Us mums can sometimes get a bad wrap, and I’m not talking the sandwich variety here. If we’re not hating each other, we’re being too smug, we’re being too competitive, we’re not good enough, we drink too much coffee and wine, or we dare enjoy just being ‘mums’ and not working! All these traits tend to be banded about in the media I hasten to add, I don’t believe any of this rubbish. We are what we are, us mums, and I think that truth be told, the majority of us are doing a damn good job, even if we do happen to feed the kids beige food three days in a row (*cough, that definitely wasn’t me, cough*) Being a mother is incredibly hard at times but it’s also hugely rewarding. It’s a large amount of good with a dose of bad thrown into the mix. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty, what’s the real truth about being a mum and what are the bits that people might fail to tell you about?
Okay let’s not beat around the bush (that’s not a lady-related euphemism by the way, although I’ve now just made it one..anway) let’s talk about the con’s first. What are the downsides to being a mother to a little human?
I think the most obvious one is the late nights. I thought my years of going to bed at sunrise O’clock would prepare me for having a baby, but no, just no. It’s a different kind of early AM no sleep hell. This interrupted sleep is a total killer because just as you have fed the baby at 1am and crawled back into bed, the minute deep sleep is imminent they wake up again. It’s this cycle in those first few weeks that has you on your knees, matchsticks holding your eyelids open begging for caffeine.
The completely irrational tantrums that spring from nowhere. My daughter was such a happy little thing, then she turned two and I swear she was switched with another child. They scream because you won’t let them hit you with a stick, or run in the road, or because they want to eat their tea off the floor. They do crocodile death rolls in busy supermarkets when you are laden with shopping and want to put them in the buggy. They will happily lye on the floor in any establishment, regardless of the shade of red you have turned, kicking their legs and screaming at the top of their lungs, and all because you just want to go home and they don’t. It’s tough being a kid, *sigh*
The awkward social moments that you find yourself in. There is your child, yep, it’s definitely yours, hitting another child with plastic saucepan at a soft play, or face planting a kid into the sand pit. As the responsible (pah!) adult you have to deal with these situations with apologise to other parents, with lots of bowing and curtseying as you back away. Your child also might try and steal someone else’s lunch (this totally happens) and you have to replace a stranger’s cheese sandwich as if nothing happened. Working in an office for ten years did NOT prepare me for such moments.
You will find yourself catching your own child’s sick and poo in your hands and that’s okay. I won’t dwell on this topic but just know that it will happen.
If you didn’t before, you will find yourself weeping suddenly at any given moment. That advert with the puppy, the John Lewis Christmas advert, a mother in the street kissing her child, anything in the news to do with children or your husband forgetting your anniversary. Those emotions have been cranked up full notch and they’ll get you by surprise when you’re least expecting it.
The body changes. Those once, perky boobs find themselves southward bound, never turning back. And that once flat (ish) tummy now has a certain ‘sag’ to it, a bounce that it didn’t have before. There are random brown marks on your face and aches in your body that you never had before. Being pregnant massively changes your body and that does take some getting used to post baby.
I could go on with the con’s but honestly, it’s not really all bad (just a side note: wine helps). Two and a half years down the line and yes it’s been a complete roller-coaster and still is ‘scream out loud’ hard at times, but there are some awesome things that go with being a mother.
The body changes! Okay so everything’s headed south but you birthed a (hopefully) tiny human, that’s amazing!! A ridiculously crazy achievement when you really think about how the baby grows, and however the baby comes out, our post baby bodies are testament to how incredible we are.
The late nights suck but the fact is, you get through them and you come out the other side. You might be living on zero energy but your will to keep a small person alive, and recognising their needs keeps you going, it’s pretty nuts.
The intense, heart aching moments when your child walks for the first time, or says their first word or tells you that you are their ‘best friend’ or that they ‘love you’, nothing kills you more than this, it’s wonderful. You heart will hold more love than you ever knew.
That you can actually parent. It’s possible! Even without a manual! Okay there those aforementioned horrific moments where you think, ‘what am I doing with my life?!’ whilst holding a small poo, but ultimately you get through it, wide eyed and full of amazement that you are in charge of small people *high-fives*
Having kids makes you re-discover your inner child. You have to play with them, take them to the park, run around with them, climb trees with them, chase them and you have to explain EVERYTHING to them in detail. It makes you think about what it’s like to be little like them, with no idea of anything other than the information we give them. They have no end to their energy and that is both amazing and exhausting but doing things that make them laugh and make them happy, is pretty cool and fun too (apart from if you fall off playground equipment, not cool)
Small people can at times be weird and hilarious. Be it asking a random man about the baby in their tummy (yes this was my child), saying their first swear word (oops), doing strange walks akin to Monty Python, pulling their best sulking face or when you wake at 6am and they’re stood in the dark starring at you in complete silence or when they accidently kick your husband in the goolies, all these wonderful, weird and silly things make being a mum (and parent) worthwhile. Life can be so serious, it’s our kids that remind us to have fun.