I’m not the Mum I used to be
At the time of writing this post, I’ve been a mother for 2 years and 7 months. Which feels like forever really but it’s only 7% of my total life.
I have two children – a 2.5 year old daughter and a 6 month old son.
I’ve wanted to be a Mum all of my life, I suppose you could call it my life’s goal, the only thing I really wanted to achieve and I feel so lucky to have been able to do it.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of pregnancy but I had two wonderful births (thank you, hypnobirthing) and I feel there is finally a place for my natural maternal instinct to meet its calling.
My first child was born 3 weeks early and I still wonder whether that was a bad thing, leaving me to feel unprepared and anxious or whether it was better to not have those additional weeks to spend frantically consulting Dr Google with potential early labour symptoms.
My daughter had decided to make a break for freedom early and her independence has only grown stronger ever since. She’s loving and funny and runs out ahead of us, diving headfirst into life and already becoming a strong-minded, sassy and beautiful little person.
After her birth the ‘new me’ began to emerge. Gone were the late nights, dancing on tables and having no-one (except the husband) to be accountable to. Gone was the silence and the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Or to just do nothing. For hours. If I wanted to, I didn’t have to do anything. Before kids.
In it’s place were sloppy baby kisses, coos and gurgles and cosy cuddles. Sometimes many times in the middle of the night if I was very lucky.
I found the newborn months quite difficult but as they passed I grew so much in confidence. I’ve always been sure of myself but I became even more assertive than ever. So focused on what I wanted, what I needed to do and how to raise my baby to the best of my ability.
I also developed a zero tolerance policy for idiots, time-wasters and bull-shitters. I have an inbuilt sensor that can spot them a mile off. I also have a stony glare to send them on their way if necessary.
My daughter slept through the night from a very early age and has never been a fussy eater. In fact she would eat anything put in front of her. She first went to daycare at 6 months old and has never cried once about going.
Her independence helped me to be strong and I didn’t cry at the daycare gate when I dropped her off for the very first time. I had my sad moments for the first few weeks, wondering if she was ok but seeing her happy face when I picked her up and sometimes the struggle we had to get her to leave showed us that she couldn’t have been happier.
I was working part-time and had lots of time to spend with her, bonding and enjoying her achieve every little milestone.
With my confidence at an all-time high I continued on with my motherhood mission and we decided to have a second baby.
Mother Nature played a cruel trick second time around by letting me go overdue with the risk of a potential induction. Did I mention I didn’t really like pregnancy? Well an overdue pregnancy isn’t the best fun. I was so grateful though for the chance to have another one.
Sure enough, along came baby #2, just before the induction date, and to our great surprise he was a boy! Unlike his big sister, this little man would have gladly stayed indoors forever and was on the verge of being coaxed out at the big event before finally showing his (very cute) face.
Second time around, pregnancy had been easier for me because I knew what to expect. So therefore, despite being a bit busier, being a Mum would be easier too. Wouldn’t it? Because I know what I’m doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still confident and my maternal instinct is still to be trusted implicitly but what I had not bargained for was how my second baby might be different. Different in such a way that even just after 6 short months, I’m already a very different mother to the one I was before he was born.
My son is much clingier than my daughter ever was. He loves to cuddle, he’ll sit on my lap for hours and be content just watching me smiling back at him.
Sometimes he loves to cuddle at 1am. And 3am. And sometimes at 5.00am too. He LOVES to cuddle.
This week both children started at a new daycare centre.
We dropped them off into their respective rooms and came back home where I had a lengthy To Do waiting for me. I was going to keep as busy and productive with work as possible so that their first day would go quickly.
I came home, sat on the sofa and cried. And cried. I cried on and off all day until in the end my husband went to collect them to bring them home early.
What happened to the mum who had it all together? Who was in control of her emotions and who ultimately had a plan of how motherhood was going to work out?
I almost felt annoyed at myself for not keeping it together. Because of course in the past I’d judged the ‘needy’ mums who couldn’t be parted with their children.
I’ve been thinking about how different I am now to when I had just one baby. I’m still confident, strong and decisive and don’t have the anxieties that I did as a first time mum. I do know what I’m doing and I’m confident to say so.
I’m also so much more emotional though. If I see a poorly child on TV, read a sad news story or hear about something awful that might have happened to a friend I’ll be in floods of tears. I’m no emotional wreck but I am moved emotionally by things that would have never affected me before.
My two babies are already so different and I’ve adapted to each of their needs to, I hope, become a better Mum than I was before. I’m not the Mum I used to be because that isn’t enough now.
Not only do I need to learn how to be a different Mum but I need to learn how to forgive myself for being different too. It doesn’t mean that I’m not as strong as I was before.
Daycare day 2 went much better. Just one small tearful outburst in the morning. From me, not them.
In 2 years and 7 months, motherhood has turned my life upside down and set me on a brand new course. Adding another child to the family has enhanced it even more so and shown me that as long as I’m open to growing and changing, my life with never be the same again. It will certainly never be boring.
I’m not the Mum I used to be. I’m not even the person I used to be. I just hope that I can continue to grow and keep striving to be a better Mum because I’ll only have this one chance.
How many of you got out the calculator to work out my age? :)