Pre “little people” (as I like to call them) I was never going to be one of “those mums” whose life revolved around their kids or whose kids changed who they are; what they did, what they liked, what they believed, how they looked. Our kids were going to eat at the table, accompany me on walks, sit quietly or sleep through our nights out, and wear what I thoughtfully picked out for them. They would be easygoing and happy as they accompany me on the day-to-day adventures of life. I would not let them watch too much tv, eat too much junk, throw tantrums in shopping centres, or throw food for that matter. (And yet here I am!) My car would not be filthy, nor would my pram, nor would my clothing. I would be firm but not too strict. I would be fun; we would have a lot of fun. They would be nice and polite but spirited too.
It’s like they say “parenting is the easiest thing to have an opinion about but the hardest thing to do” – and I don’t even think I was that opinionated, rather a little uneducated, obviously inexperienced, mostly uninterested, and plain VERY naive. I envisioned having a baby in our life; I saw my friends with babies; I knew I would have to give up a lot of the nights out. I had found my baby daddy and it was the next step for us – we were as ready as you could be. [How hard could it be?!] We then read all the “what’s happening to your baby this week”, and the excitement grew as our baby and I grew. I was positive going into the birth, and although it was overwhelming and excruciating, we survived to do it all again! (albeit with a lot less drama and trauma the second time round) Like many new mums I was much more focused on physically having the baby than the day to day life and workings of a newborn or toddler, plus everything else that you deal with post-birth – but more on that later.
I underestimated exactly what kids are – they are little people, their own little people. We made them and they are all of both of us – the good and the not so good – rolled in together. They are a mirror for our greatest features and biggest flaws. We love them completely, and they are often all consuming; we are focused on them or their best interests all the time. [Who the hell knew kids took up so much time?!] We are here to hold their hands as they explore the big wide world – but they will do it their way, in their time. They have this huge curious crazy energy for life, which you can not always understand or just shut off when it suits you; this is both the most frustrating and amazing thing.
The reality is that my life with little people is much less cafe culture and cute outfits, and much more counting to three and constant chaos. Not that I would change it for the world. But on most days there are many moments I would much prefer to be doing something else… cocktails by the pool in Bali anyone ?! Or for that matter, even being in the bathroom by myself would do.
I was in no way prepared for how much my kids would take over my life, but I was also not capable of knowing how much more full they would make my life. I’ve changed in so many ways and not only because I have had to; in many ways I have lost who I was – and on some days more than others I really do miss “her” – but I have also found myself. Your priorities and perspective completely changes. Your worries shift and your heart grows. Personally I feel I have more self-worth, self confidence and credibility now that I am a mummy; I am simply more than I was before – I have a whole other set of emotions and connections that I had never previously bought into or understood. I also have a mountain more guilt, a lot more washing and cleaning, bigger bags under my eyes, more veins on my legs, less time, less money, less memory, less hair, less boobs!.. and I drink more coffee and wine. A lot.more.coffee.and.wine.
Like many a great journey, motherhood is full of highs and lows; I do count myself very lucky thus far. Firstly, just to be on this motherhood journey, and not to have experienced any significant lows – but I have to say there are many continual challenges. Right now, for me, everyday has its challenges. It is different for everyone; we are all different and our kids are different. There are some phases that are harder than others, and again these differ between us. All the phases pass, but they are replaced by another phase, and a new challenge. Let’s face it – being a mummy IS hard work – this stage of life IS hard work; it’s often exhausting, both mentally and physically. I know it. My mummy friends agree. And you read it all the time. Like they say “it’s not always easy but it’s worth it”.
Foremost – kids are just relentless – from the moment they wake (too early) until the time they (after exhausting every diversion and distraction) go to bed it’s all about them and nothing is easy: from what thy want to eat, to what they want to wear. There is the fighting, and the falling, the mess and the sickness – oh the vomit! One day they like something or someone, the next day they don’t. It just feels like they are NEVER HAPPY. They won’t get in the car, they won’t get out of the car. It’s too hot, it’s too cold. Mum my undies are itchy – mum I want a milk (no not that milk) – mum carry me – mum she pushed me – mum he bit me – mum I need to do a wee (mum pull my undies down, no not that far down) – mum my shoes hurt…. *yes, those are the shoes I told you not to wear because they hurt. They are not hungry at meal time, yet they are starving as soon as you leave the house *you again swear that this is the last time you will buy any sort of treat… but you have given in, simply because you can’t withstand the whining any longer. Cue more #mummyguilt – something I have become oh so familiar and gradually a little more comfortable with. #mummyguilt over working too much, or over not working enough. Over being too harsh, or not being strict enough. Over not doing enough with my kids, or giving them too much… #mummyguilt all the time, over everything.
I am the first to acknowledge that I am only near the beginning of my motherhood journey and I have a hell of a lot more to learn and experience along the way. As my parents keep reminding me – “just wait until they’re teenagers”! This blog is merely an honest insight into “me”; my life as a mummy, and our life with little people. I hope it promotes a little sympathetic giggle or some reassurance or inspiration. And I hope to make some new connections. But most of all this blog is just for me – because all of us mummies know it’s oh so hard to find the time or resources or courage to do “something for me”. Plus – I need someone to talk to! So thanks for sharing this first big scary step as I try to join the “mummy blogger tribe”. I hope you will continue to join me and enjoy my LIFE WITH LITTLE PEOPLE journey… Jo x