Child: Albert, 5 yrs
Location: West Didsbury
Expectations of Motherhood: I thought, as an older first-time mum (I was 38 when I had Albert) that I would be somehow more savvy and chilled than my younger self. It was a cocky expectation though…
I was a bit worried I might be bored on maternity leave and not be able to find enough things to do. I loved my job as an assistant head in a large secondary school and couldn’t imagine winding down from it.
Reality of Motherhood: The total opposite! I had NO clue on what to do with a newborn, and nothing seemed easy. Albert lost nearly 15% of his body weight in the first few days as he struggled to feed and we had daily visits from a very stern health visitor. There was a settled period but before too long he decided he only really wanted to feed at night so that was tough…but then I got into my stride.
I LOVED mat leave and found lots of great friends who were always up for going to some kind of baby thing or just having coffee at home. Everything was a novelty and seeing the world through a little person’s eyes was thrilling.
Taking your child home for the first time: It was a post Diamorphine blur, though I do remember, post Caesarian, being wheeled from operating theatre back to the ward and shouting to the porter, “You didn’t forget where you put the baby did you?!”
The best/worst advice: Someone told me that everything with babies is temporary, and that goes for the good and bad. Learning to value the moments and relax about the worries, that’s good advice.
Everyone says the ‘sleep while baby sleeps’ is bad advice and they’re right if, like me, you can’t chill out for too long before getting bored. I couldn’t do that.
The hardest parts of being a mother: The tiredness. It never goes away and is as hard now (helping him with reading, maths etc when I really want to fall asleep in front of Paw Patrol) as it ever was. When you work full time you have to make time and guilt is never too far behind. I hate it when I get delayed getting home from work and end up arriving at after-school club later than I planned. I do enjoy work though, and there is lots of evidence to suggest that parents who are career-minded have a positive influence on their kids.
The best parts of being a mother: It’s enormous fun. You get to lark about and be daft without feeling silly. School holidays are our quality son-mum time and I love planning all the stuff we’ll do with a good long stretch of time off.
Has becoming a mother changed you? Yeah, for the better I hope! It has made me less materialistic and I get pleasure from the small things in a way I didn’t used to. If you’d asked me 2-3 years ago I’d have said I worry more, but, now he’s at school and is that bit more independent, that’s gone away.
Hopes for your family: I hope he grows up to be tolerant, open-minded, hard-working and non-judgmental. We have a very close relationship and although he’ll need me less as he gets older I hope that we stay close.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: I don’t think I would give advice. It’s so tempting to but every child is different and what works for one may not for another.