There are so many tough things you face when you become a parent, so much of you life changes, nothing really is ever the same. Parenting is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, it’s the best thing that’s happened to me but also the toughest and most challenging. Being a first time mum you really don’t know what to expect, after all your baby doesn’t arrive with a manual.
There are quite a few things I’ve found hard whilst being a parent that I never expected. Things sometimes you don’t think about before you have a baby but change so quickly when baby is here.
For any parents who’s little one has suffered with colic, I hear you! Nobody tells you about colic before you have a baby, you don’t get a pre warning! We tried everything for Oscar when he had colic, we tried the drops, changed his milk and even bought a pillow that helps prevent colic. My poor little baby would scream for hours with this horrible colic pain, there was absolutely no chance of a bedtime routine, that went straight out the window. I remember he would suffer terrible with it of an evening, usually around 6-7pm and would cry for hours, completely unsettled and irritated. I took him to my gp because he would cry so much it would make him choke on his saliva and I was advised to just carry on using the drops, put him on his belly, use the pillow etc. Unfortunately theres was no quick fix for colic in our experience.
It wasn’t until after he was born I was aware of colic, and trust me, you know when your little one suffers with it. We found that the colic wedge really helped and drops worked the most, I thought they were quite pricy for what they were but they are worth their weight in gold!
As they say, you win some, you lose some. After having a baby you really do find out the true meaning of friendship. Some stay, some dissolve and unfortunately that’s the way it goes. Sometimes you don’t have time to text your friends every single day and they won’t have time to do the same. They may be at work most days and you are looking after your new bundle. It’s about balance with friendship and sometimes the balance gets lost and unfortunately so does the friendship. New friendships are made when you become a parent because you have a topic of conversation that relates to you both, you’re both parents and doesn’t everybody love talking about their kids and their own stories. Not all of your old friends will want to talk about your parenting experiences every time you see them and we must respect that, maybe talking about old times and future plans. I’m not saying avoid the topic completely but don’t make it the whole conversation.
You can be surrounded by all of your family and friends but still feel lonely. Parenting can be so isolating. Even if you don’t want the feeling there you just can’t shake it off. You see all of your friends going out, trips away and you just feel like you’re on your own. You can spend the whole day doing absolutely nothing productive and just crave that adult conversation that isn’t over a phone screen, you just feel completely isolated. You feel exhausted even though all you’ve done is rock, bounce, feed, water, change, entertain, clean and shush your baby to sleep. You look at yourself in the mirror and think how have I neglected my self so much, I got to a point where I hadn’t had my hair cut for 12 months, I didn’t wear make up or make an effort with myself because there was no point when I was just staying in the house all day doing ‘nothing’. Parenting can be so lonely.
People say it does get better, and being a parent is so rewarding and fulfilling. Remember to make time for yourself, remember you are still you. You won’t always feel like this is what I’m told and I’m looking forward to not feeling so lonely because it sucks. I’ve made use of my weekly calendar for next week and have organised to do something every day with Oscar to get us out the house. Play groups, park visits, swimming ad seeing family, I may be going on my own with Oscar but I’m hoping not to feel so isolated, not staying in the house every single day. The weekends are what I crave, when Lee finishes work Friday evening and I know we have 2 whole days to spend as a family and I don’t feel so lonely.
I am not a morning person, people used to say having a baby would change that. I didn’t, I still am not a morning person. Thankfully Oscar has passed the stage of night feeds now and is usually awake by 7.30am, which is still far too early for me, but it’s reasonable I guess. But those feeds will be the hardest, even if your a morning person being woke up at 3am by a screaming, hungry baby is not the most exciting wake up call. I always remember that feeling of relief once Oscar was fed, changed and burped and I could settle him back down. It was like a wave of relaxation and I drifted back off into my nice warm, cosy bed, only to be woke up again 2 hours later.
I’ve mentioned this a few times in my older posts, being judged and justifying your actions, it tiring and can be upsetting. The constant need to have to justify your choices of parenting, wether it be breast feeing, co-sleeping, baby led weaning, formula feeding, sleeping in their own bed or normal weaning. The choices that we make are what is best for us and our families and suit us. You shouldn’t have to justify your parenting styles and skills to anyone. Remember it’s your journey and you do what makes you happy and what suits you and your family.
I read an article a few weeks ago about how scientific evidence shows that a mum can survive on about 3 hours sleep a night. I call bullshit, I am not a mum who can survive on 3 hours sleep! When I don’t have a full nights sleep I am the crankiest woman alive, I don’t want to do anything the next day and sometimes I don’t even want to get out my pj’s or brush my hair. You can’t nap through the day because your little one only naps 2 times a day for about an hour each and whilst they sleep you’ve got a list of things to do. Then through the night you very rarely get a full nights sleep because your constantly over thinking and worrying before you go to sleep, then little one gets you up throughout the night and an early wake up call. I haven’t had a full decent nights sleep since mid pregnancy.
Going back to work? feel guilty, staying at home? feel guilty, staying in for the day? feel guilty, spending the day out? feel guilty. Check out my full post on ‘Mom Guilt‘.
A rollercoaster, you will never feel this amount of emotions in such a short period of time again. Some days you feel lost, you don’t know who you are anymore. You worry about the smallest of things, you stress over the littlest of things. The anxiety you face as a parent, since becoming a mum my anxiety levels have shot through the roof. I get anxiety in social situations, at home and pretty much anything to do with parenting. You fear so much as a parent, with how the world is today you just want to wrap your baby up in cotton wool and never let them go.
You have the hardest parts of parenting but you also have the fun-filled, heart warming parts of parenting. You have your good days and you have your bad days as a parent, you weren’t put on this earth to be perfect and I’m sure your little ones don’t expect you to be perfect. Through the hardest parts of parenting I know that I’m raising a happy, content, loved little boy who can grow up to be anything he wants to be. The mornings he wakes up with the biggest smile on his face, those long cuddles he gives, when he calls out for his ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ make those harder parts all worth while.
Thanks for reading my post, please take a look at my other post and feel free to share your comments and views.