Parenting: The Bits I Didn’t See Coming
I read the books, I lurked on the forums and I jotted down notes from the wise ones about never waking a baby, always swaddling and claims of cooled boiled water curing all ailments, I felt as prepared as I was going to, bar shadowing a pregnant woman.
Even I have limits in my organization skills though, so that was out. Here are some of the bits that caught me a bit blindsided:
1. Some Children Never Sleep Through
My first never slept through the entire night for a good few years. I grew to avoid people who had small children who asked me about his sleep who were smiling, and tended to gravitate towards those that looked a bit dazed by life. This was where I belonged, and found, and entire group of parents who struggle with nighttime sleeping.
And no, not the, ‘oh it's so hard when your baby sleeps in every morning,’ brigade. More of a, 'I got four hours last night and I fell into a coma', response. Always beware the question with the smile.
2. Feeling More Tired When the Baby did Actually Sleep
My daily mantra of, ‘he’ll sleep eventually,’ did in fact manifest itself. Three years on the planet and he finally managed to tire himself out enough to sleep through. And so did we, and we felt like we had been run over. Sleep deprivation is cumulative! Who knew?
3. Not Being Able To Feed My Baby Myself
This I found particularly hard as I just seemed to see pictures of really happy women breastfeeding everywhere. Turns out, it’s not easy, it’s so hard to the point that I genuinely wonder how humanity has survived as a species. After three weeks of struggling and a starving baby, I quit.
And it haunted me for a good year. Of course the logical side of me that argued that the most important thing was that the baby was being fed had completely disappeared in a haze of hormones and sleep deprivation, and just when I had needed it most.
4. The Big Knickers Stayed
As did the maternity leggings. I do own a few non elasticated items of clothing, but generally it's comfort over style. I did eventually bate my way back down to my pre-baby weight. Although, it did seem like the weight that I did have on had moved around a little.
Putting this down to imagination, I promptly formally acknowledged my achievement with a smile and a pause to admire my now slightly off-shape derriere, and put them back in the drawer and dug out the ratty, off-colour mat leggings with the holes. Better the devil you know. And at this stage, we were best buds.
5. Redefining 'Me Time'
Nowadays, 'me time' is a quick trip to the supermarket without the kids, and it's bliss. Gone are the days of spending days at the spa, now an interrupted wander around the home-ware section of a large supermarket has the same, if not a better calming effect.
The secondary benefits of multitasking also assist the euphoria of being able to browse in comfort rather than the firing of the first things that come to hand into the trolley. Seaweed spa? No thanks, I’ll take another spin around the veggie aisle.
What other parts of parenting were you not expecting to deal with?