Children: Benjamin (3) and Erin (4 months)
Expectations of Motherhood: Honestly, I didn’t think it would be anywhere near as hard as it is. I’m a lawyer, and pre-pregnancy I worked long hours and managed a team of other Lawyers and paralegals so I was used to stress, pressure of time, trying to divide my time between lots of other people and having to respond quickly to the demands of my seniors, which often included the judiciary. I honestly thought raising children would be easier than work. I had planned to re-learn the piano, brush up on my French and even go camper vanning around New Zealand’s north island with the baby. (I cringe when I think about how naive I was). How wrong I was.
As for “work” – I returned to work when Benjamin was 11 months old and it was a doddle. I got to drink a cup of tea before it went cold, I got to go to the toilet with the door closed, I got a lunch “break” and I got to have adult conversations. And my armour was stronger – it didn’t really matter if I had a bad day in the office or if I got shouted at by a Judge at the Crown Court, because I knew that at the end of the day I would return to my “family” and they would make it all ok. Beside, being shouted at by a Judge is infinitely easier to take than a toddler tantrum because I’ve turned Cbeebies off!!
Taking your children home for the first time: Taking our children home were wonderful days for us. All the neighbours came out to see them, Mum and Dad were here and had cooked us a lovely meal. There were balloons, banners and lots of cards on display and I felt very very special. With Erin, she slotted straight in to family life. The dog didn’t seem too impressed that we’d gone and got another one though!
The best/worst advice: The best advice I got was from my mum and she simply said this “mother knows best”. I honestly believe that mothers intuition is a powerful tool. The best advice I could give is to take any advice with a pinch of salt!!!
As for bad advice – I don’t make room for it in my memory bank!
The hardest parts of being a mother: The guilt – and constantly worrying that something I have done or said in the past could have a negative influence on them.
The best parts of being a mother: That I can walk around in leggings all day.
Has motherhood changed you?: I haven’t changed – I’ve evolved.
Hopes for your (growing) family: We haven’t yet decided if we are to be a family of four or a family of five (six if you include the dog!) but however big the brood, I simply wish for happiness. The rest will follow.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: A lot of people told me to expect the sudden rush of love when I held my newborn baby in my arms. That was helpful advice to an extent because it numbed the anxiety of actually giving birth, but the reality was that when Benjamin finally made an appearance, I was so tired (physically and emotionally) that I just wanted to sleep.
Be true to yourself. Embrace the journey. Your child is their own person – baby expert books cannot change that. Acceptance. Strength. Love. Oh, and never break a promise to your child.