Last year was amazing. I created life. I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt despite sleepless nights and the challenges motherhood presents. As 2019 loads, here’s what I’m hoping for…
Mum’s the word!
I want to be the best mum I can be. I’m fairly new to this gig but so far have managed to keep a tiny human alive and thriving. I want to continue in that quest to raise a healthy and happy boy.
Have a little patience…
It’s a thing that is in short supply when you’re a mother, especially a new one. You find yourself with a shorter fuse thanks to lack of or broken sleep, the never-ending list of tasks, the annoying habits of your hubby etc. I want to be more patient in 2019.
Smile darn ya, smile!
It’s the prettiest thing you own. I catch myself in a perma-frown most of the time. It feels good to smile, to laugh. I studiously avoid people’s gaze when I’m out and about, unless I have a full face of makeup. But, smiling is contagious. You’ll brighten up someone’s day by exchanging a smile and maybe even your own. That said, I definitely smile more now that Sonny is around.
Eat cleaner, drink greener.
Most of us will make a resolution to eat better and cut down on the booze. I want to eat better, not just for me but so I’m fit and healthy for my son. I also need to cut back on the adult grape juice, for my liver and clarity of mind.
Money’s too tight to mention.
We’re all chasing more money, for the opportunities it affords. I need to be better with my finances. I’ve never been frugal and yet somehow I’ve ended up marrying a financial advisor! I’m an impulsive creature and can’t resist online shopping for clothes and accessories. That has been dramatically curbed now I have a baby and now, I’m buying outfits and accessories for him. Oh, a lotto win would be nice.
Be more organised
Hands up – I’m not blessed with organisational skills. That’s not to say I can’t get my shit together when I need to. I’ve adapted to becoming a mother and the challenges that presents. What I’m really struggling with now is keeping up with the housework. I grimace when I see the tower of dirty laundry every morning. I groan at the constant dishes, constant sterilising Sonny’s bottles and eating apparatus. Damn, it’s hard. But I know I just need to figure out a system in my head and I’ll be fine… any tips would be welcome!
Feel the fear but do it anyway.
I think you become more fearless as you grow older. You care much less about what people think and become more comfortable with who you are. I want to chase my dreams this year. I’m feeling strong, happy and focused. This is going to be my year.
What are your hopes and dreams for 2019? Let me know in the comments below.
A very happy and prosperous New Year from Sonny and me.
I overheard an exhausted mother utter this while having my morning Americano in a local cafe while Sonny squirmed and floundered in his buggy. She was sat just across from me, unloading to a pregnant friend. Don’t judge me, I know ear-wigging is a bit naughty but I just couldn’t help myself. We’ve all done it, right? She lamented that she’d got the kids ready this morning while her husband scrolled through the news on his phone. This is normal, for her husband. Even though she was justified in complaining, she still tried to explain it away. She even said, “it’s routine, I’m used to it now.” I felt really sad for her and then I realised that this attitude still prevails in the 21st century.
A lot is expected of women, true. We’re traditionally the homemakers, the life givers, the child raisers, all the while in many cases, holding down a part-time or full-time job. Damn, it’s not easy. I’m on maternity leave with the clock counting down to my return to work. I’m adjusting to my new role as mother okay, I hope, but it’s a full-time job looking after a baby while keeping on top of the laundry, the dishes, the bottle cleaning, tidying, cleaning etc.
An average day goes like this:
- Get up and quick shower.
- Feed Sonny.
- Change nappy and get him dressed (sometimes several times if the poo train comes to town).
- Entertain/soothe Sonny.
- Attempt to do some writing.
- Change nappy.
- Try and put Sonny down for a nap. It’s hard to know whether he wants to play or sleep!
- Put on a wash.
- Fold and put away dry clothes
- Feed cat.
- Make lunch for hubby.
- Feed Sonny.
- Wash up dishes.
- General tidy.
- Put on another wash.
- Take Sonny for a walk/get fresh air before my head explodes.
- Supermarket for baby stuff.
- Wash and steralise bottles (several times throughout day).
- Entertain and or soothe Sonny.
- Do a bit of writing.
- Bath time (I might as well be getting a bath too).
- Get Sonny ready for bed.
- Feed Sonny.
- Ah shit, he’s not for sleeping.
- Prepare bottles for during the night/morning.
The above is subject to change obviously and some days are smoother than others. It depends on the boss. My beloved does help, of course. Maybe I feel that I should be doing the lion’s share because I’m not working… wait a minute. I can’t imagine juggling life once I return to work. Working mums are superhuman. Fact.
All said and done, motherhood is wildly rewarding. Sonny is getting more fun by the day. He’s mastering sitting up, rolling and babbling in the cutest way. It makes me turn to jelly. He bloody better not say “dada” first which it’s looking like more and more each day. I know I’ve it easier than a lot of mums out there. If you’re one of them or by some amazing coincidence the woman I overheard this morning (sorry!), slow down and take a breather – something’s gotta give or you’ll break. You’re doing amazing. More than that, you’re a wonder woman. I salute you.
I was in the shower earlier (ah the luxury!) and my hand lingered over my soft, still slightly protruding tummy as the suds dripped over it. I absentmindedly stroked it and then realised that I missed my bump. “Seriously?” I thought.
My pregnancy was straightforward, thankfully. I did find it tough towards the end. It was a hot summer and as much as I love the sun, it became a source of extreme discomfort. I went nine days overdue. Two sweeps and nature taking its course and I was in labour. It was hard. The pain was in my back the entire time. I was sobbing as my contractions began. That was nothing. I’ll not labour the point… heh, but it was bloody tough. I was completely unprepared for the pain, despite reading hypnobirthing books in the sun, when I could stand it. I thought I had a difficult labour. My midwife thought it was easy. I was affronted. After being in labour all night, I was told at 8am that I had about two hours of pushing to go. “Never again,” I thought. When my beautiful Sonny was born, I issued my husband with a stark warning. In the first few weeks, getting no sleep, I swore to myself, “never again”. Don’t get me wrong, I adore being a mum and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. But, could I seriously be getting broody for another one?! I think it’s the hormones. There’s no way we consider it at the moment. Plus, I’m nearing my forties. But, it’s crazy how you can do a complete 180°.
Becoming a mum changes you so drastically as a person. But it has made me a better one, at least I hope. I’m no longer preoccupied with my own internal dialogue. Sonny comes first. Always. I’ve found my purpose. I don’t know if I’ll have another baby. Time will tell. I thank my lucky stars I have Sonny. He’s enough, more than enough, he’s everything. Always.
I’m no adrenaline junkie. I’m the annoying one with a nervous disposition that is advised against going on high speed, boisterous rides at theme parks. I’m a self-diagnosed hypochondriac too, being anxious is part of my DNA. I guess you could say that it terrifies me to not be in control of my surroundings. That’s not to say I haven’t surprised myself. Giving birth is definitely my greatest physical achievement. Other than that, I’ve clung desperately to my much braver husband on a jet ski while he cruelly delighted in chasing wakes in San Diego. Against my better judgement, I’ve also paraglided, water-skied and floated in the salty sea in Spain (as a non-swimmer) and even went on a rollercoaster at Euro Disney. I had my eyes closed the entire time but at least I did it.
Like many other children, I loved ‘the amusements’ as they were so called in those halcyon days of childhood. I’d giddily jump from ride to ride with flushed cheeks, weak knees and a churning tummy. I threw up, of course, but that didn’t stop me. There were times I’d stagger of the ‘big’ rides and need to sit down, the colour drained from my face, and I’d have to wait until my heart stopped pounding and the world stopped spinning. This was all incredibly uncool, so I made a decision back then that fun fairs were probably not for me, not if I wanted to have any street cred at any rate.
However, at the weekend, I headed to Planet Fun with my husband, son and my brother, his wife and their little ones, one five months, one three and a half. I watched in awe as the older girl gleefully went from one ride to another with her dad. “Again!” she cried when she hopped off a ridiculously fast one, while her poor father was ashen-faced. As for me, I went on the Dodgems. For those three minutes, I felt like a child again and enjoyed the rush of simply just having fun. My adrenaline-junkie husband, who has jumped out of planes and bungee jumped decided to go on what could only be described as an instrument of torture. This monstrosity not only went upside down, but the car revolved manically whilst completing revolutions. Watching it was enough to make my insides churn. When he finally got off, my poor, green husband whispered, “that was not fun”. Will it stop him from getting on another terrifying ride in the future? Probably not.
In some ways, as you grow older, you feel less burdened by things that might have got to you a decade or two earlier. But in other ways, at least for me, you become more anxious about certain things. It’s good to know your limits, but like my little niece, it’s also brilliant to throw yourself at scary rides, and come out the other side, exhilarated and ready for more. In life, it’s OK to stick within your comfort zone, but it’s better to push yourself, go on the big scary ride. It might not be for you, but it will do your confidence the world of good. Adopt a child-like approach to life, feel the fear and do it anyway. I want my son to take chances, even if they don’t work out. It’s the things you don’t do in life that you regret the most.
I’m on the red-eye shift as I cradle my nine-week-old son with one arm as he sleepily gulps his warm milk, pausing at times to make appreciative sighs before hungrily going back for more. With his ravenous appetite sated (for at least two hours I hope), he melts back into my now aching arm, drifting off to a satisfied slumber. I gaze in a trance-like state at his pink, perfect face, happy that he’s content before realising that I need to burp him. I gently sit my squirming baby on my lap with his back as straight as he’ll allow and proceed to rub and pat until I hear the glorious sound of a burp. He grimaces and squeals, deeply irritated at not being allowed to remain asleep. But, he’s totally reliant on me to help him with his bodily functions until he’s old enough to burp and fart for himself.
Sonny was born on 18 June this year, nine days past my due date. Lazy, or taking after his laid back father, I’m not sure. Thankfully, I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. In fact, it didn’t feel real until my bump started to show at around six months. With this being my first pregnancy, I kept an open mind as to how my body might change. So, apart from a swelling tummy (and boobs), I was relatively unscathed from carrying a human being for 41 weeks. I had a water birth, as per my birthing plan and reluctantly stuck with gas and air despite repeated feverish pleadings for pain relief. Nothing can prepare you for childbirth, it’s really, really tough, but, it turns out, so am I. Furthermore, nothing can prepare you for the love, or the fear, or the indifference of other people who don’t have children. I say the latter because until I became a mother, I’d no clue of what being a mother entailed and how difficult it is (though my dear mother told me countless times as a pouting teenager).
When I was coming up for with the concept for this blog, I knew I wanted it to be inclusive of all women. I’m about womanhood, motherhood and parenthood. I fit into all those categories now. Up until I started trying for a baby, I didn’t consider myself maternal at all. Even now, I’m feeling my way through the dark as I juggle feeds, nappies (so much poo!), bath time, entertaining and comforting. I wouldn’t change it for the world of course. A very close friend and mum to a beautiful girl told me that the love you feel is like nothing else in the world. I’ve experienced love before of course, but the love you feel for your baby is so overwhelming, so ferocious, that you’d do literally anything for them. I’m a natural worrier and catastrophise constantly. There are so many dangers and you’re constantly bombarded with horror stories online. I remember taking Sonny out in his pram for the first time, I gripped the handle bar as tight as I could, imagining it somehow rolling away from me onto the path of an oncoming bus. Only recently have I started to breath normally and not in shallow gasps. I need to remember that all you can do is your best. Listen to your gut, only you know what’s best for your baby. That’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to advice, my mum is my first port of call for any niggles or worries I have (which are many!). As Baz Luhrman sagely put it, “Worrying is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.”
I hope you’ll join me on my journey through motherhood, as a woman and a mother. I’ll be writing about anything and everything, what terrifies me, what inspires me and what irritates me. I know there will be many ups and downs, but it’s how you handle the curve balls that life deals you that count.
There was a time when going away on holiday required me to plan my outfits in meticulous detail, pairing shoes and bags with jumpsuits and dresses was the biggest stressor. On a girl’s trip to Spain, I was almost charged for excess baggage – before the trip. Yes, as a woman, you have a lot of stuff. When you’re a mum, there’s a heck of a lot more stuff and none of it yours. Last week, our little family headed off to Ballycastle for a short break. Being organised is not an gift that comes easily to me. I have to work at it. So, naturally, I left packing for myself and Sonny until the morning of the trip, despite ridiculous ideas that we’d be set off ‘first thing’. Sigh. Aside from nappies, nappy sacks, bibs, soothers, steraliser, bottles, formula, there’s the outfits. At a tender three-months-of-age, Sonny has a better wardrobe than me. Cute dungarees, cardigans with ears (obviously) and dinosaur-emblazoned tops and trousers were packed, along with night suits, plus extras should he vomit or pee (or worse) during the night. As for me, my priority was my comfy Stan Smith’s, along with my favourite jeans – a reliable pair of boot- cut Levi’s and a few ‘dressy’ tops. Before Sonny, the thought of wearing trainers out to dinner was a major faux pas. Now, the thought of heels is frankly hilarious, why put yourself through it? It’s not to say I’ll never wear them again, obviously, I’ll dust off the Louboutin’s for a fancy shin dig, should I be invited to such an affair ever again. Another unthinkable thing is not having your hair done for going away. I haven’t had my unruly mane coloured in almost a year. In the last month, my ancient straighteners have given up the ghost and haven’t been replaced. These days, my hairstyle of choice is scraped back into a chignon, because it’s less boring than a bun, or if I can be bothered, a French plait. I’m not completely slumming it though, I did make an effort with my makeup. In my eyes, you can go from washed out to respectable with a good red lipstick.
While Sonny is still too little to properly engage with the world around him, he is certainly showing us glimpses of his sunny personality. It’s pretty intoxicating for your baby to squeal in delight when he sees you. Well that or the fact he was writhing on a sheepskin rug. The wee man is certainly taking after his parent when it comes to comfort!
Our holiday was lovely. As well as eating out, a fairly rare treat these days, we also took the ferry to Rathlin island. I’m not great on boats (not a surprise if you’ve read my previous post on theme parks) but I didn’t vomit despite the ferry being tossed about in pretty scary swells. I’m probably exaggerating but it wasn’t pleasant. Sonny, of course, slept through the entire 25-minute journey. However, on the way back, I have to say, I enjoyed it. My poor husband sat inside with the buggy while I sat on a seat, separated from the freezing Irish sea by a just a bar, squealing as the ferry rode the waves. OK, I had a glass of wine to calm my nerves, but I certainly surprised myself.
We made some special memories in Ballycastle. No longer are holidays about getting blocked. They are about making our little man smile as much as possible. My heart swells when I see my husband smile and blow raspberries at our son. Those are the things I’ll remember now, whereas pre-Sonny, most of the holiday would have been spent recovering from the night before.
I can’t wait for our next one…