My younger sister asked me a few weeks ago “what do you wish you had known before becoming a Mum?” I wasn’t so sure at first, and I think I mumbled something about sleep. But I’ve had a bit more of a think about this, so thought I would write a little post about a few of the things that came to mind. It is not to scare future parents, just more of a heads-up that this is what you can expect…(not all is bad!)
There Is No Break
One thing which hit me very shortly after having my son is the fact that parenting is an ongoing, full-time job. You can’t just decide you can’t be arsed one day, call in sick and stay in bed. There is a little person who needs you for all manner of things and these things (i.e. feeding) cannot be postponed. There are also no real-sick days off. If you’re sick, you’re sick, you just have to get on with it (you’re totally allowed to moan and feel sorry for yourself in the process of this though!)
It Can Be Repetitive
The newborn days can feel a bit like Groundhog Day. You feed, burp, play, change nappy, nap, repeat – all in around a three hour cycle, 24 hours a day! The bigger they get, the more variety you can have to your day, but it will still follow a similar pattern of feed, play, change, sleep. And like mentioned above, there is no break from this!
You Feel Guilty About Everything
I feel guilty pretty much all the time. It is horrible. The list of things I feel guilty about include, but are not limited to: I returned to work, i’m screwing up my child. I don’t feel 100% engaged all the time. Sometimes I just want some alone time. I am knackered and just want to sleep. I didn’t have time to cook tonight. I rely on our maid to keep our house together. My parents rarely get to see their Grandson. My son fell off the sofa, I’m a terrible Mum. I turned my back for a second and he put a rock in his mouth, I’m a terrible Mum. He didn’t nap enough today. I don’t take him on enough play-dates, I never exercise, etc, etc, etc. I never felt like this before becoming a Mum. In fact, I was quite carefree.
Your Perspective On Life Will Change
Things which might have once seemed important will seem somewhat trivial after having a child. It is quite incredible how becoming a parent can put things into perspective and sharpen your focus on what you want out of life. The people you view as important in your life will also change (you’ll be magnetized to other parents, since they just get it). Also, things you might once have enjoyed (i.e. a night out drinking and dancing) may become highly highly unappealing! Be warned…
You Will Say Goodbye To A Full Nights Sleep
Before becoming a Mum, I knew babies and sleep were not synonymous. I did however think that this was only the early months. My son is now 14 months old and I can hand on heart say I have not had a full night of unbroken sleep since he was born. Getting quality sleep is easier, but he still wakes me frequently through the night. And he still wakes at the crack of dawn (especially on a weekend)!! I am always tired, but I am so used to it that I think I often forget…also coffee.
Your Relationship With Your Partner Will Change
You will no longer be husband and wife, but Mummy and Daddy. This isn’t a bad thing, but you will have less ‘together’ time. You will forget what it is like to be alone, the two of you. You might miss each other. But you will also wonder what on earth you were doing with your time before you became parents. You may look back and ponder how empty it all was. Your life becomes enriched in so many ways, and you will truly embrace what it means to be ‘partners’ when raising a child.
You Will Feel Love Like You Have Never Experienced Before
It is a wild, primal love that you feel for your child. I cannot quite describe it other than that you love them unconditionally, beyond reason. You can feel it in your chest, like a glowing warmth. And your heart will hurt when you are away from them. Physically hurt. The centre of your world will shift from you, to them. Your happiness will always be secondary, but you will feel that that no longer matters, as long as your child is happy and healthy.
You Might Miss Your Old Life, But Would Not Change Back For Anything In The World
Enough said really. If you’re not yet a parent, but thinking you might be one day, then all I say is savour your child-free days, but know there are so many fantastic things to come! We parents might be knackered, frazzled, emotional hermits, but we’re a content bunch and would’t change it for anything!
P.s. If you want a test-run, The Sims is a pretty accurate representation of what its like to constantly try and keep everyone happy and fed and entertained and alive. There is just no pause button!
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