Before I became a mum, I had such a different view of motherhood. I’d look at mums with small babies and have a warm feeling inside. How utterly blissful her life must be, I’d think. She has it all. And to a certain extent, I’d be right, but until you’ve been a mum – experienced the reality of it – you have no idea what it’s like. That mum with a small baby could well have had 40 minutes sleep the night before, be feeling guilty that she’s struggling to breastfeed and be panicking about how she’ll fill up her car with petrol with a sleeping baby in the car (do you leave the baby in the locked car while you pay or take the carseat with you? I avoided putting petrol in our car for months to avoid this problem.) Yes, the fantasy of motherhood can be so different to the reality, as I discovered as a new mum…
The fantasy: Feet up, watching This Morning, drinking cups of tea, feeling nice and chilled.
The reality: Dark circles under the eyes, racing from Monkey Music to NCT coffee, feeling frazzled and out of control.
Those first few days…
The fantasy: Snuggled up with a newborn, all day, hiding from the outside world and getting to know your baby.
The reality: Hormones raging, sleep deprived and constantly thinking “Why is my baby crying?” whilst alternately worrying about whether the baby is too hot or too cold, adding and removing clothing and blankets accordingly.
Getting into a routine…
The fantasy: “When my baby naps, I’ll sleep too, to get some well-earned rest.”
The reality: “The baby’s asleep?” you think to yourself. “Right! What do I need to do? Ironing! Hoovering! Sending that email!” Cue: running around in a mild panic that results in you doing pretty much nothing.
The fantasy: Warm sun, relaxing by the pool, the odd snooze in the shade, lovely family time.
The reality: Spending a whole month planning what to take, ending up taking so much kit for the baby that you’re charged excess baggage allowance and spending the flight stressing that everyone around you HATES you because your baby is crying. When you’re at your destination, all dreams of relaxing are replaced with the realisation that it’s just as hard work as being at home. With the additional joy of being hot and bothered. Pass the wine.
Getting back in shape…
The fantasy: Getting regular exercise and eating super healthily, after your 12 week GP check up, so that you get back into your pre-pregnancy jeans fairly quickly.
The reality: Going to the gym once, all but falling asleep on the cross trainer from sheer exhaustion, then spending the next six months with your face actually submerged in a chocolate cake.
Feeding your child…
The fantasy: Giving your growing baby only natural, organic foods. Steamed, pureed veg when weaning them, and then at the toddler stage, home cooked fish pies and stews.
The reality: Ready-made veg purees at the weaning stage (God bless you, Ella and your Kitchen) followed by a semi-regular intake of fish fingers, sausages and ice cream.
The fantasy: Giggles and laughter as you pop bubbles on your child’s nose and clean away the day.
The reality: Screaming and kicking as they refuse to get in the bath… then screaming and kicking as they refuse to get out of the bath. Pass the wine.
The fantasy: Getting messy with finger paints, paper mache and glue every day to create amazing, fun projects.
The reality: Getting all of the art materials out, only for your child to get bored after approximately four minutes and tip an entire pot of red paint all over your floor. Pass the wine.
The fantasy: Not watching any kids’ TV – after all , isn’t too much TV bad for babies and toddlers?
The reality: Watching CBeebies every day. How else do you get 10 minutes for a sit down and cuppa?
Haha! I love this so much 😀
Oh God. I’m currently trying to get pregnant, and a lot of those fantasies form my personal pregnancy belief system…
Oh blimey! Well, it’s better that you know the truth now 😉
hahaha!! Brilliant post x
oh this post made me laugh. especially the food part! i think one of biggest things i’ve learnt becoming a mum is letting go of what i thought it would be like and enjoying how it really is. easier said than done at times mind! 🙂
Good advice. I spent a long time as a new mum “mourning” my old life which is just silly and pointless.
Absolutely brilliant! Can identify with every point in here! I’m currently experiencing a new myth re. juggling returning to work and motherhood.
Oh that’s a whole other post! Hope it’s going well though.
LOVE this! And so true! I remember the petrol trauma and running the gauntlet – mainly because I needed to re-fill the car with petrol as I’d been wasting so much, driving around with a finally-sleeping-baby! Drive-thru coffee was my saviour! But why do those people have to talk SO damn LOUD! “CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER”! Great post x
I’ve often wished a chain of drive through cafes would open, selling coffee, cake, sandwiches etc so that parents with sleeping babies could swing by and eat!
you forgot to mention the car seat…
fantasy: oh it will be no problem
reality: paaaaul! come and help me!!!
Another great post Alison. Especially doing crafts together. Ugh, still struggle with that one even though the eldest is 4. Pass the wine indeed.
This is SO true. I was exactly like this before I had my gorgeous little boy 7 months ago. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one!
This made me laugh out loud! So so true, and the whole time you’re thinking; Victoria Beckham never had to go through this haha.