Monday, 15 January 2018

10 Things I Didn't Know About #Motherhood

I've been a mum for at least 3 years now, and I often still stare at my kids in amazement of who they are, and the fact that they are mine! Watching them grow is one of the most truly amazing things to witness. Every parent says it, but it doesn't get real until you're watching your child grow. Whether it's when they try to run past you, while trying to get away from you (cos they don't want to brush their teeth), or they are singing a song in baby talk in the right tune, or figuring out how to arrange legos. Your child's achievements will surprise and delight you even when you've read all the parenting books.

I've made a few rather interesting discoveries, since becoming a mum and I thought I'd share some here.

1) Sleep? What sleep? To be fair, they do tell you about this, but you don't really know until you've experienced it. When babies first arrive, their schedules are pretty clear. They eat, sleep and poo. They eat often (and poo just as much especially if you're breastfeeding) so you never get more than a few hours of sleep at a time. And you have to do other things in between, like clean and sterilise the feeding bottles, keep the house clean for your baby's sake, do the laundry (I was warned not to buy too many things for my baby for the first three months as they'll outgrow them too quickly, so that meant the few we owned needed to be washed often so there were always clean clothes to wear). Then you think it will be better when they grow up. Well, not for another couple of years. My kids are both toddlers now and they don't sleep when I need them to sleep. They are at a stage where they're walking and talking (babbling in the case of the younger one) and feeling more confident about discovering the world around them (in other words, you can't take your eyes off them for more than a few seconds). Now imagine yourself bone tired and nodding off while your little typhoon is running around 'exploring'; you can't keep your eyes open and you can't afford to fall asleep.

2) Poo is a legitimate topic of conversation Yes. As soon as you become a parent, you're consumed with monitoring your baby's stool for frequency, consistency, colour etc. They have a whole chart for logging feeding, and diaper changes. If your baby isn't pooing enough, or the colour and consistency are off, you're worried. And for good reason, there's a lot you can tell about your baby's well-being from his or her poo. So you know you're a parent when you call home from work to find out if your baby has (finally) pooed, what colour it is and whether is was soft or hard. If you have the stomach for it, here's an article complete with photos about baby poo.

3) Babies don't sleep like babies You've heard the expression "sleeping like a baby", which is to say you slept deeply and soundly. Don't be fooled! Babies do NOT sleep like that. Babies are an enigma. At least mine are. It is entirely true that a baby can sleep through a racket, but just sneeze and see if your baby doesn't wake up. I dare you! 

4) You'll talk to your significant other through your kid. This is my biggest surprise. "(insert baby's name) tell daddy that he needs to learn how to feed you." Yea, I'd heard couples do this, but I never thought I'd fall for it. It's a psychological ploy, I think. When you are both tired, sometimes it's the fact that your baby needs you that gives you the energy to get up and keep doing. So you use that. Avoid it at all costs. As much as it works, I think this behaviour will lead the couple the wrong way eventually. You need to be able to talk directly to your partner about what you want without using the child.

5) YOU are the parent (not your mum). I remember one night when my daughter was about a month old and she was crying. We were spending the night at my parents' so my mum was in the room with us. My daughter was well-fed, diaper changed etc. and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. This was in August, which is the coolest month of the year, but it's like 18C/64F so still summer temperatures by some other standards. Anyway, for some reason I kind of wondered it she might be feeling cold, so I got a light blanket and wrapped her in it. Within seconds, she was quiet and snoozing in my arms. I never felt more accomplished in my life as I did that moment,  because in the company of a veteran mum, I was the one who figured out what was wrong with my baby. And it hit me that I'm the mum.

6) You'll make mistakes. It probably goes without saying that if you're new to the job, you'll make a few mistakes even with all the parenting books and websites out there. Experience is the best teacher in this case. It is important to forgive yourself when you do make those mistakes and take measure to avoid similar mistakes in the future. I'm talking small  mistakes. With big mistakes, try to learn from other people's experiences so you don't have to learn from your own :-)

You'll be one of those mums...
You know those parents who talk about their kids ALL.THE.TIME? Yea, that would be you! I liked baby stories way before I had any kids, so in some ways, I knew I'd talk about mine, but I was not prepared for the level of the temptation to throw in a 'my kids this' or 'mine that' in conversation. Sometimes, you can't help it - one parent says something about their kid and it reminds you of something about yours, so you share as well. Sometimes someone asks and you give one detail too many, but this is all because you love your kids and you think they are amazing. I try to make a conscious effort to not overdo it. I don't know if I'm succeeding.  Maybe I should write a book (does anyone remember that book, When Daddy Was a Little Boy?)

Kids don't do clean and neat
We've seen the photos of toys strewn on the floor in many homes with kids, so the fact that homes with kids are messy isn't a surprise. My big surprise was that kids aren't just prone to make a mess - they LIKE the mess. You pack all the toys into a box and IMMEDIATELY the kids come to upend the box, scattering the toys all over, not because they want to play. Oh no! My kids do this and simply walk off with a my-job-here's-done smile. They are  now at an age when I can teach them to pick up after themselves (guess who's going to have the last laugh)

You're automatically an expert 
When I was pregnant with my first, I was out shopping and a nervous dad-to-be asked my advice in selecting a brand of wipes. Now I had no firsthand knowledge about baby stuff, but I had enough secondary experience from watching and listening to my sisters to answer his question, then I hightailed it out of the aisle before he asked me a question that would force me to admit my novice-hood (novicity? 😃) in the area of parenting. I think the mums will get this more than the dads.

No such thing as a bathroom break!
I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes, when I go to the bathroom, I take an extra five minutes just sitting there (hiding), because I just want a moment of silence, but...

So now you have the 411.

Any parenting surprises you want to share?


1 comment:

  1. Empi, they still come to the bathroom to look for me. And my last born is 14 years, and a boy at that.