Welcome to the mum-club!
Activities include: Peeing with an audience, mummy-tummies and self-doubt! Motherhood helps you to learn the true art of how to multitask and, believe us, it will be the best lesson yet.
Here are some truths we can all relate to when it comes to what we can expect when we are expecting: (Hint: you will have to learn to juggle A LOT along the way)
1. You will have to learn how to be yourself AND your new mum-self (at the same time)
You won’t recognise, nor will you be able to relate to that girl who complained of tiredness after a work night out. In fact, you will laugh at other people’s complaints, even if you had the very same one’s last year. You will switch wildly from the irresponsible 'always late' friend to a person who stresses out if their baby's nap is 15 minutes late. You want to be you but you have to be a mum - marrying the two is a struggle at first.
2. Caring and not caring at the same time
You have probably been wrongly informed that it takes six weeks to get back to yourself after giving birth. This is a big fat lie, and it can be damaging to women because they feel insecure if their recovery takes longer.
And it will. Much longer. You will never feel the same again. Your body feels and looks different because it is- and you should be proud of what it has done. However, the self-confidence that we all wish we had is not a reality for most. It can be very difficult adjusting to a mummy-tummy or permanent stretchmarks. Try to think of them as battle scars- you deserve your hero status! You will go from not caring how you look as you sleepwalk your way to the coffee shop to freaking out about the dark circles under your eyes in the mirror of the car (it is NOBODY'S friend).
3. You will learn that hypothetical parenting is not the same as parenting
I remember confidently stating that I would never let my child hold a phone in a restaurant. Ha! Good Luck never eating out EVER!
4. You will do it all, even when you think you can't
It’s not like you were just handed a baby from an ad campaign on the telly. You know, the ones that smile and gaze at their perfect mama who is blissfully breast feeding without getting any drops on his little nose?
Your baby will not be like other babies. Your child has their own personality, and won’t always conform to the conventions of raising kids that you have heard about. This can be a shock to some mothers, but you will soon see how much fun this new person is, so much better than the telly baby because they are yours!
You will find yourself in positions where all you want to do is run and cry. I remember holding my crying newborn in the middle of a carpark unable to find my car, needing to pee and feed and wind the baby at the same time. I also managed to take a phone-call from work and managed not to drop the eggs for the cake I was about to make for my partners birthday. The only saving grace was that when I did find my car, my new state-of-the-art genius buggy folded itself down BY ITSELF instead of catching my cold fingers in the awkward clasps and making me bend straining to a very undignified position like in some of my previous prams. Thanks again, Maxi Cosi Nova!
5. Your toddler will be a jerk at times but it is all part of the fun
Tantrums are no joke. And they aren’t as funny as they look. You may have your own tantrum if your LO makes you even more upset than she is. This morning mine told me she wanted a different mummy. In fairness, she wanted a lioness mother, something I could never be (unrealistic body image and all that!), but it still hurt.
Think about it: the person you love most in the world will criticise everything you do… even after you spent all night up with them because they were thirsty. The ungratefulness is difficult to accept and the disapproval is blunt. They will sell you out for an ice-cream, even though you would happily lay your life down for theirs!
7. Get used to peeing with an audience
I don’t know how teenagers work yet (dreading), but your baby joins you in the loo from day one. You start by bringing your newborn in a carrier, car seat, or on your lap. Then you bring a crawler in and frantically clear the floor of anything edible before you pee (yes, stray pieces of toilet paper or hairpins count as edible to a crawler).
Then your toddler will want actual activities done while she watches you pee. She might insist on peeing first or turning on the tap on for the duration of your urination. Anything from reading a book to answering questions about why boys stand up and girls sit down, is a possibility. Be prepared for some serious philosophical thinking!
8. Doing everything with one hand
Cooking, applying makeup, doing up your buttons - there is literally nothing you can't do with only one hand. That is because the other precious hand is busy doing everything else baby-related. Rocking, tapping, burping, groping for the dummy, stroking to sleep - you name it, you can do it uni-dextrously.
And the funny thing is that you don't really mind.
Recently, I realised that for the first time in years, I had my arms to myself. My almost three-year-old now starts to wiggle to get down, and suddenly my arms are emptier than they have ever been. It is bittersweet, but at least I can finally practice putting on my makeup properly again!