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.