13 Things I Took For Granted Before Motherhood
They say that having a baby changes you and changes your life
The reason they say this is because they’ve been there. It almost becomes a mantra that gets passed down from mum to pregnant woman, mum to pregnant woman, in a circle that never ends.
Of course every woman thinks she will be the one that is different. She will be able to manage her time effectively and live a life with her baby without giving up any of her own luxuries. I was exactly the same and I’ve seen it in countless other mum-to-be’s who don’t know what’s to come.
A prime example of this for you; my friend came to visit my daughter when she was about four months old and she was pregnant herself. By this point I was well versed in the complete lack of free time and the absolute dependency my daughter had on me but she wasn’t. I tried my very hardest to stifle a bark of laughter when she declared that she was looking forward to having a bath and a glass of red wine every night after she put her newborn down for the night. DOWN FOR THE NIGHT. BATH. RED WINE. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that there was no way in hell she was getting time to relax in the evening whilst her newborn slept peacefully though until 7am the next day.
Having said that, you do have infinitely more time to yourself when you have a newborn and I do wish I’d utilised that more rather than watching several dubious box-sets choices on Netflix. In the early days when all they are doing is feeding and sleeping it is possible to at least read a book. Now my daughter is 13 months the only time I get to myself is when she naps, and they tell me she’ll be dropping to one nap soon and then nothing. What do I do then?!
I’ve put together a list of all the things that I definitely took for granted and wistfully think of, when I have a second to think that is….
I’m a big reader, I used to devour books and would read a minimum of a couple a week. Do you want to know how many books I’ve read in the last year? FOUR. Two of which are old favourites because at least I know how they end. This way if it takes me five months to finish it I’m not wondering what happens.
I’m trying not to manically laugh as I write this. Free time, what on earth is that? As mentioned before, the only free time we get now is when she’s asleep. Imagine a world where you can sit on the sofa with loads of junk food and catch up on the weeks TV. All day. No responsibility, no interruptions. Just a couple slobbing out with no regrets.
One of the things I really miss is just being able to pop out somewhere. Like, ‘oh I don’t have any butter, I just need to pop out to the shop’. There is no popping when you’ve got children. It becomes a huge trip that requires a whole heap of other items dependant on the age of your child. I’ve currently got a parcel I need to drop of at the post office which is five doors down from me, I’d better start making my planning and packing lists now.
I’ve mostly just given up making them in the day but I get to have one hot drink in the evening when she’s asleep. Luckily I don’t drink coffee or I think I might have had a meltdown by now. My friend once realised she’d microwaved her tea three times and still hadn’t finished it. You’re either leaving it out of reach of children and forgetting about it or running around after children and not having the time. Who needs caffeine anyway?
I didn’t realise how hard it was going to be to hold a conversation with people. In movies you see two friends trying to have a conversation on the phone but they stop every two second to tell their children to stop doing something. This is actually true to life, it is near impossible to have a focused chat with anyone and it gets even worse if they have children too. You have to be prepared to start a million different topics but never get to finish them.
There are two types of silence. The first, is the kind you wish you had from before, where your day wasn’t filled with crying, shouting, screaming, babbling etc. etc. The second is the silence when you suddenly realise it’s been far too quiet in the living room for a bit too long and you rush through to see your child sitting with pen all over their face, clothes and your new carpet.
Do you remember the luxury of putting on an outfit and it remaining clean enough through the day that you might even chance wearing it again without washing it? It would be nice to go the whole day without getting snot/food/tears/pen/dirt/something sticky on your clothes. A top tip my mother told me – always wear patterned clothes, that way the stains don’t show so clearly.
My goodness hair loss is just the worst thing to come out of becoming a mother. It’s just relentless in it’s pursuit. It went away, and for a while I thought it was over but then it came back and now I’m clearing my hairbrush every day. When will it end!
In the early days it just seemed impossible to just sit down to a hot meal or even one that hadn’t been cut into small bite sized pieces to make it easier to balance a plate, a baby and still eat. Luckily this stage passes quite quickly and it’s possible to eat a decent meal again but I definitely took it for granted.
I have been relatively lucky on the sleep front, even though my Health Visitor told me I must never tell anyone that. Having said that in the early days I remember feeding my daughter and falling asleep sitting up and barely being able to keep my eyes open through the day. I have a friend who’s baby only just started sleeping though at a year old and she’s an absolute hero because sleep depravation is a real thing.
I breastfed my daughter for a year and recently stopped and let’s just say my breasts are not what they once where. They have become empty, saggy things which have become strangely lopsided. I am told they bounce back slightly but lets face it, they’re never going to the same. I have lamented them more than I thought I would!
It’s just never tidy. I’ve given up and have decided I am perfectly happy to live in a toy squalor state for the next ten years of my life. It’s just how it is now, this is my life. I remember a time when there weren’t toys piled in every corner of every room and it was a good time. To have a tidy house you need free time, but when you get precious free time you don’t want to spend it tidying so really it’s a bitter cycle. I am not a Hincher but I almost tempted to follow her just so I can see how she gets on with the cleaning once her baby arrives!
Does anyone else remember a time when you had free money to spend on things like clothes, a pub trips, meals out, homeware, things for yourself? Now our money goes on rent, bills, nappies, cows milk and baby clothes. I bought myself a new pair of jeans the other day, my first clothes purchase in a very long time and I actually felt guilty!
Of course I am happy to give all of the above up for the wonder that is my daughter and the experience of being her mother, that goes without saying really. It would just be nice to finish a cup of tea once in a while though….