Being a mum. What they don’t want you to know.

As I sat on the toilet this morning with Molly standing before me scowling, dibber dobbing to me about something Bella had said, and Buddy tearing one square of toilet paper and handing it to me….One. At. A. Time.

I realised that this is not something I ever imagined prior to kids.

As Violet then barged in and began demanding something to eat, I kind of sighed and tried to remember the last time I’d peed in silence.

I felt compelled to warn and inform mums to be of the wonders that children bring.

There are so many things we are not told, so many things that we should know.

A whole new world.

I wondered if I’d still have had children if I knew that every meal from the moment I’d give birth was to be shared or interrupted, or if every shower was to be a show of naked skin which is then judged and poked and specifically described from those who are closest to the regions in which are being detailed.

Maybe.

When I first had Bella, I remember sitting in the hospital room looking at her sleeping then glancing to the shower door…..”hmm…how am I going to do this? I want to have a shower but I can’t leave her alone….”

I ended up calling a nurse. “I don’t know how I’m going to have a shower.”

Suddenly everything I had ever done before was now a tiny bit harder.

The nurse said I could just wheel her carefully into the bathroom. Oh. Makes sense. So I did. I wheeled her into the bathroom where she slept while I showered. I did the same when I wanted to go to the toilet instead of holding on until a visitor came.

Breakfast was hard too. I was starving after giving birth and all I wanted to do was get stuck into my weetbix which were getting soggier and soggier by the minute. All Bella wanted to do was feed too. In the end my hunger sorted things out. I sat cross legged on the bed, one arm supporting Bella who was firmly attached to my boob, and I slowly….carefully….using only my finger tips to reach, dragged my tray closer and closer.

I ate with one hand, my left hand as my right was holding her….and yes, I may have dribbled milk and little ceral on my new babies head.

But…I ate…We worked it out.

I naively thought life would continue on the same as before. I could pop down to the shops for milk, I could go and hang out with friends, I could do everything I had always done except now I had a little extra person to bring a long. A cute and adorable baby which everyone would coo and go ga ga over.

A little baby angel that I would proudly show off.

Only Bella wasn’t the happy little baby angel I expected her to be. She’d whinge and whine and didn’t like going anywhere too far from my boobs. I spent the first 3 months of her life, lounge chair bound with cracked bleeding nipples.

Yes my whole world changed.

In the beginning I was frustrated, but soon learnt that I had to let go.

Rules had changed.

She was in charge.

I can gladly say I have come a long way from there. I now wonder why I felt like normal things like grocery shopping with one baby who couldn’t run off or touch every imaginable surface was difficult to now doing it with 5 who all can run and who all have very inquisitive hands.

My greatest advice to pre-mother’s would be

  1. Make sure you’re prepared to adapt. Go with the flow.
  2. Use common sense and be flexible. Don’t melt down because things didn’t go according to plan.
  3. Relax. Breathe. Let go of negative thinking.
  4. Listen to your own instincts, not the instincts of random ‘helpful’ grannies. Also chuck out all those parenting books! I read millions and not one of my children has turned out to be ‘one of the statistics’ or able to be placed in a general category. Wing it.
  5. Ask for help if you need it. It actually makes you look like a good, caring mother. Not the opposite!

So I never get to eat alone or pooh alone, shower alone or even go anywhere alone.

But do not let this turn you off. (And I know that those mums who are in the blissful height of pregnancy will be laughing at this and telling themselves while rubbing their lovely round bump…”I’ll never be turned off by any of those things! I can’t wait to meet you my baby!” Well….I hope that this post doesn’t haunt you later when all you want to do is pee. But you can’t. Because you have to make a sandwich for an inconsolable child. I suggest working on your pelvic floors now. Seriously. Do it.)

I woke yesterday to find my face stuck to a sheet of paper my 6 year-old had made for me. I woke, a little annoyed while peeling it from my face only to see the bigger picture and smile with a big heart warming ‘awww…’ She’d painted a lovely picture of her and I holding hands under the sun, surrounded with pretty flowers. Covered in glitter.

Which wasn’t dry.

…….Aaaaand majority of was on my cheek.

Nose…….

…..and a little way down my neck.

I did stand looking into my bathroom mirror trying to smear it off, along with the sleep from my eyes thinking “It’s pretty sweet to be a mum.”

It is a regular occurrence that I must pick up poop that has some how escaped a nappy from my floor, use a knife to scrape some kind of dried food stuffs from my tiles, or find that my towel has been used to wipe up some kind of breakfast spill in the kitchen. Usually when I’m using it to dry after a nice relaxing shower….I find I’m drying myself with mooshy weetbix, or it smells of cordial…..or ‘other’ things.

I guess I can thank them for at least returning it to its home on the towel rack.

I do sometimes tire of having to spend a good 10 minutes prior to going somewhere, and again and when leaving somewhere, just to buckle kids into car seats. I get tired of washing a million tiny garments each and every day.

I occasionally wish I didn’t have to cook. Every. Night. Of. My. Life.

Or clean up after every single meal.

I wish school holidays were shorter, because seriously I am not that fun and kids get bored…..so darn quickly.

I sometimes wonder why my kids like to relocate the entire contents of one room into another.

I sometimes wonder why my kids ask me to intervene in their arguing only to be best friends 5 seconds later, AND THEN all hating me because I was the one who put her conflict resolution skills into practice.

I wonder why they’re all so happy and quiet until I pick up the phone.

I don’t wonder any more as to why pre-toilet trained toddlers smear everything in pooh at least once. It is an initiation thing. Let it happen. Feel more of a mother for having to deal with it.

Most days I feel so blessed. 5 beautiful children so smiley and bouncy…floating around me like a little golden halo of joy. I can smile and frolic with them in a haze of magical child-like wonder….such amazing little creatures I’ve spawned.

And then on some other days I feel like a small and wounded sheep, all fleety, eyes huge and afraid, scared and shivering, being hunted down by a pack of ravenous wolves.

It’s not an exaggeration.

It’s true.

This too is an initiation thing.

Lasts a day or so. If they don’t break you, then congratulations.

You deserve it!

Children are wild. They are born that way. They’re like mini nuclear bombs, ready to go off when you least expect it and seriously the fall out can be great. Be strong mother, put on your gas mask….

….because gas is another thing that must be accepted in order to be a mum.

The hilarity of it never wears thin.

As mum’s we’re not told much, during pregnancy we’re all hugged and rubbed and patted and congratulated. Everyone is so excited for our impending joy and happiness, this usually ends with that very first sticky, tarry newborn pooh. Everyone kind of leaves us alone after that, to wade through it all and find our own feet.

It’s probably best that we aren’t told the bad stuff (so I apologise) I mean after all…..despite all the bad, being someone’s mum means we’re almost blind to all the bad.

There is that magical unconditional love that is only true with a child of our own that makes it all forgotten.

There is nothing sweeter than having your frustrations over having to wake for the 5th time in one night crushed by your babies very first smile as you approach their cot all cranky and annoyed like.

It just melts away.

Nothing sweeter than having vomit all over your face when your baby finally let’s all that wind go. You’re just glad they’re a little more comfortable, despite it dripping from your chin in a public restaurant.

You just can’t help but have your heart melted when they scrape their knee and you know for A FACT that you are the only one who can dry their tears simply by kissing things better.

The annoyance of having your little one climb into your bed when all you want to do is sleep peacefully is squashed when they reach for your hand and fall asleep holding it.

There are so many things we aren’t told.

But the things I guess we should be told is that no matter what, you’re going to love that slimy little newborn more than life itself.

Sure you’ll look back on photos in years to come and think things like ‘Heck, I thought you were the most adorable little thing, shoving you in people’s faces practically demanding they comment on your angelic-ness…only to now realise you sort of looked a little like a chimp….”

Sure they’re going to ask for food at inappropriate times in which you’ll say “not right now, you’ve just eaten.” Only to have onlookers glare at you as if you’re starving your child.

Sure they are going to repeat things they heard you say in a conversation to other adults and shame the hell out of you.

Sure you’ll occasionally give them horrible haircuts that make your daughters look a bit like…ok a lot like….. little boys….my bad.

But you’ll never not love them.

And….

They’ll never not love you.

And that is what mums need to know most.

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