Updated: Dec 29, 2020
I had it in my head motherhood would be a magical experience, I was bored with my corporate job, have a baby I thought, now that will be fun. I laugh now at how naïve I was to believe it was just like the movies, you popped that thing out in two pushes, your love just poured out of you for this amazing human you created and then you lived happily ever after!
WRONG! First of all it was hours of pushing to get them out then secondly I did not have this gush of love you hear people talk about. Not sure I ever got that actually, I mean I knew I loved them but for me it wasn't so intense. What was intense though was the changes that occurred. Literally overnight they take your whole world as you know it. My body was un-recognisable, suddenly I couldn't relate to my childless friends and my husband was no longer a priority for me.
This is NOT what I Signed up for!
I was always a regular exerciser so thought I was quite fit, I managed the labor okay but it really is like the hardest marathon you will ever do, and lets be honest most of us would never sign up to do a marathon! Then afterwards you never catch up on your sleep, straight away on the back foot up every few hours day and night as a feeding machine.
There were many reasons I disliked breastfeeding but one of them was that it meant I was doing everything, the baby relied mainly on me and I struggled with that. I wanted my husband to do some feeding so that I could do something else for a bit. I was desperate for some sense of routine to make things feel normal again.
Eventually you do find your feet, you settle into a structure of some sort, but god I was bored. Looking after babies is so repetitive, I am a routine lover but even I was sick of the feed, sleep, sh*t repeat. Although there wasn't much sleep going on.
Sleep deprivation changed me....
The lack of sleep turned me into a monster, I was miserable, fed up and needed things to change. When nothing did change I day dreamed about my corporate job, why did I think this was a better idea? Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy spending time with my daughter, we went for lovely walks and saw other mummy friends at sensory and massage classes but all I could think about was how tired I was.
I wasn't prepared to accept this was just how it was now, I made it my mission to get her to sleep and eventually I did. The change in me once that happened was remarkable I was suddenly excited to see her in the morning, I had a full night sleep and I had time to miss her. Having the predictability of sleep helped me to carve out the routine I wanted, where she napped regularly so I could batch cook, clean or watch trashy TV. I cherished my time alone - I never realised how much I loved being on my own until I had babies.
Sleep certainly saved my sanity and now that my little ones are 6 and 3 I find it so much easier to enjoy motherhood with balance - i.e time away from them in the evenings when they disappear from 6.30pm !! Motherhood is still not what I thought it would be, the lack of freedom and constant challenge to keep all the balls in the air can be so stressful at times. I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom, I do adore my girls and I am so proud of them (mainly when they are asleep) it just blows my mind how hard this part of life really is and how many of us struggle alone.
I am still a work in progress as a mum, I know I'm not perfect but I'm okay with that, perfectionism is not reality. I know I am a good mum because I care about myself and my own needs as well as theirs. I want my daughters to see and respect that, they know mummy needs sleep. I am a better mum for prioritising my mental and physical wellbeing, to be good at anything we have no experience in we have to practise, making changes along the way until we find what works for us.
You're not alone
So if motherhood isn't what you expected either, know that you're not alone. None of us know how to do this and some of us never had great role models to show us how either. Be kind to yourself and think about what you need as a person, because you were someone before you became mummy and you're still in there somewhere and SHE matters more then you think.
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