I’ve been on baby boot camp with my daughter Lottie for three months, so I feel it’s time to assess how my life has changed since becoming a mum. Overall life is brilliant, and I couldn’t be happier. But it’s also worth noting that I was already a very happy person before Lottie’s arrival and of course not everything about having a baby is sunshine and roses. The easiest way to explain how I feel about motherhood’s ups and downs so far is to dot point the top ten and bottom ten changes I’ve experienced.
The best things
- Feeling like my heart will burst with love for Lottie, a love that amazingly seems to grow every day. (Sorry for the soppiness).
- Watching my husband and Lottie’s extended family and friends loving her like I do.
- Looking forward to getting to know Lottie’s personality as she grows into a toddler and soon a small person who can have conversations.
- Singing songs and reading books, learning how to entertain Lottie and surprisingly finding myself entertained too.
- Small clothes.
- Walks in the sun with Lottie in the pram or carrier.
- Catching a smile on camera or video. Ok, I admit it, I’m addicted to taking photos of my baby. I have hundreds of photos.
- Coffee and cake with friends and hanging out with my family more since I’m on leave from work.
- Sharing the baby boot camp experience with my sister and nephew who is 10 weeks older than Lottie. It’s lovely to have someone to text in the morning about Lottie’s night who finds trivial baby updates interesting.
- Cuddles. During feeds, before bed, first thing in the morning, after feeds, any and every time of the day I love Lottie cuddles.
The worst things
- Sleep deprivation and having to get out of a warm bed in the middle of the cold night to feed Lottie. Thankfully these occasions are becoming less frequent.
- Lottie’s emotional crying (tears). Particularly when I can’t do anything about it, such as in the car.
- Managing Lottie’s sleeps. The moments when I think she’s asleep and then I realise she’s not (sleep fail). Or when she is asleep and then for an inexplicable reason she wakes up and I know she won’t go back to sleep even though she’s not had enough sleep. Or when we’re out somewhere and Lottie is exhausted and losing it, but won’t go to sleep. You get the picture. Sleeps are hard.
- Physical exhaustion and sore back and neck from feeding, lifting, pushing pram, carrying, bending over, in and out of cot etc.
- The inconsistency and unpredictability of Lottie’s behaviour; just when I think things are getting more consistent and predictable, bam, things are all over the shop again.
- Worrying about Lottie for no other reason than just being worried. Finding silly things to worry about when there’s nothing to worry about. I think this just comes with the parent-territory.
- Lack of mental-stimulation and missing being around work colleagues and having challenges every day. Maternity leave can be very boring, particularly when Lottie is asleep.
- Baby-related chores such as washing, cleaning, managing all the bits and pieces that go with Lottie such as expressing milk, sterilizing bottles, nappy bag restocks, keeping on top of nappy supply etc.
- The end of spontaneity. Going out, even just to grab something from the shops, now requires careful planning and sometimes even a baby sitter. Outings also need to take into account sleeps. And all the bits and pieces that need to be packed up and taken with us; it sometimes feels like I have to pack up the house just to leave for a couple of hours.
- As much as I love the singing and the books, the repetition of the same songs and the same books can be mind-numbingly boring at times.
Looking back at the list of good things and bad things, it’s made me realise that the good things are all major happiness-inducing changes and the bad things are mostly small annoyances that are completely and utterly made up for by the good stuff. Motherhood clearly gets the big tick from me!