Children: Lily, 5 and Ted, 2
Location: Northern Moor
Expectations of motherhood: I genuinely thought being pregnant was the hard part. I thought I would float along in a mummy bubble with my daughter on my arm. I was looking forward to days spent at home baking for my new family and going out with other mums for lots of lovely lunches.
Long term I always hoped I would be able to be a stay at home mum or work part-time, being super calm and teaching the children about the world. Before my first it was definitely easy to look at other mums and think I would do things differently or that my children would be better behaved, eat better etc.
Reality of motherhood: The extreme highs vs lows. Tiredness beyond comprehension. Being a mum is hard work. I have learnt patience, compromise, responsibility and letting go and having more fun!
After having Lily I was in shock, I remember day 5 being awful and crying for almost the entire day, then on day 6 we left the house and went out for a meal. It was wonderful to suddenly be back in the real world. With Ted it was the opposite, I was out and about the next day, with a toddler to entertain. It has made me re-assess my priorities and learn to appreciate the little things in life. It is hard balancing everything and there are many times I feel like a circus act keeping dozens of plates spinning before they all come crashing down. Then the kids do something (and it might just be a cheeky giggle or a cuddle) and everything is ok again.
Taking your children home for the first time: With Lily it really was nerve-wracking leaving the safety of the hospital. I remember asking the midwife to show me one more time how to change a nappy and bath her. It was amazing to bring her back home but we were both looking at her thinking what do we do with this little bundle. I don’t think I slept at all on the first night she was home. With Ted it was so different, there was still that moment thinking how tiny he was since I was used to a toddler charging around but I was so happy that this was our family at last. We had visitors up the next day and were busy with family coming to meet him but it was great—I had loads of volunteers for cuddles, cooking and washing up duty.
Best/worst advice: The best advice was from my cousin who told me to survive the first two months and that it would get easier day by day. I remember someone telling me not to read any books which is the other best piece of advice I got.
The worst advice is anything you google at random times (especially when it’s combined with tired irrationality)!
Hardest part: Balancing everything and getting up so early. Really, is 5am actually a time…? I have never been a routiney person so establishing a loose routine was difficult at first.
The tiredness also is very difficult to deal with. I remember driving to work one day and thinking I could take a nap whilst at the wheel and falling asleep at my desk at work. The guilt is hard too, and balancing holidays and time off for childcare, or having to go to work when the children are asking you to stay with them.
Best part: Family time! I love family time and going on adventures. Having children has made me slow down and enjoy the little things like a splashy puddle or watching a worm wriggle. Watching the kids play together and their relationship develop. The bond I have with the kids and the unconditional love are amazing and were totally not anticipated.
Has being a mother changed you? I am much more patient. I’ve slowed down and try not to stress too much. I have become a morning person and actually really enjoy it. I can get a tonne of things done in 10 minutes and wonder how I was never able to do this before children.
Hopes for my family: For us to be happy and well. To carry on enjoying and exploring the world together and to teach the children enough to be good people and give them the confidence to explore the world themselves. We love to spend time with family and friends and I hope that that will continue as they make friends and grow up.
Advice for new and expectant mums: That it is ok to cry. Motherhood is tough.
Don’t go on a trampoline or run for a while!
Your body changes so much and that’s ok because you grew a human.
You don’t have to be perfect (this is a really hard one!) as you are perfect in your kids eyes.