When I was pregnant I had one question that no one seemed to be able to answer without a good moan, sarcasm or a bitter response, ‘Do you really never have time to even shower?’
I remember discussing it at an NCT class with the fellow expecting mamas. Rolling our eyes and shaking our heads. We were glowing and we were totally naive.
When Michael and I agreed to have a baby, we took onboard the expected hardships of those early days with a little bambino. We were well aware of the changes to our day to day life that would inevitably happen when we had a baby. Yes, life changes, DUH! You’re responsible for another human – they can’t feed themselves, change themselves, bath themselves or even entertain themselves for years – you are their life, they are your life.
Regardless of that, motherhood exceeds all of my previous expectations. No amount of advice, sarcastic or not, could prepare me for the challenges of motherhood that lay ahead. Learning to cope and accept it has been as much a part of it as making sure our little darling survives.
I’ve got double to do, a baby stuck to me like velcro (even in the bathroom) and I require a hefty amount of energy. There are days when I’m like a drained battery, topping up with charge from coffee and digging deep for shreds of motivation.
Dealing with the day to day challenges took some time at the beginning. I’ve had to adjust my routine, prioritise daily tasks – that includes the shower, and I’ve learnt how to do ten things at once whilst having a baby attached to my hip. (I’m typing this with Arlo balancing on my lap.) It’s a juggling act and it requires some pretty extensive multitasking skills.
For some time before we conceived, at the age of 25, Michael and I weren’t big party animals. Long gone were the days spent in bed under the covers with blood shot eyes and ‘the fear’ from the previous night out, or waking up at 1pm just to slob on the sofa with a pizza.
Instead of tarting around bars in the moonlight, having forgetful banter with strangers and slowly fermenting our livers, we had a different agenda. We enjoyed each others company, stayed at home and headed out in the day for adventures. So having limitations on our curfew or booze intake hasn’t impacted me all that much. However I can imagine some of our friends crippled at the thought of it. Perhaps that’s where the cynicism and sarcasm comes from.
I find how we spend our time is down to how much sleep we’ve bagged. On a good day, which is most days, I do get to shower. I’m determined to make being a mama work for me and having a shower is near the top of the list, just behind wearing clean clothes and getting out the house. Getting the laundry done, cleaning the house and finishing off an old craft project, however, all depend on any extra naps Arlo takes or if Michael is home.
I’m the type person to swear by staying ‘me’ – I’m the cool mama that defies all expectations that are expected of motherhood – but being a mum welcomes a whole lot more to your life, personality and what makes you, you. It’s a multi talented extension on yourself. It’s not about changing into a different person, to become a mama you grow and it’s about accepting that.