I’ve been reading a lot recently about how we “should all be more honest” about what being a parent is like, that the wonderful pictures on Instagram of perfect Mums with perfectly sleeping babies are not the norm and that people are only putting on social media the stuff that makes their lives look rosey. I would have to agree to an extent so I’m going to give you my truths. Adam has only been in the world for 17 weeks and even though we are now pretty much out of the “brand new, out of the box, newborn” stage we obviously don’t have a huge amount of experience but here we go!
Sometimes your baby will make you cry.
They warn you about the baby blues, but when people ask you how you’re feeling the answer is usually one Tony the Tiger would be proud of. I can happily admit that Adam had me in tears a few times because he would not stop screaming. OMG! The screaming! I remember sitting one day around week 4 just staring at him with floods of tears streaming down my face. I was pretty sure I was failing every “Good Mummy” test in the book and I really didn’t know what to do. Luckily I phoned in the help (my parents) and they came to my rescue and made me feel better. I’m lucky in that Adam is relatively placid but it’s almost a bad thing because when he cries I know there must be something wrong. Getting to know your baby is hard work…it does not happen naturally. The love for them in natural, the getting to know them is not. The confidence in your ability does grow over time. But they still make you cry!
Sometimes you just want to be “just you” for a day
This is one that Mummies really don’t like to admit! And it may not be true for everyone but whilst being a Mum is truly rewarding sometimes I want to get up (late) and not have to think about the routine of a baby and working out when I can jump in the shower or do the housework. Just be me. I’m lucky to have a great support network of parents, parents-in-law, family and of course a husband who have all given me a little time to myself and for that I am eternally grateful. Once you are out of the first few weeks of newborn insanity you want to remember what it’s like to have adult conversation that’s not about babies and relax with friends. And it’s been lovely! I am, first and foremost, a Mum but I’m also Viki, all 29 years of me!
I am tired
I think a lot of the time parents either play on this or don’t admit it at all for fear of sounding hopeless. But I think we should all be honest! I’m not tired as in sleep deprived because I’m possibly the luckiest woman in the world whose baby has been sleeping through since 7 weeks. I’m tired because looking after a baby is mentally draining. Yes, talking baby talk is exhausting! It’s fun but it’s exhausting. It goes back to my second point I think, your mind is always thinking about what’s next in the strict routine of 4 month old child.
Your relationship with your other half changes
Now, I’m not saying it changes negatively, but I can totally understand why it could. Kris and I have been absolutely fine but even now when I see him feeding/changing/dressing/holding Adam I still feel like I could snatch him back and do it myself! And those little things come out sometimes. “What are you doing it like that for?!” Argh! But it’s ok, it’s inevitable that now you’re parents things are different. But you share something so amazing. I think it’s fine to admit it’s different though and go with that rather than pretending it can all just be the same. It’s not the same…you’re responsible adults now with another person to love in the middle of your relationship. Only for a child would that be ok!
You often feel like a total failure
My very recent example of this is Adam being a complete and utter monkey taking his bottles. I have been physically wrestling him to take his bottle at every feed and I was starting to dread feeding time coming around. Which is so terrible to admit but I’m admitting it here to encourage others to be honest! I was dreading having to feed my tiny baby son. I was actually in tears. You think to yourself that if you were a good Mum you would know how to solve this problem but alas it’s a mystery. Almost 2 weeks went by until I did actually come up with a solution (faster flow teats by the way) but I was getting so down about it and not talking to anyone about my feelings for fear of being judged. What a daftie!
Going back to work seems horrific/excellent (delete as appropriate)
This will vary for different people and honestly I think we should be truthful about it. It doesn’t make us bad Mums if actually the thought of adult chat, business decisions, hot tea and a lunch in peace (or a lunch at all) is appealing.
Honesty about these things amongst fellow parents is essential! I cannot deal with competitive parenting, you don’t have to convince me that your life is perfect by using pretty Instagram filters on pictures of your sleeping baby (5 minutes before they wake up screaming) so let’s all be on the same team and admit that sometimes it’s actually bloody hard work.
Sleepy baby please stay sleeping!