I am one of those mums who said having kids wouldn’t change me or my life. And there seems to be a lot of pre-parents who say the same thing. Because it seems like a reassuring thing to tell yourself shortly after you’ve peed on a stick and got two lines. And I suspect many said it for the two main reasons I did.
Firstly, I felt a little bit scared and a little bit overwhelmed about the reality of how much my life might actually change. And secondly, I quite liked my life and despite really wanting to add a baby into the mix, I wasn’t really looking to change anything else.
I was comfortable with the big changes. The emotional stuff. And being responsible for two small people that were irritating and adorable in equal measures. But some of the little things that change, I found harder to accept were here to stay and were part of my new normal. And they weren’t immediate, they creep up on you as our little newborns turn into an actual people – with personalities and opinions and everything!
Just a few examples:
I liked lazy Saturdays mornings in bed and a late brunch. I wasn’t looking for Peppa Pig on repeat from 6.30am and bowls of Weetabix concrete to be launched at my head.
I liked going out for dinner when we couldn’t be bothered to cook after a long day at work. I wasn’t looking for an evening of three-hour bedtime battles before I mustered the strength to hit the kitchen. ‘I’m thirsty.’ ‘I want another book.’ ‘I want you to go downstairs and Daddy to come up and then you to come up again after that.’
I liked getting into my car and popping to the shops when I decided I really wanted a Cadbury’s Crème Egg/can of Lilt/salt and vinegar Chipsticks. I wasn’t looking to pad this out with a 20-minute-getting-in-the-car debacle involving grappling with a toddler, slinging a car seat over my arm and battling with a set of pram wheels that only fit in the boot a certain way.
I liked cooking (well watching the husband cook and occasionally playing sous chef) on a Sunday afternoon and then sitting down for a relaxed meal and a glass of red wine. I wasn’t looking to be held hostage in the lounge with two arguing small people while the husband cooked followed by a meal of tantrums, food-lobbing, plate-switching, drink-spilling and general begging and bribery.
These smaller changes have taken me a lot longer to accept. For some weird reason, I feel like I am living in a temporary state and this will all be over soon and the old normal of lazy brunches and dining-out will resume. But although, my two little ones can be more than a little bit grating a lot of the time, I have no intention of putting them up for adoption.
I remember seeing the headline last year that it takes 14 months for new parents to getting used to having a child but for me I think some aspects take a lot longer! And so as my eldest approaches her fourth birthday, I think it’s time I embraced all that surrounds me and stop making excuses for being a new mum.
Most days, I still feel like I am operating in ‘I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing’ mode and just thrash through the day – but I think that’s the point, this is how life feels now and I need to stop waiting for that to pass. It will change every month as we reach new phases and instead of feeling a little bit scared or restricted, I am starting to embrace the unpredictability and excitement of it all. I think I’m finally ready to be a Mum!
It’s time to admit my new normal to myself – and despite it taking a bit (four years) of getting used to, I really like the noise and chaos it brings.
And one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t have any other monkeys as my daily alarm clock or throwing food at my head than these two: