I don’t think anything can prepare you for becoming a parent. I also think I kind of knew this as soon as I was pregnant. I didn’t read any books or any blogs, I kind of just carried on as normal and hoped I would know what I was doing.
When I think back to those first few days of being a new Mum, I remember clearly being like ‘right we need to go to Mothercare and Costco right away’, Abbie was three days old and I ended up spending most of the next three days sitting on a cushion with a hole in it. I was talking to my Mum about this just the other day. It now makes me laugh on the outside, but feel a bit sad on the inside, that my first thoughts of being a new parent was I had to be ‘being’ and ‘doing’ everything, and I’m still doing that now BUT I have learnt to cut myself a lot more slack!
I spent most of my maternity leave with Abbie very lonely. I didn’t really make any new Mum friends, I knew some people who were Mums but at the time I just felt I didn’t fit in with anyone. I think a combination of low self esteem and just not really knowing what the hell I was doing half the time kept me indoors. We were living with my parents and saving for our first home, and I just felt safe being there. I LOVED being a Mum and Abbie was (I thought) all the companionship I needed, she was and still is my favourite person in the world (most of the time) and it took me a while to actually realise just how lonely I was.
I never prepared myself for just how much being a parent would change me. How it still changes me constantly. I am forever learning, mostly from myself and my mistakes, mainly small ones that always feel like HUGE ones at the time but I always take a lot of comfort in the fact that I know what they need just by looking at them, and thats pretty bloody special.
When I got pregnant with Isla, I thought I had it sussed. I’ve done this all before I thought, and I was just excited above all else, excited and arrogant. That soon changed, she was sent to test me this one, but my god as soon as she was here I was obsessed with her. She was totally different to Abbie, but the same in so many ways too. She screamed a lot and basically has ruled the roost more than I’d like to admit since the day she arrived. But I think since becoming a Mum to her, my parenting has changed the most.
I am actually two different parents, two different Mums, to two different kids. There are things that I’ve done this time around that I wouldn’t of done the first time. I try my best to be fair and equal but they have different needs and I guess my reactions to those needs can change daily depending on how I’m favouring on the spectrum of losing it. Its a constant learning curve and feel like I’m constantly adapting to them which is another thing I never prepared myself for.
I sometimes live in fear of how will I cope with them when they are teenagers. I look at them sometimes now and I swear to god they are plotting against me, I can’t help but laugh. Their bond is so special and I love that they have each other too, a best friend for life, and they are like my two little best friends too. I’m sure I have ALOT of joy to come in the teenage years, but I also know from experience that there is no one I would rather go for dinner, shopping and drinks with than my Mum and I’m excited to hopefully do the same with my girls.
I would say in the last 5 years the thing that has changed in me the most is how much I prioritise myself now, and that definitely comes as your kids get a bit older. When they are babies of course you can (and must) at times but their needs are greater as babies and being a parent to me, means being selfless, putting their needs above yours, and hoping you can try and steal 5 minutes peace or even a hot bubble bath at the end of the day. Now Isla is 2, those moments are more frequent and the difference nowa days is I don’t feel guilty, I enjoy every minute of it.
When I think about being a parent, it is the thing I am proudest of above all else, but it is not all I am. I am constantly changing and so are they. And I always think about my Mum and Dad and how they are still my Mum and Dad and how much they have had to change and evolve as parents over the years but how they still manage to be the best parents ever.
Its something that kind of makes my head hurt to think about too much, alot of the last 5 years is a blur for so many reasons other than just being a parent. I feel so ready for the next chapter in my life now thats opening, and so ready to keep trying my best to make sure that they are happy and know that I’m holding it together, sometimes by a thread, but that one thread really can make all the difference!
I am proud to say that this post is sponsored by Johnson’s Baby UK but as always all words and opinions are my own.