“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”
I came across the above quote recently reading a magazine and after a particularly exhausting month of caring for a teething toddler it got me thinking about how becoming Jay’s mother has meant my role in the World has changed. I’m trying to learn to navigate not just the logistics of life with an almost 18 month old but a new emotional terrain.
I can’t obviously wear the experienced mother’s hat yet as it’s still the beginning and I feel unbelievably lucky to have carried Jay to full term even after suffering a miscarriage and dealing with infertility issues. Looking after a newborn with severe reflux though was mighty tough but that stage passed after 10 months. Looking after a toddler who has been teething from 3 months old has been challenging to say the least but parenthood is a roller coaster from extreme highs to the lows.
I don’t want to wish this time away but sometimes I have moments where I do miss aspects of my old life. I wonder when I will get to replace the changing bag with a pretty handbag again or accept an invitation at short notice and get my glad rags on and spend more than 5 minutes painting my face. While I have come to terms with the things I have had to give up, I can also see the way my goals have become so much richer, because there’s now a very special little man that looks at me with such lovely innocence and I’m overwhelmed at how much this little sponge already understands.
I am here but I am a different version of myself.
I am Physically STRONGER
Let’s face it the body is never the same after having children. However I have come to realise that I have become stronger. Popeye would be impressed with my right arm. The ability to carry out tasks one handed was tough at first but now it’s not a problem. This body works hard and childbirth well it was for me a 37 hour physically demanding endurance event. I’ve never known anything quite like it and my Gold medal, my son was worth every second.
I am Forgetful
My Post baby brain is not great, I am not as good at remembering things and I do a lot more going upstairs and then forgetting what I was going upstairs for. I have previously opened the freezer door with an over glove and once found I had placed my mobile in the biscuit tin discovered after four days. I experience frequent moments of brain-ache trying to remember the million and one things I need to do. I recently found a memory training book which I had purchased some time ago and forgot I had it. This is now being read in the hope that I can keep the brain cells a boost.
I’m a List Maker
I have two note books and keep a diary for appointments. I STILL write a daily record of when I change Jay’s nappy and feed him for the simple reason *please see above*.
I Cook more
I’m not a great cook but I am much more keen to cook than ever before. My diet has changed in that I am eating less sugar and both Mr M and I want to remain in good health for Jay. When I’m in my 50’s Jay will be in his early teenage years yikes! therefore I am much more health conscious and want to stay and feel young but still believe in saying ‘everything in moderation!’
My Inner Child
Motherhood has brought out my inner child. As an older mum I want to be able to stay fun for Jay and find myself being very silly with him some days whether it be making blankie fortresses/tents/ playing hide and seek, and doing the congo as we head into the kitchen in the morning. I watch children’s programmes morning to evening and pretty much know the theme music and songs word for word engraved in my mind. Nevermind chart music, I sing Wind the Bobbin, Zoom Zoom and other rhymes.
I am Anxious
Anxiety levels have inevitably gone up and sometimes off the richter scale. I do find some days overwhelming and scary trying to keep on top of chores and day to day life . I am working on managing that as I don’t want to worry unnecessarily. The health visitor once said to me worry is like a rocking chair, gives you something to do but won’t get you anywhere. My mum would tell me pre-motherhood that I wouldn’t really know ‘worry’ until I had a child…thanks mum. My former worries and concerns now seem superfluous by comparison. Lets face it there will be days that just go down the toilet, those days which don’t go as planned and will cause frustration but I’m to remind myself that tomorrow is another day so to forget about what’s happened and move on.
I have more Patience (well sort of)
I thought I was a relatively patient person pre-Jay but my goodness I know what Patience really means as there are days where I like most parents are tested to the max. I am starting to focus more on my breathing and take deep breaths and count to 3 when it does get a bit too much. A recent example was when Jay would not go to sleep (this teething business has been awful) and at 23:45 hours he started laughing and blowing raspberries at me….he went to bed 15 mins after. There was also two weeks he didn’t want to eat solids and I was literally bringing out platters of different food items throughout the day in the hope he would get something into his little belly. Patience is a virtue they say!
I Drink Less Alcohol
The thought of having a hangover and looking after a toddler gives me the shivers. Having a glass of wine is more of a treat and as it’s usually just one glass then I make sure it’s a large!
I am less Spontanious
I can’t just do stuff at the drop of a hat going out clubbing and that’s me in Ibiza above. Much more planning is required attending any events. I’m not actually a party girl quite the opposite in fact, a homely soul at heart so I don’t mind ‘staying in’. My random outings are a thing of the past.
I am Realistic
Time doesn’t wait for anyone and I certainly feel there is not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on my daily list but I am realistic about things and try to be productive working faster in getting jobs done. I am a perfectionist which can be a bit of a curse as things don’t always go to plan of course and I am left feeling deflated. There is of course the monotony of motherhood that feeling of GroundHog Day but I know like so many parents out there that what we need to remind ourselves that what we are doing is so worthwhile.
Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont
I am forward-looking.
Past experiences can shape us but I always try and see the positive even when clouds are grey. I do think about the future as well as remembering to live in the moment. Before Jay, I lived my life for myself. I wasn’t a frivolous person, but I definitely put serious thought into deciding what heels would go with my skinny jeans. All of that has changed as I now think about the World Jay will live in when I’m long gone. I recycle more as silly as this sounds but I hope it will make a difference for the planet when Jay is living his adult life. I realise I have also been donating more helping children in need of care and protection.
I am a Daily Cleaner
I can’t seem to function in a cluttered space and feel I am constantly tidying up which has increased ten-fold since having Jay. I know that I need to ‘let go’ on having a completely clean and tidy house all the time but it’s pretty hard for someone like me who is a tad OCD about cleanliness.
My Body is different
I managed to get back to my pre pregnancy weight fairly quickly and currently stay trim using aids like the Slendertone, the Nutri Bullet, and by using a skipping rope which I’ve blogged about. However the trauma my petite frame endured during child birth with forceps and an episiotomy was just too much. I still think I walk funny and let’s not mention the joys of bladder weakness and more hair growth in the wrong places. When your mum also starts giving you Tenna Lady as well as anti wrinkle cream you know that things will never be the same.
I wear less Makeup and prefer comfort over style
I can’t remember the last time I used mascara as I have ridiculously watery eyes and now paint my face in approx 5 mins. I have mastered the 3-4 mins shower in comparison to the 30 mins I used to take not very eco-friendly at all. I won’t mention how long I would take in the bath! I know they say less is more but some days I do need extra help and I actually do love makeup. Yes I do own numerous pairs of black lycra leggings but don’t we all? and wearing a mishmash of comfy house clothes is just the norm now. I have even ventured outside without makeup which I would not have dreamt of doing before Jay came along. There are still times I realise once outside that I am wearing my top inside out or back to front covered in all types of toddler messes. Whilst dealing with his reflux I constantly had to change my clothes as well as his with all the milk throw ups not to mention his wee and poo episodes.
I’m a Stay at Home Mum
I was planning on returning to work after my year long maternity leave although deep down my heart ached as I wanted to be a stay at home mum and would have had to return to my role as a PA full time. The situation went in my favour as I was made redundant and luckily Mr M said he would support me whatever I wanted to do. I was happy with my decision to want to look after the baby we created and he sent me this recently which made me realise I had made the right decision for us.
It would have been hard to do all the commuting I was doing in and out of London working the long hours that I did. I figured that I had waited so long to be a parent and I want to be there for Jay’s milestones watching him grow. He does love being around other children so I take him along to classes and play groups. I’m sure at some stage I will return to work but after 15 years of office life my priorities have changed and I do love looking after the little tinker with all the ups and downs. I have a new found respect for stay at home parents as well as parents who go out to work. Both have their Pros and Cons and can be exhausting mentally and physically. We are all doing what we need to do for our children.
No one said parenthood would be easy, it’s on the job training and I have to thank my lucky stars that I have been given the chance to raise a child after wondering what it would be like after so many years. Mr M and I have a life long dedication to make a caring, responsible, honest human being out of Jay.
How do you think you have changed since you became a mother or a father?
Feel free to leave any comments or advice!