I’ve been a mum for three and a half years, and I’ve only recently started to enjoy it.
When I say that, I don’t mean that I hated being a mum before that. But it’s only now that I can look back on my time as a mum, so far, that it has dawned on me that motherhood feels different now. This feels like a terrible confession to make, so allow me to explain.
When my daughter was very young, I struggled. When I went back to work, I coped much better, but I used to dread the weekends coming. Isn’t that awful? As the weekend approached, I’d have an anxious knot form in my stomach, worried about how I’d cope all weekend, at home with my family. My family, who are lovely and amazing, might I add. Mr P is one of those real hands-on dads who’d get up with me for every night feed and who splits everything we have to do 50/50 (actually, he probably does more around the house than me….) And my gorgeous baby daughter (as she was then), learning to walk and reacting with joy to watching In The Night Garden. We’d do fun stuff at the weekend, like visit the park, but the days were based around her naps, her snacks, making sure she didn’t kick off and start screaming in public (like all one-year-olds inevitably do). I was a big ball of anxiety.
Other mums would speak about (or blog about) how blissful life with their kids was. Some would tweet about being sad that the school holidays were over and the kids were going back to school. Some would say that being a mum was their calling. And I just didn’t really get it. I’d look at what they were saying, and then look again at my life, and how I was feeling, and it didn’t add up. There were moments of joy, of bliss, and I never once wished I wasn’t a mum. But I didn’t really ‘get’ motherhood.
But recently, something must have changed, because I don’t feel like that anymore. Now, I genuinely look forward to seeing my daughter every day after work. I’ll be sitting on the train home (or standing, wedged in between a cross city worker or two) and I’ll smile, thinking about seeing her little face. I get that Friday Feeling again – a real excitement about the weekend arriving and knowing I’ll be spending time with my family. Whether we have no real plans, and we’ll just be lounging around in our PJs, watching TV, playing shop and drawing… or whether we have an action-packed weekend of seeing friends and squeezing in a birthday party or two… I know we’ll have a brilliant weekend.
Now that my daughter is three, we have real conversations. She asks (a lot of) questions, like “Why do mummies have boobs?” and “Why are there pipes under the road?”. She makes me laugh with her daft facial expressions and voices. We have kitchen discos (her waving a wand, me riding a hobby horse) and she reads us stories (she can’t actually read – she’s not a genius – she just remembers the stories and repeats them to us.) She runs through to our bedroom every morning, shouting “morning time!” before climbing up onto our bed and giving me the best cuddle ever. We play teachers, where she tells me where to sit, what my name is (I’m usually Little Georgina) and she is teacher, telling me what to do. We sing along to Frozen, loudly.
I love hanging out with her. She’s such a cool little person. All my anxiety and worry about family time has vanished, and I’m enjoying being a mum.
Snap! I never really lived the baby years, but from 2 onwards motherhood has been a joy. G was an early talker and as soon as there was communication of the verbal kind I started to feel as if I had a fun person rather than a boring baby. Each their own, I guess
I used to hate Friday night and I couldn’t quite understand what my problem was but then, P started to talk and it all started to change.
Am about to return to work after baby number 2 and I feel very much at peace with motherhood. Something I never thought would happen!
Thanks for being so honest and sharing this Alison. I felt a similar way to you when Noo was small. I worked full time and would feel so uneasy at the weekend as I felt like I didn’t know what to do to entertain her – I felt a bit out of my depth really. Like you the change just kind of came in it’s own time. I can’t pinpoint it at all but there was a shift where I just felt more relaxed with it all.
Plus, I’m a big fan of the funny toddler/pre-schooler stage they make life a lot more fun! xxx
Hey lady – just to say I think you’re such a lovely mum. I think a lot of people struggle with these sorts of issues, but then don’t ever talk about it. I found a lot of the early baby days really overwhelming, and much prefer the toddler stage. It’s so much better when they can actually talk to you, isn’t it? x.
I can really empathise with this as I feel I am living that feeling to some extent. I feel much better now than I did when she was smaller and I think the older she is the more I will enjoy spending time with her. X
As much as I’m desperate to start a family the thought of those early days totally petrifies me! I’m an anxious person as it is and I genuinely worry (a lot!) how I’d ever cope. Should my time ever come I’ll most definitely keep this post in mind – it’s such a lovely one.
Yeah…… when I had my first kid, i didn’t enjoy the maternity leave at all. What made it worse was people telling me how nice it was that I was on leave and didn’t have to work. I worked 24h a day, 7 days a week and was totally sleep deprived, I’m on “leave”, not a vacation for goodness sake!!
Things were different with the 2nd kid though, I enjoyed the time I had with Little One and actually dreaded going back to work….. read more about it here
Yip, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, but life changes once the naps go – and therefore a lot of the pressure to ensure they get their naps. And life changes once you can have proper conversations and play games together, rather than ‘entertain’ them. I am absolutely loving the pre-school years and trying to savour every moment before September… gulp! Ace post xx
Thank you for writing this, I always wanted to be a mummy but think I expected too much. My little one turns 2 next month and I finally feel like I am starting to relax and enjoy it. I don’t want to wish her life away but it’s getting easier the bigger she gets.
such a great post Alison, I really disliked the newborn days in many ways. I am much happier as a mum of a toddler than a mum of a baby for sure! I also felt happier when I started working for myself and dare I say it I love nursery days when I can a bit of me back again! x
I loved this post Alison, so honest. I can genuinely say that from the second they were born I was one of those people that just sort of fell into the role, I am not a perfect Mum by any means (far far far from it in fact!) but I loved my new role. I found being Mum to a newborn Mads very difficult as she was poorly in the first week and gave us such a scare that I was almost afraid to allow myself to grow too attached to her but the second time round I loved the newborn days. Bar the leaky sore boobs- I shudder at the memory of those. Both my girls I have been very lucky with in terms of sleep and things like crying, we never had colic or any hugely unsettled periods and that is one thing that makes me really reluctant to have any more children as I seem to have had it ‘easy’ really.
Everything you write on motherhood could have come straight from my mouth! I love reading your posts as makes me realise I am normal. Thank you!
WOW! This is exactly how I feel, My twins are almost 3 and I feel so guilty that I don’t enjoy being with them. I love them to death but the love sometimes feels out of duty rather than out of true love. (insert guilt again) I too get that feeling of anxiety when Friday comes along. I know I have to spend the whole weekend trying to keep them busy. I’m looking forward to the 3s and hope this awful feeling goes away very soon. Thank you so much for your honest blog. I’m looking forward to enjoying the weekends again soon.