I just opened up my blog to upload a new post whilst my toddler walked hand in hand with his dad, butt naked and having a tantrum as he walked to the bathroom for a bath. (My son, not his dad. Although it has been known.) Such a hard life right?! I found myself laughing at his journey towards bath time and realised that the screams, the terrible screams, can sometimes actually be bearable. A few years ago the sound of a baby screaming sent shivers down my spine (Don’t get me wrong, I have the odd moment where I still feel this way about my own son) and my teeth would clench until it was quiet again.
It’s hard to remember what life was like before Dexter. He consumes my life each and every day; even on the odd occasion where he’s not with me, he is without a doubt always on my mind. Wondering if he’s behaving, if he’s eating okay, if he’s sleeping soundly, if he’s missing me etc and I find myself unable to ever switch off. A few years ago I took time and a simpler life for granted and MY GOD WAS I A DRAMA QUEEN. Every day I find myself deleting ancient posts from my Timehop, hoping to erase them from my life all together because the cringe is real. The cringe is VERY REAL. Classic status’ like “Fed up with people bitching” and “LOL HANNAH IS SO FUNNY. FUCKING LOVE THIS GIRL XXXXXXXX” who the hell is Hannah? I didn’t know I ever had a friend called Hannah! But apparently I loved her once because Facebook and my 18 year old self tells me so. I quickly delete such a dispensable, unmellowed post and hope that other people can see that I’ve changed since then too.
I’m someone who barely sleeps, I forget to eat, I have wobbly bits now, I’m in a persistent (and sometimes repetitive) routine, I read stories, I sing nursery rhymes, I cannot stand quarrelling or drama llama, I don’t even know what make-up is anymore, I am a family woman and the rest. More importantly, I’m FUCKING SUPERWOMAN. By that I mean I’m a mum to a 16 month old and I’m willing to adapt and learn for the rest of my life. Wish me luck.
The biggest lesson I learnt was how much my parents loved me. They still love me now of course. But that love you have for someone you’re solely responsible for, a tiny little hobbit who is so innocent and pure, who I will indefinitely protect if my life depended on it. My partner was once the person I SHOULD have spent more time with, gone on more holidays, got drunk more often because now we are never alone. From the moment I said “I’m pregnant” he’s never been the same. Morning sickness? He was there and he played nurse (refused to wear the Ann Summers PVC costume but whatevs). When I worked long hours during pregnancy he would tell me to take a break, give me a foot rub and cook me dinner. Even when I was asleep I’d wake up to the idiot shooting up and shouting “DON’T FALL!” thinking I was falling out of bed. The day we had our baby, he was there with me. He kept me calm, he washed me, got me food, he gave me my first shower after the c section; and finally, to see him become a dad.
I don’t mean the baby pops out and BAM, YOU’RE A DAD, DUDE. I mean, working out how to bathe a newborn baby, changing that first nappy and getting shite all over the joint, seeing him resist sleep at the edge of the bed at 2am whilst doing a night feed. There are so many examples I could use but seeing the man you love go from being entirely yours to a dad was an astonishing journey, we had to learn to share each other and it naturally altered both of us as a couple. I’m not as insecure with myself either. I have more wobbly bits now than I ever have, I will never have the same body again and I pretty much always have circles around my eyes but a few years ago I was like an oompa loompa, layering myself in orange stuff that smelt like weetabix and covering my face in foundation to cover flaws that I didn’t really have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m working on losing weight and it’s working, I know I’m not a supermodel, I could sometimes make more effort (try to talk me out of my pj’s some days, not gonna happen) and yes I definitely go days without even brushing my hair but I look at myself now and see a mum who has pretty healthy skin since quitting the make up, thicker hair since I stopped frying and ironing it, my eyes are the colours of my sons and on my worst days I look beyond the reflection that stares back at me and see a mum who has been awake around-the-clock and still managed to survive another day. Who cares about vanity at that point? I commend anyone who can do all of those things (my neighbour has a toddler and her tan, hair and make up is sublime) as it’s not like I don’t have time for a five minute makeover but I’m happy just having a bare face, no bra and my awesome pink hair. A couple of years ago I would have probably told new mums to make time to look good… oh how I want to punch 22 year old Courtney in the face.
You will also probably go out in public with hair that you forget is too ugly to be seen but is SO convenient and comfortable when you have sticky fingers stroking you.
I’m very assured now, I used to be more confident when it came to physically LOOKING a certain way but I never really knew myself when it came to my personality. I’d dread meeting new people and I stuck to what I knew.
Now since having a baby I am more sure of myself as a person, and I enjoy meeting new people because motherhood IS isolating at times. Now I throw myself into situations where I embrace who I am pretty comfortably to meet new people or to do new things.
I also discovered a new found love for naps when I became a mum.
MONEY. Not going to bore you. It goes like this – you’re poorer. When you DO have spare money to treat yourself you come back home with a pair of leggings for yourself, two new toys, a bunch of baby clothes that were half price, some ‘just in case’ calpol and bloody christmas presents to store away until December for the kid. EVERY OCCASION NEEDS WELL IN ADVANCE PLANNING.
Repetitive days – I have seen all of the Toy Story films 71893983884527 times. These things are just normal things for me now, in fact I’m not even sure if this makes a good post or not. I feel like I’m me but a better version of me! Not a perfect person, not a perfect mum, but the best I can be. That’s all anyone can do, it’s as close to ‘perfect’ as any of us are going to get.
If you ever doubt yourself as a parent, take a look at the child you’re raising. I think you’re doing pretty damn well.