I'm still new to this motherhood gig - my little man has just turned five months.

 

Time is flying by and I've been doing some reflecting on how much I've learned about myself in the last five months. I had expectations of what being a mother was like - all cute gummy smiles and walks in the park. There are gummy smiles (the best!) and walks in the park, but motherhood is so much more than that.

 

I'm sharing some of the lessons that I've learned about being a mother over the last five months, along with some nuggets of advice (because we love doling out unsolicited advice!)

 

1. Motherhood is hard. Really hard

I had no idea how hard motherhood would be. For someone so small, babies take up literally all of your time. Feeding, playing, changing, washing bottles, load after load of laundry. It's a 24/7 job with no breaks. It's amazing and rewarding, but it is so hard!

 

2. The housework can wait

I love a clean, tidy house. Those five minutes of the week when my house is actually clean are bliss!

 

Since Jack came along, I've had to learn to cope with the mess. There are baby things everywhere. There are always dishes in the sink, dirty clothes in the basket and dog hairs on the couch. Those things can all wait - the newborn phase is so short, so I've learned to stop and soak it up.

 

3. My baby is a genius

"Oh my god, he just smiled!" or "He's holding onto his teddy"! These are the things we marvel at these days like our baby is the first baby to EVER learn how to do these things. I cheered like he had just won gold at the Olympics when he rolled over for the first time. He's a genius, I just know it. Watch out, Einstein.

 

4. "Sleeping like a baby" is a joke.

Seriously, who came up with this phrase? Babies don't sleep. Well, they do, but in short spurts. You will literally feel like you just fell asleep when your baby wakes up for another feed. Jack has just started giving us longer stretches (and a couple of all-nighters) so there is light at the end of the tunnel!

 

5. Worrying is my new pastime.

Did he eat enough? Is he too hot? Is that noise he's making normal? These are things I think of 10 times a day - don't even get me started on waking up just to listen to him breathing. Mothers worry all the time.

 

6. Listen to your mother. And your sister. And basically, anyone who has kids.

I'll admit it. I read all of the baby books, and baby blogs, and took all of the classes. When Jack was born, I was the authority on raising kids. I rolled my eyes when my mother suggested giving Jack sugar water. I scoffed when my mother in law backed her up. But after three days of a fussy, constipated baby, I gave in. Guess what? It worked like a charm! Books can't teach you what experience can so open your mind, pick up the phone, and ask for advice. They've been there, done that, and survived to tell the tale!

 

 

7. Baby cuddles are amazing.

A sleeping newborn lying on your chest is the most precious feeling on earth. It doesn't last forever, so enjoy every perfect minute of it.

 

8. Friendships will change.

Becoming a parent definitely changes friendships. Apologies to all of my friends for being erratic, MIA and for texting you at 3 am. Being a mother has changed most of my friendships. I have to admit that most of these changes are on me. There are those friends who check in with us several times a week, and really take an interest in Jack. There are those fellow mummy friends who answer my rookie questions in the middle of the night. There are the friends who arrive at my door with dinner and wine because they know that's the only way they'll get to hang out with us. And then, sadly, there are friends who ghosted entirely once I became a mother.

 

9. Google is my new best friend.

Among the things I've googled are; "colour of baby poop", "how long can I leave formula out" and "how to stop a pacifier falling out". I don't have all the answers, and if my mother doesn't either, Google certainly will.

 

10. Unconditional love is the greatest feeling in the world.

I know with perfect clarity that I will never love anything more than I love Jack. He's the greatest thing that's ever happened to us. Dirty nappies, sleep deprivation, constantly having spit-up on my clothes - It's worth it for the privilege of being his mother. That, to me, is the most important lesson of all.

 

Clare is a newish mother to Jack, and blogs about the trials, tribulations and hilarity of being a parent. After 8 years in San Francisco, she has recently returned to Ireland to live closer to her mammy.

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