Friday, 8 April 2016

3 Years As A Mum

This was us...New Years Eve 2012 BC...yes, Before Children.

I had probably spent a good couple of hours getting ready for that night out - probably went and had my hair done, definitely took time over my make up, spent a fortune on a glitzy dress and handbag. We probably had a few drinks at home before heading out. 

I have no recollection of what my thoughts & plans were for the year ahead - they were probably along the lines of planning more cruise holidays, buying lots of new clothes, and going on nights out with friends and drinking lots of cocktails - those are pretty much all the things I focused on back then.

I doubt that I would have expected that we would be expecting our first baby before that year was out.

Although I was far from a gym slip Mum (I was 30 when I fell pregnant, and 31 by the time Tyne was born!) , the pregnancy still felt like a bit of a surprise to me and I was quite scared by the whole thing...we had been trying for a baby but had only just started and certainly hadn't expected anything to happen quite that quickly (on the first try!)...and although I'd worked with children for most of my adult life as a nanny and nursery nurse, and had been around my own nieces a lot - I still felt unsure about the prospect of having my own.

I remember wondering if I'd get bored of my own child - I loved my nieces loads and really looked forward to visiting them but after a couple of hours I'd definitely had enough of playing dolls and being jumped all over, and was glad to be able to say Bye Bye and go home to a nice quiet, clean, tidy house where I could watch whatever I wanted on TV, do what I wanted, go out when I wanted and generally just only ever have myself to worry about (and Jon I suppose... but he's pretty well trained and mostly looks after himself...) - I remember wondering if I'd have that same "Ok, I'm done now!" feeling with my own kids.

I wondered how I'd ever be able to cope with the fear and anxiety when they were sick, I wondered how I'd know what to do in those situations, I wondered if I'd ever miss my old life and my freedom, I wondered if I'd really be cut out for the whole "mummy" thing.

I started this blog when I was about 3 months away from giving birth,  and I so clearly remember sitting on my bed and telling Jon how I'd write about all the things that I wasn't going to do as a Mum - I was never going to be one of those mums who did disgusting things like pick her babies nose, or sniff their bums in public to see if they needed a change...I'd never feed my kids McDonalds and they certainly wouldn't be allowed to have an Ipad until they were at least 10! I also wasn't going to be one of those Hippy Dippy mums who insist on always being attached to their babies, and as for co-sleeping...well THAT was never going to happen! My bed was MY BED and no child was going to be worming its way into it!

I'm not sure exactly how long it took me to eat those words, but let's just say that 3 years on that firstborn child of mine has only just started to sleep in his own bed on a long term basis and I still spend most nights feeling sad and half wishing he hadn't grown up so quickly and still wanted to "cuddle in big bed" every night....

With Tyne turning 3 last week, it got me thinking about these last 3 years of life as a mum...what have I learned so far? How has it all been different to what I expected?

Well I could probably ramble on forever on that topic, but here are just a few of the thoughts that struck me when pondering it...

I'm not the mother I thought I'd be

 Infact I'd go as far as to say that the pre-conceptions I had before birth of the kind of mum I wanted to be couldn't have been further from the mark. I was completely unprepared for how fiercely protective I would feel of my baby, and how much I would WANT to be attached to him at all times.

When I was having him, I remember telling my Mum that I was going to book a holiday for that summer without him and that she'd need to babysit - she tried to tell me that I wouldn't want to go away without him but I insisted that I absolutely would! Of course...once he was in my arms, the thought of even leaving the room to pee was a tug on the heartstrings...leaving the country for a weeks holiday was absolutely unimaginable to me.

I don't like to use labels for parenting styles, but I will say that I have been far more attachment-esque than I ever imagined I would want to be...and of course all of those things I promised myself I would never do? I do them all on a daily basis...I had no idea how much baby-nose picking can actually be when you're in the middle of a night feed and there's nothing on TV.... And the bum sniff, well that's just necessary - how else am I going to know he needs changing?! 

I have been a different mother to each of my children

Back in 2012, if you'd told me that I would not only be pregnant by the end of that year...but that I would go on to have THREE babies in the space of 3 years...well I would probably have laughed in your face and then run a mile in absolute terror.

But the thing about being a mum is that you adapt as a person along with each new age, each new stage and of course each new little person that comes along. 

Noah had a totally different mum to the one Tyne had - one who was far less worried about doing things by the book, one who panicked far less over the slightest little sniffles, one who was much more confident in her approach to motherhood, and one who understood more how to enjoy the little moments because she recognised that these were actually the times that make up the best memories.

And although Sailor is still so tiny, I have no doubt that he'll have a different kind of Mum again to his brothers...he's a very different baby already with a very different nature, and so you adapt your style to suit.

I've grown in confidence with each new baby that I've been blessed with, and I can only hope that growth will continue as the children get older and the challenges we face start to change.

I DID change as a person...and it's ok

I remember feeling pretty confident that I wouldn't change much after having kids. I heard women say how much motherhood changed them but I found the whole idea pretty offensive for some reason - I wanted to have children but I didn't relish the thought that doing so would mean changing my entire personality, my likes and dislikes, and my whole outlook on life...that just seemed entirely unnecessary to me. I liked who I was and I didn't want to change.

But regardless, the changes came naturally and there are aspects of my life now that I would have scoffed at the thought of 4 years ago.

Back then, the thought of spending all of my spare money on new clothes for the KIDS instead of myself would have brought me out in hives...if you'd told me that I would go months on end without buying anything new for my precious wardrobe and would even still be wearing 2 year old maternity clothes that have seen me through two years and two pregnancies, I would probably have cried. But the fact is, I get so much more of a thrill out of buying clothes for the kids and styling them up than I do from treating myself...times change I guess.

I may still feel a slight twinge of sadness whenever I see my beloved Juicy Couture bag stuffed to the back of my wardrobe, never to see the light of day again...but a new penchant for changing bags has seen me through those tough times!

I've also been shocked by how much more emotional I've become since having the kids - I can't watch any advert featuring mums and sons these days without becoming a blubbering mess, even that Coca Cola ad with the teenager sticking up for his younger brother against the bullies has me sobbing like a loon! 

The past 3 years have been a whirlwind of smelly nappies, night feeds, happy meals (The No-McDonalds rule didn't last long...) and morning sickness but they have also been full of more laughter, cuddles and happy memories than I could ever have imagined.

Each of these little guys is their own little character - each of them has their own little unique personality, their own way and each of them amazes me every day with their wit, intelligence and downright cuteness! They are amazing little humans and I often wonder how I managed to get so lucky with them...there are days when they are such hard work, there are days when I feel like an absolute colossal failure of a mother and there are days when I feel like I'm doing it all wrong...but those feelings never last for very long, before the good days come around again. 

The past 3 years have been so chaotic, but it's been the best kind of little Boys Brigade are by far the best thing I've ever done, and I couldn't be prouder of them.

And I couldn't be more excited to see where life has taken us all in another 3 years.

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