(Yes I did have to work that one out!)
The only relevance of the pics is that they were taken almost that entire time apart. I was winging it then and I’m winging it, albeit slightly more confidently, now!
I remember receiving my NCT newsletter, when my first born was tiny, and it referring to the supporting parents through the first 1000 days! A THOUSAND days! I thought back then that I’d have this parenting gig totally nailed by the time that had passed. Ha! But I’m getting there and with my beautiful nippers, every day throws up new challenges, things that make me laugh so much and thinks that make me want to scream into a pillow. Here are some of the key realisations I’ve had….
1. You forget EVERYTHING!
First up, in the 2ish years since hitting all the milestones with my eldest, I’ve managed to completely forget what happened first time round. Sounds crazy but you just get used to your kid as they are and then they change, plus I tend to look forwards, not backwards. Right now, my soon to be 15 month old daughter is in that awkward pre walking and talking stage and she is one frustrated little lady! All I remember from the first time is that I actually felt like life got easier when he started walking (despite everyone telling me it’d be a complete nightmare!)
I’d also forgotten about the teething, the accidental biting, the hiding of car keys and the emptying out of all unlocked drawers and cupboards. I’d forgotten that it’s like a full body workout trying to change the nappy of a wriggly and determined 1 year old and I’d also forgotten some seriously cute bits like when she plays peekaboo and puts her hands on her head. I’d forgotten what a giggling baby sounds like and how they look when they reach their arms up for a mummy cuddle. Totally understand why people keep having babies to be honest!
2. Kids should carry a health and safety warning.
The next thing I’ve learned is there’s a LOT of accidental hurting. No one tells you this, but kids are strong and fully capable of delivering a full on head butt by accident. One time I swear I thought my 2 year old son had actually broken my nose. He wasn’t even trying to hurt me, just threw his head back during a cuddle. They’ll clamber all over and think nothing of standing on my boobs (this is generally when I’m slouched in bed or on the sofa by the way!) which really REALLY hurts! On the flip side, of which there is ALWAYS one, they also give the best cuddles and kisses. My now 3 year old son tells me, he wants “all of the cuddles please, mummy!”
Any time, baby boy.
3. I’m better for it.
The main thing I’ve learnt is about myself though. I think, after working full time for 14 years before my first child, my self confidence took a bit of a nose dive when I returned after my first maternity leave. I’m not sure if it was the physical changes on my body or the fact I felt I’d lost a bit of my self identity. Either way I struggled like mad when I got back into the workplace and it wasn’t all that much easier the 2nd time around.
What I couldn’t grasp was that I’d gained so much more identity and become an even better version of me. I returned to work part time and got placed in a really unfulfilling job….not the one I’d left and not the one I’d applied to return to with a job share partner (and had this request accepted!) So someone more senior than my boss at the time thought we couldn’t do that role as a job share, and it’s taken 18 months of me accepting work that just isn’t fulfilling me because it’s part time, to realise that I’m worth more than that.
So I’m moving on….I found a new job externally and after impressing them at interview and explaining that whilst my priorities might have changed, my skills and capability have not, even managed to secure what was advertised as a full time role on 3 days. I realised that when I turn up to work in the morning, I’ve already got 2 small kids up, dressed and where they need to be, and I’ve still made it to work in one piece and on time. Sure, I’m not that polished anymore, my nails are never done, and my hair isn’t styled (it’s clean and brushed though) but I’m there.
I’ve become a better multitasker, calmer, more patient, organised, empathetic and understanding since having kids. The negotiations I have with my son just to use his potty would put Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations to shame some days and I’m far less inclined to stand for any bull sh*t, and yet people (myself included for a long time there!) fail to realise these are all important transferable skills. It’s a shame but it’s time to move on and I’m VERY excited.
A lot of this realisation dawning on me has come on the back of investing in an online Game Changers programme via the fabulous Helen of Guilty Mothers Club. If you’re a mum feeling a bit like I felt then I can’t recommend this highly enough…check it out at https://www.guiltymothersclub.co.uk/game-changers/ I’m only 6 weeks into the 12 week course too….how exciting!
*This comes with a disclaimer that I’m still learning and by no means get everything right, but I’m really starting to enjoy it and we’re all happy the majority of the time. That’s the main thing.