Tomorrow marks 10 years since I went from being a woman, daughter, wife etc etc to a Mum. I remember so clearly waddling around the day before Daisy was born, I do believe Rob and I went out and celebrated our last day together as just us with a milkshake at the place we met for the very first time on a blind breakfast date. We then went to Mum’s for dinner, she made me a lasagne (see: carb loading for the big day) and I went to bed wondering what the HELL was about to happen to me. Us.
This was us at dinner at Mum’s:
And this was my little sis saying good bye to me as just Beth before Mum Beth became a thing.
Oh man I had NO clue. None. And to think I thought I was tired. Bwahahahahaha. I mean BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Sheesh.
I thought I would reflect on those 10 years and think of 10 lessons I have learnt through this parenting business.
1. Parenting is messy
From the minute you get a “show” to having your waters break, to delivering the afterbirth, you soon get the memo that this shit is not for the faint hearted. It’s MESSY. It’s unglamorous. I mean, I have caught VOMIT IN MY HANDS to stop it from going on the carpet. I’ve been SHAT on by a newborn. I have pulled nits out with my fingers and squished them in half. I’ve applied lotions to weeping sores. I have gotten on my hands and knees approximately 1 billion times to clean up crumbs or mess from the floor. I’ve pushed vomit chunks with my bare fingers down drain holes. I’ve used a hairdryer (on cool setting) up the clacker to keep sticthes dry and healing well. It ain’t pretty.
2. Parenting makes you vulnerable
Like any relationship you go into where your heart is opened and offered to someone, vulnerability exists. Except when you have a child it’s like you open your heart right open wide, take a piece out, and let it exist outside of you for the rest of your life. I have been at my most vulnerable with all three of my children. All my own weaknesses and worries and stresses have been opened up to, or because of my children. To be vulnerable, I think, shows openness and love, to show that you are not perfect, willing to learn or change. My girls have done that for me and I hope that in turn I can do that to more people in my life.
3. Children have CCTV cameras built into them
For some inexplicable reason, children know when you are going to sleep or thinking about having sex with your partner. I have been known to stay up waaaaay too late because the MINUTE I think about going to bed, turning lights off, getting into bed, as sure as the sun will rise, they will wake. Same goes for sex. The mere thought or nay, action of starting to get it on, they will wake. So that’s why I don’t even try anymore. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
4. Parenting has made me self aware
No other relationship, job, person has shown a mirror to myself more than the act of being a Mum. I now know more about myself than I ever did before. My strengths, my weaknesses, the things that are important to me, what’s worth fighting for, what’s not. It could be age sure, but being a Mum has mad me more aware of myself than ever before.
5. Lots of parenting consists of making shit up as you go
Sure there are books, support groups, friends, family, endless online forums, blogs, websites that can tell you stuff, but no one really knows what they are doing. We are all just making shit up as we go and hoping for the best. Really truly.
6. Most of the “stuff” doesn’t matter
You know when you have your first kid, or when they are little and all of a sudden they stop say sleeping, or maybe eating their dinner? And they ALWAYS used to do but then stop? And it becomes a REALLY big deal? And you research it and worry about it and over analyse EVERYTHING about it? And then it passes and you have someone new to worry about? IT DOESN’T MATTER. The “laying next to your child and patting their back 457 times every night to go to sleep and everyone says you shouldn’t do this especially your Mother who rolls her eyes but you are really just trying your best because you love your kid?” It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. It will pass. Pat away my friend, pat away. That is, unless, of course it is a problem to you, then shut that shit down.
7. There’s always a new problem just around the corner
I think I am only just starting to get an idea on the complexities of parenting. Toddlers and babies and all that stuff really is the small and easy(ish) stuff. How about the worry of School, and making friends and forming their own relationships, and making their way in the world and self confidence and teenage years and ALL OF THE THINGS. Dear lord, this gig hasn’t even begun. OH MY GOODNESS THIS HASN’T EVEN REALLY BEGUN YET.
8. 99% of baby stuff is unneccessary
You know when you have your first baby and it’s all about birth plans and the right pram and breast pump and ethical fair trade wooden toys and all those “things”. So many things! You don’t need them. You really don’t.
9. You forget pretty much everything
All I can say is thank GOODNESS for this blog. Parenting makes you lose your memory. And boobs. And figure. And flawless skin. And dewy complexion. And non baggy eyes. But mostly your brain. You know how we ask our own parents about what time of the day you were born and they answer “August”. You don’t remember. It’s the sleep deprivation. Or something. And all I can say is thank goodness I have it all written down somewhere because Harper’s homework this week of her birth weight, height & photo would have been gone from my mind for all eternity if it wasn’t for the BabyMac archives. And rest easy knowing that whatever bad day/week you are having at the moment won’t be remembered in 6 months time!
10. Becoming a Mum was the best thing I was ever lucky enough to do
I just assumed one day that I would have kids. Much like you know you will get a job when you finish school, buy a car or house one day and find a partner to share your life with. I just assumed. I didn’t realise the hard work that takes to get all these milestones. The sacrifices. Nothing good comes easy and as soon as I was left to my own devices at home with a newborn baby and a husband who went to work I finally kind of twigged just to what a mammoth job it was/is. It’s relentless. It’s exhausting. It’s being completely in control and on top of things one minute to being entirely overwhelmed and unsure the next. It’s a privilege and it’s an absolute joy. My girls have made me person that I am today. They have shown me how to patient and kind in the face of 10 years of no sleep. They have made me proud until my heart is bursting. They have shown me unconditional love. Frustration to the point where I have literally hit a wall (that hurt). They make me get up and keep going because I have to show them not to give up.
All that, and we’re only really just at the beginning.
I’m not the best Mum. I get angry. I definitely swear too much. I get frustrated over stupid shit that doesn’t matter like split yoghurt on the floor or too much water in the bathroom. But I love my girls. I love them all so much and want so much for them. More than what I can give them. And I try my best. We all just try our best with open hearts, and unconditional love. That’s what being a Mum is. Being there, with an open heart and a guiding love, now and for the rest of their lives.
I thank that Daisy for being the first person to do all that for me. And for Harper and Maggie for reminding me. I am a Mum, not perfect, but loving and trying. Always trying.
Oh and one other key learning. I couldn’t have done ANY of this without Rob. The ying to my yang. The patient and slow and kind one. Quietly going about his business without the tantrums and dummy spits. Without him, things would be very different indeed. And all the female hormones….Thank you Rob x