The A-Z of Mothering

{Summarising my experiences through the medium of the alphabet}

A is for... Appreciation. Newfound. For each and every woman ever to have grown, birthed, and/or raised a child. I'm guilty of having been that career woman in my 20's, the one that assumed anyone that chose motherhood over work had taken the easier path. Idiotic. Motherhood is the most all consuming job in the world. It is a job that often comes without thanks, and always comes above any and all personal desires you may hold outside of the 'workplace.' I appreciate now how much emotional labour goes into it all, how tiring and how sacrificial it is. And I appreciate and admire every single woman that has done it, and that continues to do it, because we are absolute rockstars. 

B is for...  Baby classes. AKA half an hour of singing followed by mama's social time, often accompanied by cake and a cuppa. Our days revolved around this particular form of organised fun pre-lockdown. Take us back <3

C is for... Cuddles. The BEST CUDDLES IN THE WORLD, being more accurate. At first you just hold them, and that's amazing, of course. But then they get old enough to start cuddling back, and the oxytocin just ramps up right through the roof and back again. Ugh, there really is no better feeling. And no easier way to manipulate me.

D is for... (Amateur) dramatics. By which I mean, my baby now fake coughs and fake cries, because he knows it will get my attention, tricksy little monster that he is.

E is for... The end of an era. Which is really, truly is. Used to be spontaneous? Now you're ruled by nap times. Used to enjoy a late night? Get in bed by 9pm, silly, you'll be up at 5. Motherhood is the death of who you used to be, and the birth of a whole new woman. One that truly understands pain (labour, oof), sacrifice, and the meaning of life. No matter how good the last era was, this new one is better. I wouldn't go back (but I do spend a lot of time living vicariously through others on Instagram...)

F is for... Fear. Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of scarring him for life. Fear that everyone is judging. Fear of peeing when I sneeze. Fear that I'll never wake up naturally again.

G is for... Gratitude. Motherhood is hard. I think I more than covered that here. However, it is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be mum to such a tiny wonder. I LOVE YOU RORY ❤️

H is for... Help wanted. I am someone that likes to do things for themselves. I thrive on independence, and I can get a bit fidgety about others being involved in what I perceive to be my private matters. That includes a lot of situations that arise as a mother. However, I am fighting against my natural desire to hide away from the world and deal with the hard things alone, and to ask for help, and to be honest with myself and others about, well, everything really. It takes time to admit when I want help, I have to say, but I am getting there. I mean, it might take me a few weeks to wrap my head around accepting any kind of input when a new problem arises (sleep regressions, post natal depression, formula vs breastfeeding, I'm looking at you) but if you want to take my baby for an hour while I wash my hair then really, go ahead, take him for two, if you like! No really, don't let me stop you.

I is for... Identity crisis. Who am I? Who was I before this? Why can't I remember that person? Or what she liked, how she spent her time, what she spoke about before poo was the primary topic of conversation? Am I just a mum now? Is that a bad thing? Am I a bad mum for even thinking about this? Do we have any ice cream left in the freezer?

J is for... Judgment. My god, mum judgment is a whole new world of judgment. First of all, you judge all of your own choices, poor or otherwise, to the point of self loathing. Secondly, you can't do anything without someone having an opinion, and a lot of people are rather vocal about it. If you want to get glared at with such loathing that your brain starts to melt, bring up a topic such as sleep training or breastfeeding around the right person, and then sit back and be berated to the point of wondering whether you should have been allowed a child at all. But here's a tip... most of this shit happens on online forums. So quit the forums. People are much more accepting of your choices when they actually know you. And if you do encounter a rogue IRL bitch (like the one that implied my friend's baby was in the wrong for crying at playgroup. She was four months old), well, make mum friends, and they'll have your back. Always.

K is for... Kisses. Big, sloppy, open mouthed kisses planted all over my face with a loud AWWWWHHHRRRHHH sound. Gross, and yet, my favourite thing. ❤️

L is for... Labour. And how weird it is that logically I know, I KNOW, that it was awful. But my brain has done some oddball thing that makes me look back and think 'what a beautiful experience.' It wasn't beautiful. It was horrendous. Take off your rose tinted glasses please, brain, and stop trying to convince me to get pregnant again. I'm not ready. And I am easily swayed by your lies.

M is for... Mum friends. May you be them. May you have them. May you WhatsApp them every morning with the same message: how did you sleep?

N is for... The new normal. Because nothing will ever be the same again, and that is hard but it is also beautiful. Crying at absolutely everything that is even mildly sentimental is very new, for example. Literally everytime someone on TV so much as mentions a baby, I tear up. It's insane. Don't even get me started on any scene that involves a baby being born, and the parent's reaction to meeting them for the first time. Literally inconsolable.

O is for... Online forums. I spend so much time on parenting Facebook groups. They are toxic. And I can't look away.

P is for... Postnatal depression. I think Buzzfeed says it best, here. The occasional desire to run away is overwhelming and it is awful. But love is stronger. And so is Sertraline.

Q is for... Quiet time. Oh, my goodness. Is there anything better than a cup of tea in a silent room after a long day of parenting? I wouldn't believe you even if you said yes, honestly, because the aforementioned scenario is heavenly to me. I adore my child, I truly do, but sometimes a stolen 15 minutes of being totally alone is just what the doctor ordered.

R is for... Recovery. Before having a baby, I had no idea that the postpartum body has such a tough time in terms of recovery. I assumed the labour would be rough, and then badabingbadaboom, you have a bump to shrink and that is it. LOL. Oh goodness me, just LOL. Almost nine months into mum'ing and I still have a bad back from pushing out my wondrous grapefruit, who emerged in completely the wrong position, and has possibly left me permanently ruined.

S is for... Sacrifice. Your body > your time > your sanity > your sleep > your career > your hobbies > your food > your ability to talk about anything but your baby. All worth it. But sometimes I would like to be able to come up with a topic of conversation that isn't 'Rory didn't poo today, going to try him with some prunes.' Yeah, that would be nice. I'm sure I used to be interesting.

T is for... Topics of conversation. As I say, I can talk for hours about poo, sick and sleep patterns. Anything else kind of passes me by. It makes dinner party conversation a real struggle with non-parents. I found myself describing the colour of Rory's last three bowel movements to a good friend as he served appetisers a few months back. His face was a sight to behold.

U is for... Unconditional love. Even when he vomited into my eyes, I loved him. True story.

V is for... Points of view. My god, the amount of parenting philosophies out there is enough to fry the few brain cells you have left once baby is finally in bed. There's gentle parenting, parent-centric parenting, gender neutral parenting, traditional parenting, everything. The main thing to remember when choosing your side is that your child is your child, you do what's right for you. And their child is their child, so if it's not a dangerous approach, it's not your concern. Live and let live. Sleep and let sleep.

W is for... Warrior. Childbirth makes a warrior princess of us all. How men are seen as the superior beings, I don't know, because that s*** is real and it is carnal and it is so over the acceptable pain threshold it's not even funny. We are the heroes of this piece, so, pipe down fella's, you've had your time for too long.

X is for... X Factor auditions. Because X is hard to find a word for. And feel good TV is a must when you're knackered.

Y is for... Y me LOL. A question that whispers on the 4am wind as mother after mother stirs from her slumber, sticks a baby to her boob or a bottle, and prays it will go back to sleep. You miraculous, beautiful little creatures, killing us softly with that wail of a song. Y me LOL. Y me. ;)

Z is for... Zzzzz. There's a theme here. Can you tell we've just emerged from a regression?

And there you have it! The A-Z of motherhood, as I see it so far. I got a bit lost at the end there, due to the tail end of the alphabet being reserved for Scrabble geniuses, but you get my gist

TLDR; I am mother, hear me roar.

Stay sane x


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