t happen, if I’m honest I may have experienced a couple on occasion, but the reality is that they are few and far between.
When it comes to pregnancy, I was one of the lucky ones. (Don’t hate me – I’ve had my fair share of sh*t in other aspects of my life!) I had little sickness, no complications, I didn’t look like the back end of a bus (I don’t think!) and I was home four hours after my eight hour birth.
Saying that, I did have to eat something every morning so I wasn’t sick and with my son being due in June, and the summer of 2014 being a particular hot one, my cankles were some of the most impressive I’ve ever seen…and I don’t really have ankles when I’m not pregnant! Honestly, my pregnancy was the 9 months of my 32 and a half years that I actually felt comfortable with my body. It was growing a human and doing what it was suppose to. Despite my positive experience of pregnancy I am fully aware that this might not be the case when we decide to make Little L a big brother. From my friends and family I have experienced many other sides to pregnancy that I know can be hideous – constant sickness, aches and pains, high blood pressure, Gestational diabetes, SPD just to name a few.I’ve heard people say
“But i’m so lucky to even be pregnant, I can’t complain.”
Well yes, you are lucky but don’t think you don’t have the right to have a moan, or it isn’t normal to think “What have a done to myself?” or freak out because you’re life is about to change completely, in every possible way. It doesn’t make you a bad person, or a bad mother. It makes you human!
No matter how sure you are that you want to be parent, however maternal you are, it doesn’t mean to say you are prepared. You could ready every book Miriam Stoppard has ever written on the subject but the reality is that every baby is different and you don’t know what flavour you’re going to get until it’s in the world, screaming, sicking and sh***ing all over you.Anyone who asks me about life as a mum gets the same answer:
“It’s the hardest, and most wonderful, thing I’ve ever done.”
Now, I have always said that one of my weaknesses is that I’m not a very decisive person. I would rather other people make decisions in most situations. And yet, never, in my whole life, have I had to make so many decisions as a parent. Every decision you make suddenly impacts your tiny human as well and you and well, quite frankly, that scared me. I questioned myself everyday.
Never have I never been so selfless. Before the son forming known as Peanut was even a glint in his Daddy’s eye, I would look forward to regular shopping trips, meals out, cinema visits and always have a long list for my birthday and Christmas of items I would like. In the past two years I still like all those things, but on the shopping trips I end up looking at kids clothes more than women’s, meals out are child friendly places where Little L can be occupied and cinema trips are either to a kids film (only recently did we have our first trip to Finding Dory). Birthday’s and Chirstmas’ are all about the little man….literally seen as our birthdays are the same day. I have everything, I don’t need anything. I find myself racking my brain for things I might like.
Since the day my son was born, possibily even before, the choices I made suddenly didn’t just affect me but my child too. To be honest, I’d never been too good at making my mind up about stuff and now there was added pressure to make sure it was the right thing for my son!Parenting takes its toll, physically and mentally. Everyone, where it’s your first time or third, expects tiredness however the reality of it is actually ridiculous. Zombie parents wandering aimlessly around their house and the local supermarket; dazed and confused, unsure of what day it is as they all merge into one. An endless stream of nappy changing, feeding and sleeping…just not when you want to sleep. Visitors coming and going, wanting cuddles from your newborn but not really doing anything to help. A word of advice to anyone visiting someone with a new baby: take a meal, make them a hot drink, do some washing up or something to help them. Don’t sit there and expect to be waited on hand and foot. They have enough on without having to look after you too.
Life has become happier and harder. No matter how strong your relationship is with your other half, it is immediately made ten times harder with a child. Quality time together becomes rare and that, combined of sleep deprivation, can make couples grow apart. If you’re lucky to have family and friends around you to help with babysitting duties it helps, but some people aren’t so lucky. In addition to this, usually, he’s going out to work every day while (from his perspective) you’re at home having a jolly with the baby. It’s a difficult situation that has to be handled carefully. I wrote about it a year ago in my post Resuscitating Our Marriage, at the end I sounded positive, knowing what I needed to do to make things better however we’ve had our fair share of troubles this year which all leads back to the same thing…a lack of time together. Only recently we take time when we can, evenings watching a film or even a cinema trip last month and I’m finally feeling like we are a couple again and not just Mummy and Daddy.
Which finally leads onto a loss of identity, it’s not terrible to feel like you want to be more than just “Mummy”. In fact, it was one of the reasons I started this blog when I was on maternity leave. I went from one extreme to another. Not wanting to just be a mum, to finding it difficult to juggle all the roles I suddenly had and my first post expressed my frustrations with motherhood. Saying that, it’s also the role I’m most comfortable with.
We’re now in the toddler years and each week is filled with challenges, most recently Potty Training. The tantrums are regular, the independence is growing and there are many happy moments. Nevertheless, each week is also filled with moments where I haven’t got a clue what to do, where I lose my sh*t, where I don’t know which job I should do first and where I constantly question myself.
Honestly, I could probably carry on writing this post for another few paragraphs but what it all boils down to is:
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
It’s completely normal to think “What have I done to my life?” and long for the time before your child came along. It’s normal to not have a clue what you are doing. Any parent who tells you they are fully confident in their parenting skills is lying…they also need a slap. It’s bloody hard…like the hardest thing in the world but, if it was that sh*t, no one would do it. They would the first time because ignorance is bliss, but no one would have more than one child. So there you go, the realities of parenthood are nothing like you expect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not great.
Oh, and if you want to know more…here’s what some Mum’s I know said they wish they’d known before they had their kids in a post called What We All Wanted To Know.
Like what you’ve read? Why not comment and tell me your thoughts below? You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you will see and hear more of the realities of parenting Little Roversi.