Having a child is a big event. No matter how old or young you are, it brings about huge changes which all have an effect on your day to day life and the relationships around you. You have to learn a whole new way of life.
I personally have been through so many ups and downs since becoming a mother. Some of these changes are great, some are not, but it's all part of the journey. I thought it would be a great idea to share with you what has changed for me in the last three (nearly four) years!
1. Nothing is simple anymore
There is no such thing as a 'simple night out'. Every event, food shop, meal out has an element of army precision to it. You have to coordinate babysitters, pickups bath times and dinner and that's before you're even dressed to go out to whatever it is you're doing. Even my weekly food shop is complicated. You have the question of "Do I have to take Lily with me?" and if so, what time of the day is best to avoid meal times or snack times.
Nothing is simple....NOTHING!
2. Everything is bad for you....even air!
I can't be the only one who is constantly left confused by the never ending stream of contradictory advice from professionals? When Lily was a baby, I attended a talk at a baby group about foods for weaning and how fruit as a snack was great for children, work meat in slowly and more. Now though, it seems like everything is bad for you. This fruit will rot your teeth, this meat will cause cancer. It's ridiculous! The solution? Go with that motherly, gut instinct.
3. Nightlife isn't everything
Before we had Lily, Matt and I would often spend our evenings out enjoying music, drinking, eating, just generally enjoying the nightlife around us. Now, the idea of a great night is a few snacks in front of the TV in our PJs. If we want to push the boat out, we'll add some alcohol and games to it. When you're young, you think clubbing and drinking to oblivion aren't what it's all about. When you're a parent, you learn that it is about that time with those you value.
4. Silence isn't golden...it's suspicious
Pre-children, the silence was that beautiful thing at the end of the day where you could relax with a cup of tea and get rid of all that stress. Now, it is suspicious. A quiet house with a toddler usually means they are hidden away doing something they know they shouldn't be doing. It is something which now makes my hair stand on end, worried about what it could possibly be that Lily is up to!
5. Friendship: It's quality, not quantity
When you're a mum, you value that close bond with people. Growing up, I felt like I needed to have so many friends to invite to parties, shopping and more. Now, it's about having that select few group of people that I can actually talk to, who I value and probably, have children too. It's lovely to have someone to talk to who has been through it all with you. You'll find that a lot of your friends do disappear when you have a child purely through the shift in commitment for your life. Grow a small circle of close friends and you'll find yourself feeling a lot better about life.
6. You become a family balancing act
When you have a child, it sometimes feels like it isn't just your child, it's everyone's. This comes with the inevitable holiday tug of love where you need to decide how you get to see everyone. Your family and your partners will want to spend these precious moments with them, but you have to be balanced for both sides. In our experience, we tend to alternate holidays such as Christmas, spending each year with a different family. It's tough, sometimes people don;t like it, but you have to stick to your plans, be happy with your decision and try and be diplomatic.
7. The Flash shower
I have become a master of this! Pre-motherhood, I would spend a lovely 20 mins+ in the shower. I like to treat my hair like royalty to make sure it looked it's best. Now? The flash shower is my best friend. The art of fitting in this task while your child naps or is happy in contained, safe place for 5 mins is a skill only parents know how to execute perfectly.
8. You need a thick skin
You need to grow a pretty thick skin when you're a parent. You will encounter judgements relating to your parenting at every turn. There will always be someone waiting in the corner to drag you down over the slightest little thing. Don't let them, if you take it to heart, your morale and confidence as a parent will slip. I used to be really concerned about the things other (normally older) mums would say about my parenting choices. I would go home from baby groups deflated, questioning myself and I didn't need to. My decisions worked for me, theirs worked for them. Now leave it.
9. Money isn't everything
When we first had Lily, we barely made ends meet. It usually left me feeling jealous of the other mums who could afford to buy their babies nice, new toys and endless amounts of clothes. I felt like I was failing by not being able to buy her the best developmental toys to encourage this that and the other. It turns out I wasn't failing, Lily had love, was fed and clothed well and had a great family around her. Now that she's older and so am I, I now have money coming in meaning I can now do some of these things for her.
10. Have fun!
Parenting is bombarded with dos and don'ts. getting caught up in it all means you miss so much. Sit back and enjoy the small, precious moments because you can never get them back. Don't let it all pass you by because you're too busy sitting in the corner reading the latest theories on weaning and what milestones your child has or hasn't reached in time. It will all happen when they're ready so why not enjoy that journey with them!