The reality of motherhood
When people ask me what motherhood is like, I always tell them the same thing:
It’s like being thrown into the deep water with your kids and being told to swim.
How? Where to? No idea! But, you have to swim to survive and, most importantly, you need to keep your kids’ heads above water too.
You know, when I first got pregnant, I still had my rose-tinted glasses on and I dreamt of life as a mum with rainbows and sunny days. My kids would be perched on my lap, smiling at me intently and telling me that they loved me all the time. I envisaged leaning over my doting children’s shoulders and pointing to the correct answer in the homework book with a toothy grin, like those composed family pictures you get on the internet or on a postcard. And, of course, my babies would just pop out into my arms during birth and I would fall in love with them instantly.
Everything would be just great.
I got pregnant – twice – and even though both pregnancies were pretty uneventful, I had an Emergency Caesarean with my first and an Elective Caesarean (not by choice, ironically) with my second.
Now, I have two beautiful baby boys aged 2 ½ and 3 ½.
So, what is motherhood really like? (for me anyway)
Motherhood is like:
- Breastfeeding your hungry baby, whilst changing his nappy and clothes without fully waking him up.
- Changing your potty-trained preschooler’s clothes and bed linen in a slick ninja move that doesn’t involve him waking up because he’s peed absolutely everywhere. (It takes serious skill to do that, you know!)
- Getting into bed after a long, hard day, closing your eyes and sinking into the most comfortable position you’ve ever found yourself in, only to be shaken violently by your preschooler because he’s peed all over his clothes and bed sheets again. Up you get!
- Realising that you’ve managed to get the house cleaned, the chores completed and the kids fed, clothed, and entertained on just 3 hours sleep.
- Intricately planning a precious slot during the day to attempt a 20-minute workout whilst the kids are occupied with each other and then 10 minutes into the workout, they jump on you and do anything they can to stop you exercising because they need you for something – anything, it doesn’t matter to them.
- Trying to get your kids’ attention, to entice them into doing something educational with their time, but they’ve forgotten that you exist and ignore you completely. Then, you receive an important phone call and they start screaming and crying at each other, to the point where the person on the phone asks, ‘Is this is a bad time to talk…?’
- Being jumped on, kicked on, hair pulled out and face licked, sometimes all at the same time.
- Getting used to and drowning out a constant high decibel of noise throughout the day.
- Being shouted at, sung to, and, especially, “Mummy!”ed at by two preschoolers. It’s amazing how you can zone out your kids’ voices quite easily sometimes – anything to survive the insanity!
- Having everything meticulously prepared and organised for the school run, including uniform, packed lunches, spare clothes, changing bag, and nappies etc. Then, at the last minute, your baby decides to poo just as you’re about to leave and the poo travels all the way up his back. His clothes are ruined and you have to completely change him before you leave. Cue being late, again!
- Never being able to keep up with the laundry, especially with a potty trained preschooler in the house. Just pack all the dirty clothes in a bag and watch the bin bags multiply after just a few days. Sigh…
- Watching Peppa Pig long after the kids have got bored with it and gone somewhere else to play. Sometimes I don’t realise that I’ve been watching for a whole ten minutes by myself!
- Drinking coffee like it’s the elixir of life. Without it, you feel like you’ll slip into a coma and never wake up.
- Feeling guilty at night when they’re sleeping soundly because you may have told them off one too many times that day and realised that, in the whole grand scheme of things, it didn’t really matter that they pulled all the books down off the shelf, just as you were about to leave the house and you gave them a good yelling at for ruining your carefully planned schedule. Look at how peaceful and beautiful they are when they’re asleep!
- Staying on call throughout the night to ensure your babies don’t scratch their chickenpox or to helpfully ease their snotty, stuffy noses, using all methods necessary AND without waking them up.
- Having a long, hard and stressful day, dealing with misbehaving children who categorically refuse to use any other word in the English dictionary other than “NO”. Then, they become angels at bedtime and go to sleep at the drop of a hat when you’ve managed to calm yourself down and just enjoy your children’s presence for a change. Kids can really feel your vibe!
- Trying to breastfeed one baby when the other baby is vying for your attention – I don’t just need more than two arms – I need two of me!
Pearls of wisdom that I’ve learned on the job
- Mostly anything can be cured by a cuddle from mum (except for real sickness, but it does help with the recovery!)
- Whenever my boys are angry, upset, impatient, or just plain aggro, sometimes I just hold them close and tell them that I love them and they ease up almost instantaneously.
- Place a dose of Calpol into peppermint tea (diluted down with cooled boiled water) and add a dash of honey and lemon in a bottle for a soothing and super medicinal drink when the boys are sick. I whack on a Thomas and Friends DVD, stick them on the couch and wrap them up in a blanket – they’re in their own little heaven.
- Instead of using a nasal aspirator when the boys have stuffy noses, I use [easyazon_link identifier=”B00BBWA0J2″ locale=”UK” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”motherho-21″ cart=”y” cloak=”y” localize=”y” popups=”y”]Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to Comfort during Bathtime[/easyazon_link]. Their noses are like running taps afterward – easy for me to wipe away.
- I puree bits of food that the boys don’t like into either soup, pasta or rice dishes. My eldest doesn’t like meat, but he happily eats it in the tomato sauce with spaghetti. I always tell him though and it doesn’t faze him. Toddler defiance!
- When shopping, I give the boys the shopping list and tell them to look out for each item. It’s the easiest and safest method of avoiding tantrums or other cringe-worthy moments.
- I am forever training myself to keep my cool as best as I can when the going gets tough and I try to take each step and task one at a time. It’s not fair or safe for the children to constantly experience a stressed-out parent.
- Nap when the baby naps. Really! If you have frequent night wakers like me, it’s the only way you’ll survive, honest! Well, that and coffee…
- Record all of their first moments, like first steps, first tooth and first holiday etc. You’ll soon forget these important moments during the hustle and bustle of your parenting world.
- Enjoy the quiet time when the kids are in bed and make sure you make it all about you. It’s your downtime and your chance to process, repair and rejuvenate from the days’ events.
- Don’t compare your children to other children. Every kid develops differently and we all catch up with each other in the end.
- Incidentally, don’t make judgments on other mums. They have their own children to worry about and they are doing the best that they can for their kids, even though their choices may not be your first choice. We are all in a secret unwritten community that only us mums can be in because we all understand each other and share common ground. We have all created something truly beautiful – our kids! Let’s celebrate this true miracle together and not against each other.
- One day you’ll wake up and they’ll be all grown doing their own thing with their own families, so make sure you enjoy your time together and truly value those special moments. Kids grow up so fast!
It’s the best job in the world, but be warned, it’s the toughest job in the world. No one, but, no one can do it better than you because you’re their mum! Don’t ever forget that 🙂
I’d love to hear about your realities of motherhood, please comment below and share the wealth!
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