In a couple of weeks time, I will be the proud owner of a 5-month-old baby. Seeing as the last ‘Lessons in Motherhood’ post was when Lawson was eight weeks old (where has my baby gone?!!), I thought I should update you on some more lessons I’ve been learning as a new mother.
1. You get mad prioritising skills.
If I thought I was amazing at prioritising tasks before (which I did), that is literally nothing compared to my aptitude for ranking priorities now. Or maybe my need for prioritising has just become a little bit more urgent. For example, pre-motherhood, a list of priorities would have been between going shopping, binge watching another Netflix series and taking a selfie for Instagram. Nowadays, that list is more along the lines of taking a shower, eating or napping. I just feel like my efficiency skills have skyrocketed to the max. I am now able to sterilise bottles one handed, make lunch one handed and generally juggle a multitude of tasks at one time. Ain’t nothing like motherhood to teach you that skill.
2. Your social skills take a dive.
Whilst my knack for prioritising may have increased, I’ve noticed this over the past month or so that my social skills have very much decreased as a result of motherhood. The perks of being on maternity leave mean that you can hang out with your friends pretty much anytime you want. However, is this quality time? Hmmmm, not so much. If I happen to be meeting a friend who also has a child, there will always be this kind of awkward silence when both of us are talking to our babies and trying to entertain them instead of talking to each other. Never experienced that before. And if I happen to be hanging out with friends who don’t have babies, I find myself zoning out of conversations wondering if Lawson is still alive if he’s in bed, or worse still, being completely distracted from conversations altogether if Lawson is with me. Again, never come across this before, but I feel like there is literally nothing I can do to remedy it. Baby comes first.
3. You’re a hormonal mess. Even after 5 months.
Have I recently been known to cry in the car to James Arthur? Yes. More than once. That song just gets me! **sings** just say you won’t let go… Lawson… etc etc. I never really thought of myself as much of a cryer before I had Lawson, I mean, I didn’t have a stone heart, I still cried at Marley and Me, but I’ve definitely noticed a distinct change in how easy it is for me to well up these days. Sometimes Lawson smiles… And I cry… Sometimes Lawson cries… And I cry… It’s not just once a month anymore, ladies, (although that time of the month is considerably more emotional than before too) It’s ALL. THE. TIME. Hormones – make friends, get to know them, because they’re not in a hurry to rush off.
4. The more aware they become, the more demanding they become.
Boy have I lived this the past few weeks. The first compliment people normally pay when they see Lawson is, “gosh, he’s so alert isn’t he?” to which I reply, “yes” through gritted teeth. My darling boy is so alert, and it’s beautiful to see him taking in the world around him and all that, but it also means he has discovered who mummy is. And sometimes that means he will scream the house down unless mummy pays him undivided attention all day. No breaks with this kid! Not complaining, I love spending time with Lawson, but I have noticed that he has gotten a lot more demanding the past few weeks. On a side note – kind of cherishing this – the kid bloody adores me.
5. Sleep does get better.
Yay! This is for future Hayley who has newborn number 2 and is feeling like sleepless nights will never end. Well, they haven’t ended completely, but they have got better. Lawson now normally only wakes once in the night, two times max. I remember when he was first born wandering round Sainsbury’s like an actual zombie because I couldn’t remember where any of the items I needed were. Those days, he would wake up 3-4 times a night. How I got through those first few months is beyond me. An unhealthy amount of caffeine maybe.
So that pretty much concludes my most recent lessons on motherhood. It’s a constant rollercoaster of things that get easier against things that get harder. But to tell you the truth, I am flippin’ loving it. There is no magic on earth like this.
The lovely Louise Pentland off of Sprinkle of Glitter (blog) and Sprinkle of Glitter (YouTube) has blown my mind with her new project for 2017, which encourages mamas everywhere to basically spend more quality, present time with their kids, and blog about it.
So naturally, I’mma be ALL. OVER. THIS. Any excuse to get out with my little man and go on new adventures and take photos and blog about it, I mean, I’m really in my element here.
First mummy date of many to come, was a trip to Cheltenham to see our lovely friend Emma. I was pretty nervous because it’s the first big day trip I’ve taken him on by myself. I think sometimes you have to push yourself to do these things; otherwise you end up never doing anything!
The journey down was blissful, Lawson slept all the way practically, and I was able to listen to a motivational Podcast by Tony Robbins (absolute legend). I did, however, find myself busting for a wee half way there (dam pelvic floor), which resulted in us finding a service station toilet that I chose to squat over instead of sit on.
So we arrive in Cheltenham, and, having already done my research of restaurants that offer decent vegan options (how very organised), we decided on a place called Boston Tea Party. I was actually really impressed with their vegan selection, and went for avocado and hummus on rye bread (still not sure how I feel about rye bread, but ate anyway), a green juice and a vegan coconut flapjack (dribble). Cue arty Instagram shots… The hot drink belonged to Emma, but was too hipster not to take a photo really.
Lawson was so well behaved over lunch, and was all laughs and smiles until he realised he was getting hungry and had a minor breakdown (minor in comparison to recent days…) So we swiftly headed back to Emma’s place (which has THE best lighting for photography I think I’ve ever seen), to feed the little munchkin, change his nappy (because of course he soiled himself in the very posh house), and get ready to head off.
The journey home was another story. He was crying, I was crying, it all got a bit emotional. Won’t go too much into that because it was only a small part of what otherwise was such a lovely day with my boy.
I vlogged our little date day as well, so here is the video version if you fancy having a nosey!
If any of you other mamas are bloggers and keen to get involved, click the image below which will link you to Louise’s blog post telling you how!
The day Lawson had his first vaccinations is the day I realised how much becoming a mother has ruined my ability to hold my s*** together. It’s a funny story…
Twenty-four hours prior to his immunisations, I naturally spent a significant portion of time Googling.
‘How do I look after a baby with a fever?’
‘Can I use an oral thermometer under the armpit?’
‘Is it normal to cry at your baby’s first immunisation appointment?’
I now also consider myself an expert on Calpol’s post-immunisation guidelines. I had it covered from all angles, let’s be honest.
On the day of the appointment I found myself acting pretty weird around Lawson, trying to keep it very ‘hush hush’ that I was about to drag him to the doctors to have multiple needles stuck in his legs… I also found myself getting very teary whenever he looked into my eyes, I couldn’t help thinking ‘what am I doing to you, baby?’ (I’m welling up just thinking about it, to tell you the truth.)
Motherhood has also ruined my ability to have ANY perspective whatsoever, the fact that his immunisations are preventing him from getting fatal illnesses, for example. ‘Rational’ is not a word I would use to describe myself these days.
I played the emotional card with my husband (is it still a card if there are actual tears?), which ensured he was there with me at the appointment. I also made him hold our son during the procedure (I did feel bad about that one). The appointment went as to be expected; Lawson cried, I almost cried, Daniel even felt like Lawson somehow resented him for holding him down. That being said, it was over pretty quickly, and as soon as we shoved some Calpol down him (of which he was not a fan), he fell asleep. Probably dreaming about how much he used to love his parents.
None of this really surprised me. I was expecting to be slightly emotional at the appointment and then go home and enjoy cuddles on the sofa with my boy whilst watching Elf. Nothing really prepared me for the overhwleming paranoia that set in as soon as Daniel went back to work. My brain went completely off on one with ‘does he look paler than normal?’ ‘does he always breathe this quickly?’ ‘is he hot?’ ‘IS HE HOT???’ And so on and so on. You get the picture.
Overbearing crazy mama Hayley aside, in the evening Lawson definitely wasn’t himself. He was pretty grouchy and cried every time he woke up (I can’t even). Every two minutes, on average, my hands would frantically feel around his body – his forehead, his chest, his back, his belly – to see if I thought he might have a temperature. Safe in the knowledge that we only had a crappy Tommee Tippee oral thermometer that came as part of a set (which apparently isn’t even appropriate for use on babies… WHY put it in the set?!), my own mother’s words, ‘if he’s got a temperature he’ll feel like a radiator’ were all I had to go by. Did he feel like a radiator? Who actually knows. He was, however, hotter than normal, and my second attempt at giving him Calpol had resulted in a very sticky chin and sleepsuit.
In a slapdash attempt to put some sort of figure on his temp, I used what was supposed to be an oral thermometer under my baby’s armpit… That happened. Knowing full well that it wouldn’t be accurate, the reading of 38.1 still sent me into an absolute frenzy. In fact, my husband came up the stairs to find his wife lying down with the baby on her chest, tears streaming down her cheeks and blubbering ‘ring NHS Direct, 111!’ I’m fairly sure at this point it confirmed his suspicions that motherhood has turned me into a maniac. Nevertheless, he called NHS Direct, who further instructed us to attend the out of hours at the hospital. Off we went.
There is something to be said for a mother’s instinct. Unfortunately not so much to be said for mine. We had what can only be described as a very surreal experience at the hospital (where the doctor’s facial plastic surgery is only part of the story), our little Lawson had a temperature of 37.1… How embarrassing… Plastic surgery aside, the doctor was really nice about it, and seemed to understand my mum-induced paranoia.
I treated Lawson to sleeping in our bed (we’d both had a hard day!), enabling us to sleep off the events of the day and reflect on the fact that next time, I’mma need a decent thermometer that IS appropriate for babies.
For a large part of my time as a pregnant lady, I was in complete denial of how much motherhood would change my life. Nothing prepared me for this little bundle of joy that would somehow sap all of my time (and money.) I vividly remember being given on more than one occasion unwanted nuggets of wisdom like, ‘get your sleep now, you’ll need it!’ and ‘you want to blog AND have a YouTube channel while you’ve got a baby? Yeah, right!’ and even now, it sparks something in me that says ‘poor them, they’re so negative.’ However, it is with my tail between my legs, that I have to admit that there is an element of truth to what they said. Having a newborn turns your world upside down and inside out. Multiple times.
I love routine, and for the most part of the last 8 weeks, I have battled with what I like to call my ‘earth mother’ side vs. my ‘business’ side. Let me explain. The earth mother in me is all about the ‘feeding on demand’, ‘baby wearing’ and ‘baby lead weaning’. Business Hayley isn’t really into that. Business Hayley wants her baby to feed every three hours, to have a structured bedtime routine (although I’m pretty sure earth mother Hayley is into that too, probably just with more lavender), and mama lead weaning because she can’t be arsed with the heck of cleaning the mess. To this day, my dual-personalities are still battling it out to decide what kind of parent I’m going to be, or whether I’ll become an awkward concoction of both. Slowly but surely though, I have been able to pick up somewhat fragmented pieces of wisdom in the past 8 weeks that I am keen to write down as a reminder for next time (can I be pregnant again now, please?)
The first lesson is this. The phrase ‘but he never used to do that’ is invalid. Completely invalid. Baby progress, whether it’s time between feeds, sleeping patterns or little personality traits coming through, is in no way linear. This drives me insane, because just when you’re getting somewhere and feel that overwhelming sense of pride that leads you to brag a big one at all the baby groups (that I obviously go to…), you wake up with such a different baby that it makes you wonder where your old baby went. Have some perspective, woman. These phases don’t last forever. If I could go back and talk to my swollen pregnant self, I would say forget all of your expectations. None of them are going to be met. Just go in with an open mind and heart – that is literally all you can do. Then you will be both amazed at how much grace you find for your little human, and equally not disappointed when it all goes tits up (quite literally if you’re breast feeding).
Second is for the sake of marriages everywhere. Do not hold grudges for things that are said when tired. Men, we don’t mean it. We’re just knackered, and sick of having to use our half asleep brains to try and figure out why our baby is crying at 3am. Every. Night.
And finally, you’re going to need to invest in a decent pair of gloves. Trivial, but necessary. Pregnant Hayley had never thought of this before. But when it’s freezing cold and you’re trudging your iCandy Peach around with which you haven’t quite mastered the one-handed-pram-push yet (which I can confirm I have not), gloves are a non-negotiable. My hands actually went numb this week failing to take this advice. You’re welcome.
This just about sums up my 8 weeks worth of mothering experience and the lessons I have learned so far. I intend to continue writing my thoughts on motherhood throughout my journey (that’s right), so that future Hayley, who is most likely just as forgetful as present Hayley, will appreciate it when we finally decide to go for round 2. This is also for anyone else out there who is first time mum-ing their pants off wondering how their life got to the point where talking baby bowel movements on a daily basis isn’t weird.
And on that lovely note, I’m signing off. I hope at least some of this resonates with you. Stay strong, mamas, you’re doing great.
Hopefully you’re up to date with my social media enough to know that our gorgeous little Lawson made his appearance on Monday 26th September at 1:01am, after his Mama being in denial that she was actually in labour for most of the day! The photo above (where I look like… well, I’m not sure what…) was our very first family photo, taken about an hour after I gave birth.
We had an eventful first week, with me having to have surgery following the birth and Lawson picking up a nasty infection which had him on antibiotics for a week. Quite honestly, I’m still not really over what a traumatic experience our week in hospital was (it has only been a week though – be kind to yourself, Hayley!), but I wanted to share with you and document the photos I did take of Lawson during the first week of his life because I know in time to come I will look back at these photos with fondness and remember the amazing care he was given in hospital.
They are not the most ‘Instagram-friendly’, artistic shots, but they are true to the experience we had, I hope you enjoy following the journey with us!
I also uploaded a hospital vlog on my YouTube channel if you would like a more in-depth version of our first week! Enjoy!
Vlogger, blogger and first time mama to be, living in the middle of England with my husband Daniel and soon to be our little peanut, Lawson. Self-confessed coffee addict, social-media addict and passionate writer, this blog aims to document my pregnant life and beyond!