Friday 9 August 2013

8 things I've learned since becoming a mum

There are many things people tell you about parenthood before you join the club. Usually it's tips, stories and sage advice from family, friends and colleagues who have been there themselves. You get given so much information from everyone covering everything you can possibly think of, but even then it's not enough - you're still in for some surprises.

Here are a few things I discovered after entering motherhood that NO ONE told me about:

1. Epidurals don't always work
I'd heard so many stories about women not asking for pain relief early enough or arriving at the hospital too far along in labour to get the good stuff, but it not actually working when given in time? Nope! Talk about a crock. You can read my story all about that here on Mamamia.

2. Breast milk can look neon
I got the shock of my life when one night I expressed some breast milk and looking into the container saw liquid as bright yellow as a highlighter staring back at me. Understandably I freaked until I worked out I'd had a multivitamin that morning - who knew it could not only turn your urine fluro but also your breast milk? Lucky the bub didn't notice!

3. Your boobs will deflate like sad birthday balloons
So much for motherhood leaving me with bouncing big fun bags. Once the breastfeeding is over it's goodbye Pamela Anderson chest, hello Double As - and I ain't talking about batteries or copier paper. Your baby literally sucks the life out of your breasts, leaving them like two tiny, hollow pikelets with raisins on top. From speaking to other mums though it seems this curse is only reserved for naturally small busted women like me. So unfair! Can't I at least keep the boobs I had before?

4. The bathroom is the new party destination
I knew that kids love following you around everywhere you go, including the loo, but I really didn't realise just how much everyone loves to hang out in the bathroom. My youngest loves a good smash and grab when he can, which basically involves opening any drawer, cupboard, bin or shower door that's not locked and strewing the contents everywhere. That's if, he's not trying to get in the shower with me, shadow watching his brother be toilet trained or trying to shut the toilet lid on anyone that's going about their business. Forget the bathroom as a time of solitude, usually every member of the family is in there doing one thing or another. Even our cat comes in to check out what all the commotion is about!

5. Kids without sleep are PSYCHOS 
Everyone bangs on and on about your sleep before you have a child, as in "you'd better sleep now cos' you're not going to be getting any for a while!" But no one talks about what can happen if children don't get enough sleep, particularly during the day. I'll tell you - they are mentalists. Overtired little lunatics who act like they've taken some bad drugs. Prevention is the key here, and if you find yourself with one crazed maniac, just pop them in bed and wait until they pass out. 

6. Toddlers can have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Every day my eldest develops something new to add to his daily routine that must be done the same way every time, i.e. his way. And if not, well, hell breaks loose. This could be anything from the hand he holds to cross the street (has to be the same one every time) or the way the letters are taken out of the letterbox, to what cereal he has in the morning or the climbing ritual he does to get into bed. I know it's their way of being independent but seriously, sometimes I think I've got a mini Jack Nicholson from As good as it gets on my hands.
7. Weekends don't exist anymore
I'm not completely clueless, I knew once little people entered our world we could kiss goodbye weekend lie-ins, relaxed breakfasts at cafes, spontaneous outings, wild house parties, etc. - at least for a good while anyway. But, what I failed to realise was that once you become a parent the actual concept of a weekend is a goner. Most of the population have that two day affair where you get a break from whatever it is you do during the week, but for parents? It doesn't exist. Stay-at-home mums and dads don't get time off on Saturdays and Sundays, and those working the 9-to-5 grind leave the office behind not to relax but help with the kids and chores. There is nothing to signify the end of the week because parenthood really does equal no 'breaks.' When the children are babies it doesn't matter so much but as they turn into toddlers and become more demanding, this realisation really sinks in. In fact, my husband has only just started to accept it. I'm sure weekends start to be reclaimed once children get older, but then comes the joy of football and ballet runs and so on. Ah it never ends. Just remember, you signed up for this!

8. Being a parent is BLOODY, BLOODY HARD!
As with the point above, I knew this one to some degree but not the full extent. Yes, I knew having children was going to be hard (being a huge life change with masses of responsibility), but I couldn't wait to be a mum and thought I was prepared for the challenge ahead of me. Turns out it's not just hard, but so much more difficult than I ever imagined. And I am someone who has healthy, happy kids; a decent household income; and a loving husband who helps out (sometimes). I used to think I was a patient person, but children test you to the absolute limit. Of course, I'm right in the thick of toddler territory with a one and almost three year-old (if I have to clean poo off the walls one more time this week I'm going to scream), so talk to me again in a few years and I might have a different view. But by then I'll probably be on to the next difficult phase, and I know they never end as long as you live (I'm sure my Mum is still losing sleep over my sisters and I). It is of course all worth it though, and having children is every bit as wonderful as I knew it would be despite it being so hard. And thank goodness for that otherwise the human population would die out, definitely.

What hard truths have you learned since becoming a parent?

photo credit: Idiolector via photopin cc


  1. Can definitely relate! Especially the OCD one ... my son has rules about everything! Who walks down the stairs first, who gets out of the car first, how his sandwiches must be cut etc etc etc ....
    One thing I didn't expect about having a baby was the Shrek ankles I got after my C section (rest assured they did come back to normal after a few days) - The Dolly Parton boobs were nice though!

  2. It's hilarious the OCD isn't it? But when you're in a rush, also incredibly annoying!

  3. LOVE this post! My epidural didn't work the second time round. Oh. My. God! And I've had the crazy coloured breast milk too. Mine was a rusty colour though thanks to a blister on the ol nip. Ouch. I'm glad other kids have OCD type symptoms. I thought it was just mine. Phew!


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