So as you anxiously await the arrive of your first child, you drift off into a daydream of what life will be like once your little bundle of joy has arrived. And I can honestly say that nothing can prepare you for how your life is about to change. Your life is going to change in the most amazing way possible, and you will quickly take on the role of ‘mummy’ in no time, and it will seem that this little mini person of you has been there all along. Now I am not saying it is all fairy dust and roses, because it certainly is not, but the journey is incredible and I keep learning every single day.
However in saying all of this, your life is going to change in ways you never thought, or you might be thinking to yourself ‘I’m not going to be the mum who discusses her child’s bodily fluids in public or I will always have time for a shower and to put myself together’. I’m here to tell you sister – this is not going to happen. You be talking poos, pees, barfs and spews within hours of that baby being born and guess what it’s ok – because it’s completely normal!
I’ve come up with a list of 10 ways your life is going to change…
1. Sleep -you will only have a distant memory of sleep and what it means to have a full nights rest. This will become a dream for you. I think that’s why in the last month of pregnancy your body wakes you every couple of hours to use the toilet – it’s preparation! And don’t let those first couple of weeks fool you into thinking this is not that bad. Bubs is ‘playing tricks’ on you during those first weeks. Not really, but they are sleeping pretty good – I would to after a traumatic event like being born, but after a week, it hits you and bubs is up for a feed and waking every couple of hours. You will feel like a walking zombie and not know what day or time it is sometimes…but I will let you in on a secret – you will get through. It’s amazing how quickly your body adjusts to running on little sleep. And I know everyone says it, but I will say it again. Sleep when baby does! I mean it. Dishes can wait, washing can wait, cleaning the house can wait. SLEEP!
2. Poo, poo and more poo – before you know it you will be talking poos, pees and spews like it’s nobody’s business and comparing with other mums just make sure your kid is ‘normal’ and doing what they should be doing. And guess what…it’s perfectly fine. Sure the random lady at the supermarket probably does not want to hear about it, but talking with your other mummy friends, it just comes along with the territory. And you will probably be sporting the new look of the ‘baby badge’ which leads into conversations of wind and gassy babies anyways…And it won’t just be babies bodily fluids being discussed either – if you’re breastfeeding, your own body will also come up in conversation quite a lot! Again perfectly ok, as long as it does not mean talking to the checkout lady about it.
3. Babies don’t know what a schedule is – so don’t even bother – at least for the first bit. Get to know your baby and get to know your new role as mummy. Forget reading all the things about how to make your baby to sleep through the night, and when to feed etc etc. All well-intentioned I’m sure, but honestly let your baby be your baby. Everyone is different and every baby is different. It does not mean you are a good or bad mother if your baby won’t sleep – it’s just them adjusting to the world outside. For the first 9 weeks my little one was up from 6pm-11pm. Talk about a tiring 5 hours. Not only that daddy couldn’t console her because all she wanted was to feed and lie in my arms. It was tough, but we got through and eventually she started going to bed at a more reasonable hour. So even though I wanted bubs to be asleep she had her own ideas about things.
4. You will learn to eat fast – and probably not even realise you are doing it. All of the sudden there is something else in your life that requires your undivided attention and if you are lucky they may nap over dinner tie, but chances are they will be screaming their head off and you will be shoveling food into your mouth faster than you ever though possible. Because let’s face it – you’re hungry too and if you’re breastfeeding you’re starving! My partner and I only realised how quickly we were eating our tea when we went out for our first ‘Mother’s Day’ dinner to the local pub. Dinner, dessert and some chat and we were back home within an hour…oops so much for getting out for the night.
5. You will be late…sure you will try to time it right to get to where you need to be on time, but it is almost impossible to get to anywhere you need to be on time anymore. And you can bet that if it’s important bubs is going to have a big poo blow-out just as you walk out the door, causing at least a 10minute delay cleaning, changing and getting bubs sorted again. But don’t worry most people understand.
6. Coinciding with the last point…everything takes longer. Not only because are you now getting two of you ready to head out the door, but once you are out and about people will stop you to have a chat and talk about how gorgeous your wee little button is and if they are sleeping through the night yet (I hate this question, babies need to get up to feed and for their neurological development, they shouldn’t be sleeping through the night right away, so don’t make me feel like a bad mother because my child wakes to be fed and cuddled). That quick trip to the grocery store is no longer quick, you will be stopped by random strangers to discuss your gorgeous wee bundle and they will coo and caw over them. (If you don’t have time for this, might I suggest wearing your baby – makes it harder for people to get in their and have a look at bubs who is ‘sleeping’ nicely cuddled up to mum).
7. People want to help you – all of the sudden you are not just a woman doing the groceries, you are a mum and for the most part people will go out of their way for you. I once even had a lady pay for my groceries. Yup you read that right – I was as shocked as you when it happened. Bubs was only a few weeks old and the lady in line behind me asked if she could pay for my groceries especially the nappies because she knows how expensive things are. Now this probably will not every time (and it doesn’t) but people are all the sudden very helpful when they see a mum with bubs in tow trying to get things done. I have had the people at the grocery store offer to get me sacks of potatoes because they are heavy and I’m wearing baby, they open doors, help with the pram and are just generally more considerate. Now that’s mostly about strangers, but remember your family and friends want to help to, and as weird as it may be to sit down and relax when people are over -do it! and let them make the cuppas and do the dishes. It’s ok, and a good time for you to rest.
8. You will learn to do almost everything one handed. Make a coffee (notice how this one is first), making dinner, cleaning up, brushing your teeth, doing the washing, all these jobs will seem difficult at first with bubs in your arms, but then all of the sudden you will be doing these things no problem with your one free hand, and maybe even breastfeeding and talking on the phone at the same time. It’s amazing how you will adapt.
9. Hanging out with friends is no longer at the pub on a Friday night. It’s Friday mornings at the music and movement class or Tuesday for lunch or at the swimming pool while you give your bubs some much needed tummy time and different experiences. Your friends without babies may not understand this change, but your friends with babies will be right there beside you taking it all in. As much as you may mourn the loss of your Friday night sessions, recall that you have already had 9 months of not drinking and probably not partying like a wild child and that your new wing man is a cute little bundle of cuddles.
10. One is never enough…if you feel anything like I do, bubs is only 4.5 months old and we are already planning number 2, and maybe even number 3. I can’t wait to make my wee button a big sister and grow our little family. There is something about this time that is so magical with a little one and as much as I may be tired and still trying to navigate motherhood, I can’t wait to have more babies.
Welcome to the sisterhood of Motherhood, it’s messy and trying, but it is one amazing journey. xx