All in The whimsical adventures
That joyous moment when your tiny baby is handed to you, all slimy and squidgy, fresh from the womb mewing its first cries, such a momentous occasion filled with overwhelming happiness and love, the start of parenthood, the start of many memories together as a family.
But then there are those who don’t get this fairytale start, those who’s babies are born, whipped away and hours tick by before you are given any news, hours before you can glance upon your child and feel a tsunami of emotions all rising from the pit of dread in your stomach, hours, days pass by before you can even hold your precious baby.
I approached a woman the other day and asked,
“Excuse me, is this your child?”
For a moment I saw her face fall and instinctively I knew what flashed through her mind.
(“Oh shit, what has he done?”)
STOP! Take a moment, what do you hear? The sound of little footsteps running around manically, the sounds of destruction as every toy is pulled from its box, the sounds of little voices around your ankles “mummy come and play”, “daddy help me” or the whines of despair as your child desperately wants you to stop what you are doing to pick them up, hold them, play with them, sit with them.
I can waffle on about how wonderful it is to be a parent, because essentially at the end of it all it can be wonderful, but for every amazing moment there must be a thousand shitty moments. For every instagrammed perfect picture is chaos tornadoing in the background.
So here is a little compilation of what life as a parent can entail.
In the moments of reflection throughout parenting (not that there is much time for deep pondering thought) it occurred to me that parents-to-be aren’t really prepared for the impending parenthood, remembering to breathe during labour does not equip you for the sleepless nights, epic poonamis nor the never ending cycle of doom that is laundry.
So here’s what I think should be experienced at NCT classes*:
*this could be deemed as torturous to the childless adult, but be warned, this is real life.
I am sorry that I’ve not been the mummy I used to be.
I used to spend our days together whipping up some form messy play, throwing together tubs of sprinkles and feathers, concocting bowls of edible paint, filling paddling pools with spaghetti, even just sitting and drawing.
Now instead I ferry you from the toddler group to nursery, from boogie babies to play dates.
I’m always one to say “no I’m fine” when people offer help, whether it’s help tidying up after a whirlwind play date, help with cooking for the masses, even offers of help when I’m juggling two boys, a pushchair, bags of shopping and a particularly troublesome door. Why I refuse help I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m out to prove but there have been times I should’ve asked for help….in fact it was so stupid of me not to.
When after labour, whilst having your first poo you’re not quite sure where or what you are pushing and you hope it’s not another baby even though it feels like one.
When the adrenaline and baby bliss wears off and you realise you are actually like every other mum – one of those sleep deprived, vom stained zombie mums you promised you wouldn’t be.
When you congratulate yourself on cleaning your teeth AND getting dressed – today is going to be a good day!
When you feel a sense of achievement for getting to the bottom of the laundry pile,then realise you have a (wet) load in the dryer, one in the basket (also wet), and the rest waiting to be folded.
Today I have felt like a bad mum. A bad mum because I’ve been too tired, grumpy and snappy.
I have been a bad mum because I got frustrated when my eldest swiped his lunch bowl off the table, all I needed to do was breathe and count to 10, instead I glared at him to the point that I made him cry. I didn’t need to react like that. I was frustrated that once again I am battling meal times because what? He’s not doing as I expect him to? He’s at an age where he’s pushing boundaries and I am letting it get to me, why? If I just stayed calm and let it go I wouldn’t have to sit and console my child that I made cry with a “look”.