I don’t think that anything can really prepare you for the realities of becoming a parent, you just have to go with the flow.
You can read books, watch films and talk to family and friends to try and get some first-hand experience. You can also arm yourself with knowledge and take all the tips and advice you can get your hands on, but at the end of the day, you don’t really know what it’s going to be like until you’ve got your baby in your arms.
Before becoming a Mum I thought that parenting was going to be easy. I thought that I’d know what to do, I thought that I’d always be listened to and I thought I’d be having long lazy lie-ins at the weekend while the kids played happily with their toys.
I thought everything would just work and fall into place, but actually, it doesn’t happen like that.
Don’t get me wrong, being a Mum is the most amazing thing in the world, but sometimes, it can also be more than just a little bit stressful!
Here are the top 5 things that surprised me the most about becoming a Mum:
Being responsible for ALL of the decisions
When you’re little, you just assume that your parents know everything. You watch them go about their day to day lives, doing exactly what they want and basically just winning at life.
When you become a parent yourself, however, you realise that it’s a very different story.
Being an adult is confusing enough at the best of times, but when you have a little one that looks to you for absolutely everything, it can get quite overwhelming.
One of the hardest things I’ve found about parenthood is that I’m suddenly the one that has to make all the decisions.
Being responsible for things like:
- Should I let them have another bit of cake?
- Should I let them stay up late again?
- Should I take them to the doctors about that splinter or should we just wait and see if it comes out? (true story)
- Should I let them go down the slide on their own yet?
- Should I move them to a toddler bed or should I keep them in a cot?
- Is the bath too hot, or too cold?
- Is the bedroom too hot, or too cold?
… is overwhelming sometimes, and honestly, the list just goes on and on.
You’ll find yourself weighing up the pros and cons of everything. You’ll also end up getting all of those ‘what if’ questions popping into your head at random times. Especially the, ‘What about if I make the wrong decision’ one – That one’s the worst!
My advice is to talk to other people if you need to. Family members or friends that have children are the best ones to talk to because they’ve no doubt asked themselves the same questions that you’re struggling with 100 times over.
How hard it is to say no
As if being responsible for making all the decisions isn’t bad enough, you now have to try and say no to a child that so desperately wants to do something that you don’t want them to do, and they just can’t understand why you won’t let them.
- No, you can’t eat ice cream for breakfast lunch and dinner
- No, you can’t climb on the dining room table
- No, you can’t have another toy when you already have 50 of the same thing sitting at home
- No, you can’t watch that super scary horror film that will give you nightmares
- No, we can’t go to the park in the monsoon going on outside
Some days it can feel like you’re constantly saying no, but until the children are old enough to make their own decisions, we have to look out for them.
I hate saying no to Cupar, but sometimes I just have to, and after all, a 20 minute tantrum is sometimes better than the alternative to saying no.
After you’ve spent the day making all the decisions and saying no on repeat, the Mum guilt always starts to creep in.
- What if I’ve made the wrong decision?
- What if I said no too hastily?
- What if I’m a bad Mum?
Mum guilt is one of those things that is left lingering long after the tantrums have finished. You just want this little person to be happy, and when they’re not, you feel like it’s all your fault.
If you’re suffering from Mum guilt at the end of the day, the best thing you can do is to think about it logically.
- Did they need that bag of sweets when we were out shopping? No
- Will they remember and still want that toy I didn’t buy? Probably not
- Did they care that I put them in front of the TV for half an hour while I had a sit down and a coffee because I was tired? Of course not
Mum guilt sucks, and it makes us question everything that we’re doing, but you know what? It shows that we care, and that’s the most important thing.
Lack of sleep
I don’t think you can truly know what it’s like to be tired until you have a newborn with colic! Colic is the absolute worst, and it’s one of those things that even your neighbours will suffer for.
Before I had Cupar I knew I’d have a lot of sleepless nights, but I honestly didn’t think it would be too bad. I’ve suffered from insomnia for years, so I thought I was used to it. The thing about colic though is that it’s relentless. It didn’t go on for too long, but while we were going through it, it was awful.
Me and Aeron had to take it in turns to sleep while the other one held Cupar because as soon as he was in his moses basket he’d cry. They were some very long nights and a lot of tears from all of us. But we got through it.
The lack of sleep, especially in those first few months, was so hard and I really wasn’t prepared for it all. Cupar still doesn’t sleep very well, but it’s so much more manageable than it was back then. Now when he wakes up, he just wants to play, which is a lot easier to deal with!
Honestly, who else would be able to get away with waking you up multiple times a night, throwing up all over you regularly, throwing toys at you and screaming their head off when you suggest doing something that they really don’t want to do?
Our children push us to our limits sometimes, but yet as Mums, we have this amazing ability to let it all go. Can you imagine what parenting would be like if we all held grudges?
A big part of Mum life is about having a lot of patience.
Every time one of our favourite glasses gets smashed, the wall gets drawn on or a glass of juice gets spilled all over the sofa, we just clean it up and carry on. Yes, we may put them in a time out for 5 minutes, but we don’t hold it against them, and that’s an amazing quality to have.
Unconditional love is an amazing feeling, and it’s one of the best things about being a parent.
After all of the day to day stresses of tantrums, lack of time and tiredness are out of the way, the feeling of sitting down together in the evening as a family, and just enjoying each others company is the best ♥
What has surprised you the most about becoming a parent? Is there anything you wish you’d known beforehand?
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