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Laura is back with another post. This time, she writes a refreshing, honest post on 8 things she’s learnt about herself since becoming a mother almost a year ago now.
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When Fiona first asked me if i’d like to write something for her blog, I was:
- flattered that she thought I’d have something worthwhile to say and
- apprehensive that I’d have to use my brain again.
You see, I have an 9 month old daughter and being a first-time mum still on maternity leave, I have been anxious that my brain was turning to mush. But armed with my, ever so slightly, mushed brain and 9 months of mothering under my belt, I set about trying to comprehend and then purvey what I have learned about myself since becoming a mother.
I’ve learnt lots of new skills that will be useful in other parts of my life
This first year of motherhood has been a crash-course in life and I’ve got more out of it than any work training course could have given me. I am now an expert in:
- time management – have we got time to fit in a nap and milk before getting out to the shops?
- planning and organisation – do I have all the required nappies, food, medicine, clothing, entertainment etc. for a 30 minute trip?
- prioritising – should I clean up the vomit, poo or wee first?
- problem-solving – if I put the baby in her jumperoo, I can put a load of washing on and keep her entertained and safe
- crisis management – heck, if I can deal with calming down a small person screaming at the top of their lungs for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time, then surely I can deal with a disgruntled client or two
- negotiation – if you hand me back my dribble-covered phone then i’ll swap it for a rice cake, and
- persuasive influencing – no honestly baby girl, you really do need a nap.
Not bad for my CV after all eh? *
*Although, I might leave off the bit about vomit…
I find the world a scarier place
I mean, I’m not silly. I knew that the world was a scary place before having a baby. But I didn’t realise quite how much this realisation would affect me once there was a little helpless person to protect.
My instincts to look after her and make sure that she is safe are much stronger and more animalistic than I could have imagined they would be.
I know there will come a time that she’ll need to go out into the world on her own, and that’s only right. But until then (and let’s face it, forever more) I will fiercely protect her as best as I can and hopefully give her the tools to protect herself too. Plus, I hope she’ll always know that we will be her safe place, if she needs it.
I can survive on a lot less sleep than I thought
I’m one of those people who loves to sleep.
My bed is my happy place and oh how I love a good nap. So I always thought that the sleeplessness that a new baby can bring would be tough. But when you have to do it, you just sort of adjust to a temporary new normal (oh please say it’s temporary).
In fairness I don’t have it too bad and still manage a sneaky nap now and again (my husband is the best) but I daren’t look back at my old fitbit stats for sleep pre-baby, 8-9 hours uninterrupted, what a treat!
I appreciate my own parents more
Being a parent myself really brings home just what they did for me and how much of a brilliant upbringing they gave me. Now I know how hard it must have been.
I also appreciate just how much they love me. It’s hard to comprehend until you’ve felt that love for your own child. Knowing that they have loved and hopefully still love me like that makes me feel wonderful. I didn’t really think about it before, but that safe place I was talking about earlier. Yep, I still have that feeling with them.
I’m amazed at how amazing I find her
I catch myself sometimes just staring at her tiny fingers and toes marvelling at how amazing this little person is, this little person that I helped create and grew inside me.
When she does something for the first time, I beam and laugh along with her, it’s such a privilege getting to watch her learn, discover and grow up and I try to remember just how lucky I am to do that.
Parenting is a rollercoaster of extreme emotions
This year has seen me go through my highest highs and probably my lowest lows.
I’ve experienced it all; joy, fear, love, responsibility, pain, patience, wonder, guilt (oh the guilt!). It sure is a rollercoaster. But I feel like the highs wouldn’t feel as high, without the lows for perspective. So buckle me in, I’m on this ride for good.
You can’t possibly take enough photos
We are lucky to live in an age where taking photos and videos is so very easy. So I urge you to take lots, when you can.
I love looking back at photos from when she was tiny and just knowing I have them there when and if I need them is often, enough. But there’s a couple of caveats here too;
- Save them for yourself. I have a Flickr account where I keep all of my thousands of photos, but only send a handful to family and friends and then even fewer on social media.
- Be in them occasionally. It’s so easy to forget to actually get in the photos from time to time. I once heard something that struck a chord with me on this subject, ‘one day these photos may be all that she has of you, so she won’t care if you didn’t have make-up on, or were only wearing pyjamas, she will care that you were there.’
- Don’t let taking photos get in the way of enjoying the moment. Sometimes you just need to soak it in and get involved. Besides, other people can always take the pictures sometimes!
I’m the same but I’m not the same
This first year of motherhood has broken me into tiny little pieces and I’m slowly having to rebuild who I am. In doing so, I’m realising that I’m the same, but I’m not the same.
She HAS changed me, and although that seemed scary before, it’s not now.
So thank you baby girl, for showing me a new side of myself. For teaching me what I’m capable of and for showing me how strong I can be. My heart is bigger and more full of love for knowing you.
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Laura lives in Bristol with her lovely husband and daughter. When she’s not with her family she can be found working in travel and tourism, dreaming about New Zealand, wishing she was eating a burger (or two!) and writing lists. A country girl at heart, she’s always happiest surrounded by nature and the open air, but she does enjoy a bit of culture too! She loves scarves, forests, cheese jokes and waving at boats.
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Parenting is always such a deep, personal journey I find. But it would always help me (and still does) to realise and remember that on the whole, we all share a lot of thoughts and feelings.
I definitely agree that taking photos, and being in the photos is so important. I’m also working on leaving my camera/phone at home at times, to ensure that I am really there in the moment with the kids, rather than taking photos all the time. A healthy balance of the two is what I’m aiming towards.
And although I always admired my parents, it wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I truly saw things through their perspective.
What did you learn in your first year of parenting? Do let us know in the comments below 🙂
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