The books don’t tell you about the waterfall vomits. The way your baby calmly looks at you silently staring before they are about to unload what seems like everything they have ever eaten all over you, forcing you to sit shocked after catching a measly amount in your free hand and the rest in your lap. The out pour will soak you so badly that you not only do you have to change your jeans but your underwear as well.
A while back I wrote a post called ‘The Frightful ten’ by far my most popular post to date, and seeing I am now older and wiser as a mum I thought I would revisit this list. As a new mum of one my list was all about labour, pregnancy and how it stuffs your body. Now, a mum of two, I am not as focused on labour and pregnancy, yes they are hard but I am (give or take a few recurring delivery room nightmares) over that.
So like everything my “Frightful ten” has changed or evolved. Maybe I should change this list to “The stuff no one tells you” but here it is.
Starting of course with the waterfall vomits… Maybe you’ll be lucky and you will never experience them but I am telling myself it is a parenting right of passage and it makes me feel slightly less yuck whenever it happens to me.
The next major thing is that there are some pretty low moments in the early hours of the morning. Our baby doesn’t sleep, I don’t know if you could’ve guessed given by my sleep related posts or even lack of posts lately, but either way she hates sleep. Her brother loved it. We had no idea how hard it could be, we thought this parenting gig was so easy, then we got one that doesn’t sleep and there have been some moments that I am not proud of. Ignoring her to the point where she screams so bad she starts retching. Swearing about my baby, not under my breath and not words I would usually use, but when it’s the fifth time in the night they just roll off the tongue and as I said, I am not proud. Then there is the yelling, yelling in frustration “Why won’t you sleep?” tears in the eyes, holding a screaming baby asking them in desperation why they won’t sleep as if they can say why.
So many moments. So many moments that make you realize that there is one major reason why babies are so adorable. It is so that in the light of day you realize they are beautiful and that you love them, forgetting about the true torture that is sleep deprivation.
I touched on this in the original post but i want to reiterate the fact that you may find life boring at times. Shock horror. Sometimes you feel like there is no one to talk to, everyone you know is at work. Plus you have spent the last three days thinking of fun things to do with pipe-cleaners or baking something that a toddler can help with while simultaneously trying to get a baby to sleep in their cot rather than your arms, so your answer to ‘what have you been up to?’ doesn’t exactly scream excitement. It can be lonely. Hence the word vomit when you see your first grown up for the day. There are times when your toddler speaks to you in only screams and grunts, your baby won’t let you move further than a three step radius away and you wonder how you can have someone basically permanently attached to you yet can feel so lonely. Mothers Groups are a God send. My mothers group is my savior, a quick message to say “My toddler is a pest” and have it related to and my day is suddenly cheered, proving that there is both safety in numbers and that adult conversation is a treasured gift.
Then there is that moment in motherhood when you realize that going to the toilet with the door closed feels weird. Or like a strange form of luxury. Say goodbye to privacy. I don’t know when it happened, maybe it was when Leo became tall enough to open all the doors in our house meaning that no one is safe from a friendly pop in.
You see, to a toddler, a closed door means something is happening without them knowing, therefore giving them reason to barge in and find a pressing matter to discuss that just simply cannot wait another minute.
The next shocker, even though it does give you both the chance to take part in adult conversation and toilet alone is one that even surprised me. Having a baby may make you question your career choices. Is my career flexible? Will it pay a decent enough wage when I work part time? Is this really what I wanted to be when I grew up? If there is anything that has given me the most turmoil after having Maisie it has been the overhanging question ‘What about work?’
Whether we like it or not having a baby has the ability to put your career on hold. In most cases, you return in a different capacity, potentially changing roles, you soon work out that finding the all important balance between work/life/family is hard. You go back to how you were working before; your career keeps going up, but you miss time with your children. You go back on a part time or casual basis and the steps up the career ladder are slower, even stagnant, but you get time with your children. Either way there is sacrifice, and I cant help but seriously question why we are ever told we can have it all.
So, there you have it, not quite ten and not quite frightful.
There are so many points that still ring true from the original post, yes babies test your relationship, yes babies are expensive, yes it is scary to mould a person etc, etc. But as I sit here looking at my kids I am not worried about my career or that I haven’t had a shower without an audience in weeks, and yes I would love a full nights sleep but the crazy thing about motherhood is that you really don’t care because they are worth every moment. And, truth be told the moment you get a break or time away you tend to miss the little personal space invaders like crazy anyway.