There is only so much information an expectant new Mum can take and only so much information you really want to know before you approach motherhood. Like anything I guess, until you’re in the thick of it you can never fully understand what something is like. Being a parent is no exception.
People will tell you but it’s truly not until your little bundle arrives in the world that you can feel it and appreciate it for yourself. The immense and overwhelming love that you instantly have for your child. The horrendous sleep deprived state that comes with nurturing a new born. The pride you feel when another milestone has been ticked off. And the sudden protective instinct you feel for your child and family. Life over the last year has certainly changed from the selfish privileged life of an athlete and I would not change a thing.
We have been blessed with a happy healthy child. We are extremely lucky and we are aware of the privilege it is to be a parent (even in the depths of the middle of the night). I’ve thought a lot about how being a Mum has changed me. Firstly, lets just say I had quite the sensitive nose growing up and wouldn’t even feed our family cat but it’s funny how the thought of spew and poo doesn’t really phase me anymore. Secondly, I’ve realised I can survive on less sleep than I thought (funny how you just cope when you have to). And thirdly, I’ve always been aware of how amazing my own mum is in raising my brothers and I but my appreciation has certainly deepened.
Here’s what else I’ve learnt over the last 365 days….
1. They only tell you so much, the rest is up to you to find out
It’s probably better you don’t know too much but its not as scary as people try and tell you. They will tell you the horror stories and yes they will poo, spew and piss on you but people are more likely to share the bad stuff than the incredibly amazing moments you will experience.
2. Time for you is critical for your sanity and survival
Exercise is my vehicle to sanity and as an athlete I spent a lot of time by myself training. To have a wee dependent person is something I found difficult to adjust to at first but came to love. At times this was bloody tough for me to handle. Everyone needs a break but there is no rest day as a parent. You need to schedule in time for your vices whatever they may be and yourself. Don’t feel guilty, just do it. You will be a better human for time for you.
3. Your child is more resilient that you think
Max has travelled extensively with us over the past year. We have tried our best for him to fit into our lives. I came to realise with a happy baby that it’s actually not so stressful on him but on you as the parent having logistically get everything sorted with a little one in tow. Yes it takes more effort but it is possible.
4. Take help when offered…your people want to help
It truly takes a village to raise a child and we have been incredibly lucky to have had amazing friends and family to help Max get to know the world. We simply could not have lived the way we have lived over the past year without the kindness of others. Take help and don’t be afraid to ask for help too. It’s brutal at times and you need the strength of others when you feel like you suck at life.
5. Look after your relationship not just your child
Undoubtedly when you’re under the pump changing nappies there is the potential for strain in your relationship. My husband and I were really aware of how we needed to look after us as well as Max. When you’re used to having a lot of time just you together and all of a sudden this little one arrives it adds a whole new dynamic to your marriage/relationship. Just as you need to schedule in time for yourself, you need to scheudle in time for your person. Look after your person not just your little person.
6. Appreciate every day…before you know it they’ll be 1 and you’ll be planning a party (not really for your child but for you!)
Put your phone down and be with your child. You will never get this magical time back and it will go super fast (again everyone tells you this but then you experience it and you’re like wow they were right!). Our children are our future (shot Whitney) and we must cherish the privilege it is to raise them.