Children: Sam (3) Isabel (22 months)
Expectations of Motherhood:I suppose my expectations were a little similar to the reality, I always knew I would be a mum one day. I saw myself at home with my babies, playing, pottering about in the garden, going to playgroups, baking and generally having fun. Although, I really wasn’t prepared for 3 years of sleepless nights, being kept on my toes 24/7, the sheer emotion and how overwhelming my love would be for them!
Reality of Motherhood: It is the toughest job I have ever had, but also the best. I wouldn’t change any part of it for the world, except maybe being allowed to go the toilet without an audience!
The best/worst advice: I can’t remember any particular gems of advice I was given but I’m pretty sure that someone told me to trust my instincts somewhere along the line of my first pregnancy. It didn’t really sink in until Sam was a few months old and I don’t think I really followed that advice until Isabel was born. I was much calmer and far more confident as a second time mum, plus I didn’t really have time to worry about things, or ask ten million people so I just got on with it and did what I felt was right.
With Sam we struggled along with his feeding and routine, or what we felt was struggling. It seemed as if we weren’t doing it right, there was plenty of advice along the lines of, ‘he should be going 4 hours between feeds by now’, ‘he should be sleeping through by now’, ‘he should be having 6/7 oz of milk at each feed by now’. What we did realise after a few months was that we should trust him to follow his own instincts too. We had a very loose routine but he was the one that started making changes to it when ‘he’ felt ready and that’s the same even now. He decided when he was ready to go longer between feeds, start potty training, sleep in a bed and the transition for all of these has been far easier than we expected, because ‘he’ was ready.
The hardest parts of being a mother:Finding time for ‘you’ and to be you. As a mum, you instinctively put everyone else’s needs before your own. Some days you find that you realised you wanted to go to the toilet five hours ago and you still haven’t been yet!
The best parts of being a mother:There are so many best bits its untrue. There’s nothing like seeing all your baby’s firsts; smiling, laughing, rolling over, crawling, cruising, walking and talking, and the feeling when they give you a cuddle or a kiss of their own volition is amazing! I love watching them learn and grow. I love feeling proud of how they behave in difficult situations. I’m proud that they’ve developed their own independence but can ask for help when they need it. One of my best parts so far is watching Sam and Isabel together, playing, chatting and bonding. It makes my heart melt when they suddenly give each other a massive hug and I see just how much they adore each other.
Hopes for your family:As Sam and Isabel grow up we’ll try not to impose any expectations on them as to what they should do and what they should be, although I do wish for them to grow up to be kind, compassionate, non-judgmental, confident and to have open hearts and minds. I’d also love for them to figure out what makes them happy from an early age. It’s something I’m still figuring out…except for my family, I know they make me very happy!
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Revel in your pregnancy, if you can. It goes far too quickly and someone will press the fast forward button the moment you give birth for the first time.
Trust yourself and the fact that you will know your baby better than anyone.
Make use of your children’s centres, they’re great places and who knows how much longer they’ll be around. You’ll also make some great new friends and it’ll stop the cabin fever setting in, it also allows your child to develop lots of very important social skills.
If you can figure out a way, grow some eyes in the back of your head. You will need them the moment they become mobile!