Let me get this straight from the start - Raising children is bloody tough!
Nobody ever really tells you how hard it is going to be, how utterly life changing it is. I always knew I wanted children, had no doubt in my mind that I wanted two, maybe three little sets of feet padding the hallway, creeping into our room for cuddles. I dreamt of it, cried for it when it took over a year for us to become pregnant and sobbed with joy when finally that blue line appeared.
I had envisioned newborn snuggles in a perfectly decorated nursery, baby latched feeding to his/her little heart's content, me the picture of health after giving birth to this wonder of nature.
Let me tell you, five years on and three kids later, things could not be further from that if they tried.
You see, the reality is that kids are demanding little things. They demand your time, your energy and right now I feel like they've demanded and conquered my soul! Of course, they are wonderful and I wouldn't give them up for the world but I’ve learnt a few things along the way.
Firstly, enjoy your first baby. Go to baby yoga, do the massage classes, drink great coffee and meet up with friends, you will never get that alone time again with the others (if you choose to have more). In hindsight, I’m not so sure I did enjoy my first born. Of course, I did all the aforementioned but I was anxious all the time, although god forbid anyone told me to relax!
Unfortunately, we didn't have an “easy” baby, she had pretty bad reflux and as a result, feeding became a nightmare and sleep just never really settled (even to this day!). If I could advise any first-time mother of one thing is go with your gut.
Put down your phone and stop googling every little whimper, it will not help, you will only end up tying yourself up in knots, your intuition is stronger than you know! If and when baby number two rocks around, cut yourself a bit of slack, accept help, you’re going to need it. I remember when I had my second baby someone said to me that your second baby is for you, the first is for everyone else. I couldn't really understand that for a while but when Robbin was born I began to understand what that person was saying to me. I was more relaxed with her, even when reflux reared its ugly head I knew what I had to do. As a result, we fell into a contented little routine so much easier.
By the time baby number three arrived, well... let's put it this way, I’ve seen her eat from the floor and haven't stopped her! The best advise I ever got about having more than one child was to let our standards drop, then drop them again! In reality, once your children are fed and happy you're doing a great job. Sometimes I forget that and try to be too many things to too many people.
It’s not an expectation from others, it’s one I’ve unknowingly superimposed on myself. But I’m trying to be kinder to myself, accepting that yes, maybe I can’t do everything. After all, they say it takes village…