Tuesday 18 October 2016
Nothing can prepare you for the ups and downs and stresses and strains of motherhood. Most friends and family resist giving advice in the pregnancy days, hoping that although they may have had a draining time of it, that your experience may be totally, blissfully different. They probably don’t want to worry you unnecessarily or put you off totally. Things are different now - youll cope just fine.
But there is no denying that although you may be blessed with the best most beautiful baby imaginable, that the breast feeding goes to plan, that the sleeping pattern just magically falls into place, that sniffles and snuffles and the other baby illnesses and jabs are just brushed off, that motherhood changes your way of thinking, living and prioritising.
The pecking order at home is certainly turned on its head. No longer are you there to look after number 1 – your baby - no matter how small they seem and how much they sleep, is the primary and often only focus of your day and night from now on.
And what if things don’t go so blissfully? That you have a screamer, a small, lightweight baby that wont feed, or a colicky one? One that wants to stay up all night and sleep all day, that wants to chew on you for 5 hours every night, that isn’t happy unless they are being held, or a poorly one that keeps you awake with ‘what if?’ worries even when they are sleeping tight.
The hormones, the emotions, the comparisons with other babies that are doing things that yours isn’t, the financial pressures, the total exhaustion, the 24/7 shifts for years on end…
After maternity leave you have so much more on your plate – the increased responsibility to bring in the reliable income, not to bring work pressures home, to keep the home running, shopping, cooking, cleaning, juggling social commitments.
Being a mum just gets better and better as you watch the children grow and develop. When you see them for the first time the love is usually instant and bond unbreakable. Later their first teeth are the cutest thing youve ever seen…the first words, first toddle, first ‘I love yous’ make all the trauma worthwhile a million-fold. Then the fun really starts….their little personality, observations, fun and games, imaginations, mannerisms mirroring you, your partner, with glimpses of your parents. Poor things!
But throughout all these moments of pure joy and love, we need to find the energy, the motivation, the patience and calm to cope with all the chores, pressures and stresses. To keep up with the boundless balls of energy, the little food splattering, drink spilling, poo pooing at the most inconvenient time, destruction machines… and still keep looking good and smiling! We make huge and often unnecessary demands on ourselves, juggling so many balls and trying to fend off sleep deprivation, work and financial pressures, relationship issues, while setting a good example, keeping the cogs turning and holding it all together.
Life isn’t the way it was for our parents – there is so much happening and so many expectations, but as all strong and successful women know, help is out there and theres no shame or weakness in reaching out for it.