Thinking back on the first year of motherhood I often wonder… if I’d known, would it have been easier? Or less lonely? But I find myself not wanting to burst the bubbles of any of my friends. The anticipation of the first pregnancy is so special and exciting, no-one wants to be the person to take that away.
But maybe one day you’ll be going spare at a baby who is wide awake at 3am and you’ll think why did no-one warn me?! Maybe you’ll be in a maternity ward all alone after visiting hours have ended, your baby asleep in a perspex box, bruised and bloodied and stitched up and and reeling, and have a sudden lurching feeling that you jumped into this without looking too carefully. Maybe you’ll be home alone all week when the baby is sick and the rain is relentless and you’ll be desperate with boredom and loneliness. Maybe you’ll be back at work with kids in childcare constantly getting sick and you’ll wonder when will this ever let up, and you’ll feel a crushing weight of several years of your unmet needs as you start to fray further and further.
That’s when you’ll need to know that other people felt that too.
Oh hun. It can be so so hard.
Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job. It just is hard. You could be doing the best damn job anyone has ever done and you might still find yourself missing the life you had before kids.
It gets easier.
Most parenting advice is snake oil that tells you it’s hard because you’re doing it wrong. That’s not true. It’s hard because you’ve never raised a baby before, and it’s an intense time of life. Of course it’s hard. Trust in the parent you are becoming, trust in the children who you are pouring your love into.
And trust that there will come a day, when you wake up, and it will feel like your proper life.
Looking forward, it could feel far away, looking back it will feel short.
Today was the creche end of year family picnic. It was in a park we visited a lot when my older one was small. One of my first really good days was in that park. It was a sunny day, like today was, and my cheeky talkative big kid was only about eight months old. I took him down to the park to hang out. He had recently started trying to crawl, and that day I sat under a tree and watched him figure out crawling properly. He crawled away from me – twenty metres at least, and it was incredible. My baby could move. My baby could explore.
Today, he went on the epic flying fox by himself. He knows how to hold on tight with his hands and cross his feet at the ankles, he knows to wait at the end for someone to help him off.
Tonight, my younger one pointed at his cot and said “bed” when the milk started running dry, and then lay himself down as I left the room and went to sleep by himself.
This morning, both the children slept in their room past 6.30am.
Today my husband made a frittata with silverbeet from our garden and brought me dinner on the couch.
It’s been a long, hard, winter. Today really was the first day of summer.
There will come a day when you look around at your life and think, yes, this is one I can live in forever.