Tuesday, 14 July 2015

She Is Only A Baby For Just A Little While..

'Cherish these night feeds, believe it or not, you'll miss them one day.'

Oh please, I used to think, by that stage I'll be catching up on every Zzzzz that I've missed out on.

Back in those days I would have done anything for more sleep. Anything.
Eva's relationship with sleep was a write off from the very beginning. Countless nights I stood in the landing crying down the phone to my mum with sheer exhaustion, and in true motherly style she reassured me that I was doing a fantastic job and told me of times she'd pace the floors with my older brother and I. 'Everybody does it' she assured me.
In these small hours I was utterly convinced  that I simply wasn't cut out for this parenting caper. I was always very aware that it wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but my God, I didn't expect it to be just as hard as it was at times. 
These were the moments that I just wanted to hug my own mum tight and apologise profusely for all the times that I was a bit of a twat. (The vast majority of my teenage years i'm sure she would have you believe)

Everyone else seemed to have it all sussed out. 

OK, when I say 'everyone' I mean all those mums and dad's on my Instagram/ Facebook feed with their spotless houses, with rooms that actually resembled living rooms and not a Mama's and Papa's outlet. Their smiley babies bathed and ready for bed ,not a colicky grimace in sight. I'd do laps of the local park and be so painfully aware that other new mums were getting on with their lives with their perfectly painted nails and not a pair of sweatpants in sight. Did they miss the memo that it's perfectly forgivable to look like a slob for the first few weeks? Was it me? did I miss the 'Get up and get on with it' one?
 I was constantly cancelling plans as I was simply too tired and struggling to get everything done around the house. The thought of going up to my mums for the afternoon was tempting (showers, clean towels, hot coffee) but there were days that I couldn't even muster the energy to throw together a bag to go and she would end up having to come down to me.
All the 'well meaning' comments and smug remarks that I shrugged off through pregnancy came back to slap me full whack in the face.
'Get all the sleep you can get now, you'll not know sleep once baby is here!'
'It's not labour you should be worrying about, it's raising a baby after, that's the hard part!'

There are of course things you leave out when people ask how you're finding motherhood.

'Yeah great, apart from the fact i've had the same washing spinning about in the machine for almost a week now i'm just adding more into it, I have absolutely no idea what time or day of the week it is and i'm near sure if I took down my hair my 'mum bun' would stay perfectly in tact at the top of my head due to the excessive amount of dry shampoo sprayed in it.

Over the months (without us really realising it) it has got so much easier.It is only when we look back through(thousands upon thousands) of pictures do we really laugh hard about the tough times, those awkward early months when we were like fish out of water. For example our first week of parenthood, when I dropped our dinner which had just made it out of the oven, all over the kitchen floor. It left me hysterical and weeping as much as I did the first time I watched Thomas J getting stung by bees in 'My Girl' (Two words: Heart. Wrenching

Aren't postnatal hormones an absolute treat?!

Or the nights we stood in the landing shouting all sorts at each other.  Sleep deprivation makes you ridiculously hypo-sensitive. Absolutely anything and pretty much everything can seem like a cut throat comment, a personal attack.

'You think you're a baby expert' I shouted at Stuart one night during a heated sleep debate.
I'm lucky I lived to retell this story as the man seen red. I have never seen him quite as angry, it was as though i'd just landed the news on him that I was in the process of packing my bags and running away,far into the sunset with one of his best friends, which is hilarious as any other time he would have taken such a throwaway comment on the chin and thought nothing more of it.

Of course we still have struggles, just different kinds... like trying to keep remote controls/hair brushes/shoes out of her mouth and chasing a nappy-less baby around the living room. Who needs a spin class, eh?! And we are aware there are plenty more  challenges ahead from potty training to the first time she cuts her knee.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I often question were the first few weeks  really even that hard or was it just the fact that it was all so foreign, so new to the both of us. There is no test you have to sit to earn the right to be a parent, no step by step manual handed to you at the hospital door- that would be far too easy, and where's the fun in that?!
All these little blips and hurdles are all part of this challenging, but amazing journey. One that isn't always perfect, one that definitely doesn't come with a pretty Instagram filter, but is pretty damn amazing all the same.

Nine months on and Eva is feeding herself, drinking her own bottles and I can't keep her still for a cuddle. I'm looking forward to what's ahead but at the same time I completely understand why people kept telling me to cherish the night feeds and embrace every single thing that comes along with motherhood. To enjoy our time together, even if it is at 3am. To laugh it off when she covers herself in banana just after a clothing change. To worry less about getting the dishes done ASAP, or the ironing, or the one hundred and one others things that need done around the house, and to give a little more of my time to her. Life is too short, the days go in too quick.. today's special moments are tomorrow's memories.                 

Hold her a little longer,
rock her a little more.
Tell her another story,
tell her a million more.
Let her sleep on your 
shoulder, cherish her 
every smile.
She is only a baby for 
just a little while.


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