I can't really remember life B.C. (Before Child), however, in other ways it feels like I only welcomed my son a matter of weeks ago. Time really does fly when you're having fun.
To celebrate being a Mum for 2 years, I thought I'd compile a list of 10 things I've learned since becoming a parent back in 2013.
10. Parenting is something you CANNOT prepare for.
I really didn't think it would be as hard as it is. I remember buying a book when I was pregnant, I read it from cover to cover and thought I had this parenting lark sorted. I was ready for it. I had what I thought would be some sort of instruction manual that I would be able to refer to at any given moment, heck, I was gonna breeze this parenting malarkey. Want the truth? The reality of it is, babies don't come with a manual. Not one baby is the same. What works for one family, might not work for yours. You just got to find your own way and do your own thing. That "instruction" manual I was thinking I would refer to never saw the light of day post birth so what does that tell you??!!
9. Multitasking will be something that becomes second nature.
Change a nappy one handed whilst blindfolded with your toddler standing up and holding on to your free hand? Yep, easy peasy. Well, OK, not easy but certainly not impossible. I've learned to do things at fast pace and I've learned to do 5 things at once. It really has become second nature.
8. You can never take enough photos. Of the same thing.
I have lost count of the amount of times I've been hit with the error message "storage full" on my phone. It amazes me just how many photos I have on my camera roll, I'm just always so desperate not to miss a single thing. Which, I have to say becomes all the more difficult now my son is a toddler. Asking a 2 year old to repeat the thing he just did so you can get your camera out is like attempting to run a marathon in 5 inch heels. It just ain't gonna happen.
7. The pride you'll feel on a daily basis is a feeling you'll want to bottle.
Every day I feel proud. Proud to be my son's mother. I feel such an amazing sense of pride at the little boy he has become. He finally started calling me "mummum" recently, I can't tell you how incredible a feeling that is. It's moments like this, which make you forget the times they play up, have a tantrum, refuse to eat their dinner and mean you see every hour on the clock from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.
6. CBeebies is a revelation.
Thank you Justin, thank you for the times you have enabled me to get on with something I need to do without a toddler hanging off of my ankles. Thank you for keeping my son entertained when I'm desperate for a cup of tea and thank you for allowing me to put my make up on and straighten my hair. Although I have a love/hate relationship with CBeebies (love Gigglebiz/hate Mr Bloom) I cannot thank the channel enough for their services to helping parents across the country. Even if their wide-as-you-like grins at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning leave me feeling nauseous on occasion.
5. There's a 3:00 a.m. that doesn't involve alcohol.
Who'd have thought it?
Years ago, 3:00 a.m. to me was a sign that I was probably (no, certainly) going to have a hangover the next day. These days, it's a time that I just don't want to see. Everyone warns you about the tiredness, oh the bone crushing tiredness, that comes with being a parent. "Oooo make sure you get your sleep in now before the baby comes" people say to you B.C. (I have no idea why, as it's not like you can bank sleep is it!!??). But nothing, I repeat NOTHING can prepare you for what a sleepless night feels like.
I have to say, I was quite lucky with my son, he slept through the night from 11 weeks old and this remained the case right up until he turned 1. And then he totally forgot how to sleep through the night. And let me tell you That. Was. Tough. But then he soon remembered again and all was right at night once again.
NB. A hangover while parenting is akin to hell (especially with an under 1). Be kind to yourself folks, just say no to that 'last shot of Sambuca' at 1:00 a.m. You'll thank me for it, trust me!
4. It makes you a better person.
Being a parent makes you so much more aware. It makes you aware of other peoples feelings and I think, it helps you take certain things into consideration a little more. For me, it has made me want to go out of my way to help others if I can, I think that's my maternal side coming out perhaps. However, being a Mother has also made me less prepared to put up with bullshit. Time seems to pass at the speed of light when you're a parent and also seems to become that much more precious, thus I really don't have the time nor the inclination to put up with any bullshit I think I'm on the receiving end of. Since I've become a parent I don't suffer fools gladly.
3. Just how much I respect my Mum.
Mum's are amazing. I think I was probably guilty of taking my mum for granted a little B.C. However, now I'm a mum myself I can see exactly how much my mum sacrificed for me and how she has constantly put me first. Trust me when I say mum's ALWAYS have your best interests at heart, even if you don't think so at the time.
2. The world feels a scarier place.
I've always been an anxious person, someone who automatically thinks of the worst case scenario and then convinces myself that situation will definitely occur. No matter how unlikely it is. This has certainly become exacerbated since I became a Mum. You're responsible for this tiny little human, his or her life totally in your hands (such an overwhelming feeling). I've lost count of the amount of times I've been in the car with him (as a passenger as I don't drive) and I've worried myself silly that a car is going to come hurtling into the back of us and he'll be injured. I remember last year when so much was in the media about the Ebola virus and talk of it potentially coming to England. I was so worried about this happening, I had plans in my head of how I would deal with an outbreak should it reach the country. Sometimes I just want to wrap my little boy in cotton wool and shield him from all the awful things that happen in the world.
1. I've become more patient.
I look back to when my son was a few months old and recall how excited I was about beginning the weaning process. My son was a guzzler when it came to his milk, aside from a few issues when he was first born, he was brilliant at taking his bottle. I just assumed in my naivety that weaning would follow suit. HOW WRONG WAS I? It was single handily the hardest thing I've ever done. A battle springs to mind. One day he would eat something, the next day he hated any food that dared to head towards his lips. He would jam his mouth shut and refuse to open it. Food would often be spat out and thrown across the room. He'd gag and it would be the most terrifying few seconds in the world. But, I persevered and realized just how patient I had become throughout the process (next challenge is potty training, I'll be sure to let you know how that one goes!).