Child: Arun, 2 years old
Expectations of Motherhood: My little boy would just slot into my life and I’d carry on as normal with my buddy in tow.
Reality of Motherhood: Arun had other ideas and wasn’t really interested in doing what I wanted to do. Feed endlessly, sleep, poop, and cry a lot – that was about it and I found it really hard that he was in control. I remember the health visitor came over one day and my mum dobbed on me and told her I’d been crying. She asked me about my life before Arun and noticed a stack of Lonely Planets on the bookshelf, I hadn’t realised how much freedom I’d had before.
But over time I came to accept that my life had changed and independence as I knew it was gone. My job for now was to take care of and nurture my lovely little boy, there would be time for the fun stuff later. I started to enjoy being a mum more once I came to terms with that.
Taking your child home for the first time: “Why’s he still crying?!” “He can’t be hungry again?!” “Soooooo tired”, – these were about the only three things that went through my brain for the first six weeks or so. The rest is a blur!
The best/worst advice:
Best advice was to chuck away all the books and learn to read your child instead. I soon got to know Arun and what he wanted and needed. It meant that I didn’t put any pressure on myself or feel like I’d failed when he wasn’t eating and sleeping at a particular time each day.
Worst advice was the breastfeeding ‘tips’ on my NCT course. The reality is much harder than getting a doll to latch onto a poorly-knitted nipple. In my naivety, I had no idea I’d be up day and night, feeding for hours at a time, for what felt like forever.
The hardest part of being a mother: That there’s no downtime, you can’t really ever switch off.
The best parts of being a mother: Well, these far outweigh the tough times. When your little one says he loves you, gives you kisses and cuddles and generally just enjoys being around you. Making Arun belly laugh is priceless and watching him growing and changing every day too. I’m excited about being on this journey with him and already bursting with pride. I only have to think of his smiling face and my heart swells.
Has becoming a mother changed you? Definitely. Now I get up at the same time I used to get in at. I also know what it means to be truly altruistic.
Hopes for your family: A life full of happiness, good health and plenty of laughter.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Don’t be afraid to travel with kids. Although there are so many areas of my life that have changed since Arun came along, me and my husband were determined not to curb our sense of adventure. We’ve definitely made the most of the free flights for children under two offer. Although, holidays aren’t necessarily as relaxing and rejuvenating as they once were now we’ve got a toddler in tow, they’re without a doubt worth the long journeys and upheaval.