What are the things that no-one ever tells you about new motherhood?
Parenting doesn’t come an instruction manual, does it? If there was one handed out in the Bounty pack it would make negotiating the occasionally rocky roapmap of nightfeeds, hormones and emergency nappy changes a lot easier.
I looked at what no-one ever tells you about pregnancy and the third trimester. But what happens after you get home from hospital? You think you’re going to know, but the reality can be really different. So with the benefit of second-time hindsight, here’s the parenting advice I wish I’d been given first time round…the things that people don’t ever tell you:
No-one really knows what they’re doing: Some people just look like they do. But you’ll figure it out at some point, soon.
It gets easier: Everything seemed so logistically difficult at the start when I had my first baby. Will I have to do everything one-handed? How do I get the baby and the pram and three bags of shopping up two flights of stairs? Sleep, what’s that? How do I negotiate the bus and the train, and the station steps with a pram? What if I have to breastfeed in public? What happens if the baby cries in the supermarket…or I do? But once you’ve done these things, then done them a few times, it’s not so weird (and buttering toast is just about the only thing you can’t do while holding a baby). And second time round it’s a lot easier, again.
And you should just do whatever you can to make your life easier: Ignore the housework and get a cleaner. Buy loads of easy food (like the really nice ready meals from Cook). Accept all offers of help, especially ones that involve you getting a nap or lying on the sofa holding your baby all afternoon.
You won’t ever feel ‘normal’ again: There’s lots of talk, when you have a baby, of going back to normal. But here’s the thing; I’m not sure you ever really do, at least not in the same way you used to (especially when normal was work, play, hangovers and being frivolous in a fantastic way). But you’ll find your new mum normal, whatever that is. And this doesn’t mean you’ll never have fun. It’s just different.
One or more of the following will happen, probably: Your boobs will leak in public. You’ll answer the door to the postman with your nursing bra visibly undone. You’ll find yourself in a room with no recollection of what you went in for. You will get drunk on your first night out in months on approximately one and a half glasses of wine. You’ll look at your baby and your heart will explode out of your chest with joy, and this only gets stronger with time.
You’ll have bad days, but loads of good ones, too: Some days nothing will go right, your baby will cry, you will cry too. But some days you’ll get about five hours sleep in a row and you’ll feel on top of the world and look at this amazing little life you created and think ‘Yeah! We can do this.’
Baby sick is the new black: But baby wipes are the answer to most questions, and for everything else there’s always one and a half glasses of wine.