Being a Mum: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
I can’t believe that this Mother’s Day, I’m an actual Mum. Last year I was a bit sad as we had been trying to conceive and it felt as though it was never going to happen. Thankfully, this year I am writing this while Baby Roo sleeps next to me, looking precious and making my heart want to burst. Obviously it’s a bittersweet one, as it’s my first one as a Mum, but also my first without my own Mum. But today, I want to focus on my first 3.5 months of Mum’ing and what it’s really been like.
The unconditional love - I knew I’d love Ruben of course, but until he was born, I just didn’t know just how much. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. Even when things are tough and gross (and spoiler alert: they often are!) my love for him never wavers.
He’s so cute - No but really. I know I’m biased but he is just so bloody precious. He’ll do something like eat his own fist or fall asleep on my chest and I will want to sob and sob with how amazing he is.
Steven is the best Dad - It’s a truth universally known than men who are good with babies and/or animals are 1000x more attractive. Steven is incredible with Ruben, he just loves him so much, and when he is reading him a story or telling him how much he loves him, I just die with happiness.
Baby groups - I have loved all the baby groups we’ve been to. I think I get as much (if not more!) out of than Ruben does and we’ve made some really lovely friends who have been absolute godsends to message during the late night feeds for some reassurance. We do baby massage, sensory and a crafting group and I really enjoy them all.
Baths - I used to think my ideal bath involved several Lush products, a glass of wine, candles and my Kindle. Now, however, it is a few inches deep, lukewarm, with flashing toys and a small boy of my own creation. Steven and I fight over who gets to bathe with him as it’s just an absolute treat - I wonder how long he’ll let me get in the bath with him!
Smiles - It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, how stressed I am, whatever has happened before, when Roo smiles at me, I melt. It’s the best thing and I will never get bored. It’s like the most precious gift (although he smiles regularly at lamps, stationary vehicles and the postman, so I don’t feel too special).
Breastfeeding - This falls into every category, but here is the good. Breastfeeding is magical. I love that I grew a small human with my body and now I am sustaining him with it too - pretty well if I do say so myself as he’s a little chunk. It’s a lovely bonding experience and on a lazy note, I love that all I have to do is whip a tit out, rather than warm up a bottle.
It’s hard - You’ve heard people say it before, but honestly, it’s just so bloody hard. I expected it to be hard, of course. But the first few weeks were the hardest of my life. Even now when things have settled down (and baring in mind that he is a fantastic baby), it’s still hard.
Everything is a faff - When we used to just pop out somewhere for snacks, we now have to make sure the baby bag is packed, Roo is fed and changed, he is warm enough, we have to put him in the car (safely!) and when we get to Tesco, it’s another faff getting the pram out/tying the sling/finding a clean and dry baby trolley etc. Carrying bags while carrying a baby is hard, and keeping him occupied and happy can be difficult in public too.
Losing your identity - Who even am I? All my Insta content and blog posts are all about Ruben because I’m not sure what else I am about anymore. Am I a Mummy Blogger? Do I want to be? I’m trying to launch a new business in-between nappy changes and feeds, but ultimately I am Roo’s Mum before anything else. As much as I love that title, it can be hard to feel like you’re nothing else.
Anxiety - We know I’m an anxious person, that’s not something I have ever hidden, but having a baby has really ramped it up. I check his breathing constantly. I’m always looking for rashes, or Googling to check that something is normal and okay. On one hand, it frustrates me (and Steven!) But on the other, I know I am keeping him as safe as I can.
Exhaustion - Holy mackerel, it’s is proper exhausting. There’s the lack of sleep of course (and I never nap in the day anymore as he tends to only nap for short periods, or while in his buggy/the car so not ideal places for me to snooze!) but then the mental exhaustion too. Being ‘on’ and patient and cheerful all day can really take it out of you.
Strangers - Strangers are kinda the worst. Not all of them of course. Some are lovely and tell you your baby is cute and then walk off. Others will cough all over them with their smokers’ breath, while some will tut as soon as they see that you have DARED to bring a baby into the same space as them. These are the worst. I panic so much if Ruben so much as sneezes around other people in case they get annoyed at him. We don’t take him to fancy restaurants, but even in family-friendly pubs people seem to get cross.
Time - What did I do with all the time I had before becoming a Mum?! I swear I never have time to do anything at the moment! I’ve started freelance writing again recently (and you can too! Find out how here! </cheekyplug>) and the only time I have to do it is when Ruben is asleep at night. I haven’t filled out his baby books, done the photoshoots I was planning or even finished sorting the nursery. Also I have a pile of washing the size of Mount Everest… Where does the time go?!
Breastfeeding - The bad parts of breastfeeding include the pain/discomfort, feeling a little awkward in public and not really being able to share the load very easily. Also, my boobs are often like bowling balls, and not in a sexy way.
Feelings about your postpartum body - This is one I’ve really struggled with. Not so much how my new body looks, I can appreciate my stretch marks for the amazing job they’ve done, but more so how it fits in clothes. Finding things that look nice but aren’t too ‘mumsy’ (I’m a cool Mom, not a regular Mom) but also are breastfeeding friendly is HARD. I’m fed up of wearing leggings and baggy shirts everyday and it gets me down.
Other people’s opinions - Everyone knows what’s best for your baby. They’ll tell you that everything you do is wrong. These people can fuck the fuck off quite frankly.
Facebook parenting groups - In a similar vein, these groups are a dumpster fire. People will say things like “I know cot bumpers are dangerous but it’s my baby and my choice and I want her cot to look cute”, and “It’s more of a risk to baby to cut out smoking altogether when you’re pregnant actually, so I’m going to keep smoking a few a day.” I roll my eyes constantly, but I never reply because after all, no one wants to hear someone elses opinions on raising their own baby. (She said hypocritically)
Snot sucking - Being a Mum is gross AF. But also, if my baby is in pain or uncomfortable and there’s something I can do to help, you better believe I’m gonna. So if that means that once or twice (a day…) I have had to suck snot out of his little blocked nose with my mouth, then so be it.
Poosplosions - Dirty nappies don’t really bother me, but sometimes my precious boy sharts so hard that it goes everywhere. Up his back, through his vest, into my bellybutton (true story), and all you can do is throw away the clothes and climb in the bath (wearing your knickers in case any poo gives you a UTI).
Breastfeeding - Ah, the ugly. Sometimes my boobs are so wonky, it’s comical. They leak a lot and the milk is weirdly a little sticky. I have 2 cute BF bras and 2 comfy ones. Paired with my ENORMOUS knickers, I’ve never felt so sexy…!
Overall, I bloody love being a Mum. Especially to such an incredible little boy. I feel so lucky everyday, even when it’s hard, when I’m struggling with my body, my identity and my time, when my boobs are leaking, I’m covered in vomit and I’ve sucked bogeys out with my mouth, when strangers are offering tuts or unwanted opinions, or I’m so tired I think my eyes are going to fall out. I’m so lucky to be a Mummy.