I’ve been reading a lot of chat online recently about a movement against parenting perfection. The many pictures of happy, smiling kids, mums who are well organised with nice make up and hair and carefree journeys through parenthood. It’s a lot like social media in general – people only really post the good bits, which we all know aren’t always real life.

I think we’re all guilty of it, I mean who wants to post updates and photos under a status or headline that says ‘my life felt pretty shit today’ (insert appropriate emoticon)?

The fact is that there are the picture perfect days, and there also are the unbelievably hard days, when actually it can feel pretty shitty, and that’s ok. It’s been so important for me to see other mums out and about who look knackered, bond over not having the time to brush your hair, or read from those who are struggling and share the tough times as well as the ‘aren’t they amazing?’ moments.

Whatever your experience or preparation, there is nothing that can really ready you for having a baby, and it’s a total shell shock. Add this to the smack-in-the-face realisation that you are fully responsible for a tiny human and the fact that they’re all slightly different and it’s a flipping minefield. For every expert, blog and friend you can find who give you one piece of advice for your current baby worry, and I’ll give you another five whose experiences or opinions say the opposite.

So the bottom line of today’s ramblings is to say that it’s easier once you acknowledge that; we are all just muddling through, taking each day as it comes and figuring out what works for us, it isn’t always going to be what works for others, and it also might not always look shiny and perfect. Keep up the smiley, happy images, because it really is bloody lovely having a wee one, but keep your perspective too and know we’re all winging it. We’ve all had a little cry sometimes, but we’re still doing an awesome job xxx

Oh yeah, I’m a mum now

This evening was an interesting new experience for me. As if I needed a reminder, it was a moment that made me smile to myself and think, ‘this is what parenting is!’

I put Millie into the bath and laughed as her tummy gave a quick squeeze and she popped out a little fart. Farts are hilarious at the best of times but hers are always extra cute and worth a giggle. She then began squeezing some more, and harder, and I realised what we had; a bath poo.

I readied a nappy and lifted her out but it was just too late. Without thinking I then sat and scooped out all the poo with my bare hands. My bare hands. This is a scenario I never imagined for myself, and it reminded me of all the things you just do when you have a baby, or child (I’m sure this doesn’t change as they grow!).

It’s like when they’re sick all down your arm or back and you take a quick look and think ‘at least it went on me and not them’, or when you take being bitten or scratched on your face with good humour and simply say ‘nicely, pumpkin’ because you know she’s too tiny to understand yet. Or when your household cleaning products have expanded to include baby wipes (because let’s be honest, they’re brilliant). All of these have been me. Going for a chat at work and having dribble and sweet potato on your top. That’s also been me. Eventually I’m sure I’ll reach into my handbag for a notebook at work and get a half eaten banana or the tv remote too.

It’s all good fun, right?! x


All the things I never knew

Photo of my daughter Millie

A post where I reflect a little on parenthood so far…you might have also seen this on the Selfish Mother blog!

I thought I knew what it would be like to have children. I’ve grown up around babies, I’ve got lots of friends and family with little ones, and once I was even a birthing partner for a friend, so I was ‘prepared’. I always knew I wanted children one day, millions of people reproduce and that’s what we’re here for after all, right? It was all good, until I actually tried it.

So here are the things I never knew.

I never knew…just how hard this really is. Everyone has something to tell you, advice to impart, and though I listened well and read around, I honestly never knew until Millie arrived. Those first few weeks just took my breath away; the lack of sleep, the continuous trial and error, the emotional rollercoaster – and though it does get easier in many ways, the obstacles just shape shift as you go along. It’s the steepest learning curve I’ll ever experience.

I never knew…my husband could look like that. We’ve been together for 15 years and ben through a lot, but the look he has when he’s with Millie is one I’ve never seen before and it melts me every time. I was so focused on my career I made him wait for years before trying for children, and I don’t think I truly appreciated just how patient he was. She means the absolute world to him and is such a lucky little girl to have him. It makes me so happy to watch them together, and I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful husband/team mate/buddy to share this with.

I never knew…how much my daughter would mean to everyone else, which might sound naïve, but it’s true. Once I announced I was pregnant, my grandmother was so excited she stopped talking to me as a person and interacted only with my bump for six whole months, and the support and good wishes we’ve had from friends and family far and wide has been overwhelming. Babies bring joy to so many people, but to see the love I feel for Millie mirrored on the faces of my parents, my sister, and so many of our loved ones just delights me every time.

I never knew…that I could actually do this. When I take a rare moment and actually think about it; I carried and grew a human inside my own body, I went through labour (which NOTHING can prepare you for), and then when that didn’t work I had major abdominal surgery, and finally I was given this tiny little person and had to just figure it out. It’s such a huge undertaking. That little person is now nearly six months old and she’s so awesome, every day. I did that, so high five to me.

There’s such a lot I never knew, and I’ve had to learn fast. There are the most wonderful giggles, heart melting milestones and the best cuddles you’ll ever get, as well as utter desperation, floods of tears, and some pretty serious physical and mental challenges, but it’s been so amazing starting out this little journey of ours together. I honestly never knew quite how much I’d cherish all these things, and how much I’d look forward to getting it wrong, getting it right, and just enjoying (almost) every minute.