Little cub, big cot – my mixed emotions as Sonny moves into his own room…

When your baby is a bawling newborn, you long for the day when your blessed bundle will go into his or her own room. There are many schools of thought as to the ‘right time’ for this, if there is such a thing. As a new mum, I made the decision to stick to the recommended six months. But, inevitably, you’ll just do what works for you and your family. Your instinct will never lead you far wrong, I’ve found. But, as the time came for him to go into his room (which has been ready since before he was born), I came up a myriad of reasons to delay it. I’d gotten used to his soft, even breathing being the last thing I heard before drifting off. Seven months in and my husband said, “it’s time”. Of course, he was right – I don’t (never) usually admit to this.

I’d agonised over which baby monitor to get, one with video or just audio. Eventually, after looking at the options, I went with audio and I’m surprised by how incredibly sensitive it is. I can hear when he is rustling about in his sleep and I love that. Sonny going into his own room has totally changed our evenings. Before, we placed him in a Moses basket in our living room, bringing him up to our room when we retired, usually around 11pm. Now, I can eat dinner and watch TV with my hubby. I’m still thinking of our little one, but it feels right to have a little time to myself. Now, he’s in his bed for 7pm. I’m not quite sure how the heck I have managed this but he’s sleeping until 7am.

The first night, I put him in his snug sleeping bag and gently placed him in his adorable cot bed. He looked so small. Sonny however, seemed to like being able to starfish, (who doesn’t?!). He pulled his grey fluffy bunny to his face and sucked on his soother. I pressed the leg of Ewan the dream sheep, something I’ve done since we brought him home, and tip toed out of his room, leaving the door ajar. My mind raced, I couldn’t go to sleep, thinking of him, so tiny in his big bed. He couldn’t have cared less and actually slept like a baby (or my husband, to be precise). I did manage to sleep that night in short blocks as I got up to check in on him throughout the night. I’ve self-diagnosed myself with Nocturia, something which has me up at least three times in the night. Ironically, it’s something I’m grateful for now, as I’d be nervous of sleeping so deeply that I didn’t wake up at all. This way, I know my bladder will keep me alert.

I woke up the next morning, the baby monitor crackling with Sonny’s movements as he roused, unfurling slowly. Then comes the soft, sweet babbling, “da da da, ba ba ba”. I’ve noticed he only enunciates “ma ma ma” when he’s hungry, needs his nappy changed or is generally annoyed. Another joy of motherhood. I peel myself out of bed and pad softly into the nursery. He beams at me from a lying position in his cot, not able to pull himself up into the sitting position just yet. His plump skin is pink, his beautiful big eyes wide and bright, he grins at me with chubby arms stretched for me to lift him. I gently pull him out of his sleeping bag and scoop him up in my arms. I pull him close and he buries his gorgeous little head in my neck. I missed him. How can that even be possible? He’s still only a few feet from our bed.

I don’t know how I’ll cope when I return to work and he goes to nursery. The bond with your child is so incredibly strong. Still, motherhood is really hard, there’s no sugar coating it. In my late thirties, I don’t have the energy I once had. There are days that I feel pushed to my limits, frazzled, depleted, exhausted. But, I wouldn’t change a thing. Becoming a mum has been the making of me.

I know there will be many more milestones to come, and each will present their own difficulties. This week has been quite hard. He’s going through another developmental leap and he’s teething. He just wants to be held, which of course, I’m more than happy to do. This week has brought me back to when he was a newborn, depending on me so absolutely. Although I sleepwalked through those first few months, I adored holding him, skin to skin, on my chest. He’s a bit too big for that now, but as I’m climbing the stairs to put him down in his own room and he snuggles into me, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Oops… there goes gravity

I’m on my last few weeks of maternity leave and trying to get myself back in the mindset of Dolly Parton and the 9 to 5. Let me get one thing straight – maternity leave is no holiday. You are responsible for keeping a tiny human alive. It’s a bloody hard job. But, it’s a really rewarding one. I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone. Sonny will be be eight months and a bit when I return to the office, part-time. My heart is already breaking at the thought of leaving him to ease myself back into the working world. On the really rough days, you fantasise about having a day, or holy shit, a night to yourself. Me and hubby have had a few evenings off, but all you do is talk about your little human, wriggling and (probably) wailing at home in the care of your loved ones.

It’s a very personal decision for every woman whether or not to return to work. For me, at least, it is a financial necessity. But, it’s also a way for me to retain some aspect of me, the me before I had Sonny. I’ve drifted into journalism as a career path, but it will never make me a millionaire. While I love the freedom that money gives you, it’s never been my god. Certainly, as I grow older and become more comfortable in my skin, I know, the most important thing in your life is the people that are in it. As a good friend once said to me, “everything else is just stuff”.

Still, I have fire in my belly. I am ambitious and passionate and I know I’ve a lot to give this world. I’ve coasted a lot throughout my 20’s and 30’s and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just know that I’m more than a sum of my parts. I can be a great mum and a woman with a career. That’s important to me. I think it’s a lot down to my mother, who has always encouraged us to work hard, and follow our hearts. “The world is your oyster,” she has said again and again.

That all said, my heart is breaking at the thought of leaving Sonny to nursery. My little baby who is fast becoming a little boy. I treasure every second with you, my love, your cries, your sighs, your giggles, your snores. I adore you with everything that I am. I don’t want to miss a thing… and before I start sounding like an Aerosmith record, I’ll tear myself back from the brink, and know that what I’m doing is the right thing. It’s hard, bursting that perfectly imperfect bubble of motherhood, the lazy mornings where it’s just you and me, you pushing your tiny fingers into my face, staring into my eyes, giggling at me pulling silly faces.

Yes, it’s time to face the next chapter, where I return to work and you, Sonny, become a little boy. I am so, so proud of the beautiful, bright and funny little guy that you becoming, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life making you happy and helping you become a good man. To do that though, I also need to look after me. I’ll be a better mum if I am fulfilling my dreams, although, even I do nothing than be your mum, I’ve won the lottery a million times.

My sun, moon and star boy…