Lucy, also known as Learnermama is a great blogging friend of mine. Her tagline “Because Mother Nature didn’t leave a manual” really rings true with me, we’re all making it up as we go along.
Since Lucy wears the L plates with pride she’s on a bit of a mission to get others to too, and she’s got a linky going to share lessons that we have learned in motherhood. You can read all the contributions by clicking on Lucy’s nifty badge at the bottom of this post (as long as I have installed it right, fingers crossed!). It’s worth sifting through the posts already submitted, the lessons shared range from the practical to the obscure, with funny moments and bits that will make you a wipe a tear away.
Here’s what I have to contribute. I’ve been a mother for nearly 6 years now (eek, how the time has flown). On 10th September 2008 my life changed forever with the arrival of our first son. As the eldest of six kids I was fairly confident that I knew it all before I had embarked on motherhood. I’d changed so many nappies, rocked 2 or 3 younger siblings to sleep, I knew about Calpol and how to wind a baby. I was sorted. Then real life and my very own children stepped in and put me in my place. It seems my Mam had been hiding A LOT of the motherhood bits from me, just the bad bits. Luckily, (coincidentally?) when they hit us in the early weeks Mam was there to take shifts walking and rocking the baby so we could get some sleep, and some headspace.
There’s so much that the books, or people don’t tell you, titbits of information, tales of truth, lessons to learn. I try on the blog to be honest, it’s my little crusade, sharing my real life dinners, my true experience of breastfeeding, or the drama that unfolds as you put three small children to bed. So, to add to that here are some of the things that I have learned in motherhood
1. Less a lesson than a fact, but one of the most shocking things that I learned- buggies cost pretty much as much as cars. That’s probably why they call them “travel systems”, to justify the price. My husband and I were both genuinely shocked when we started looking at buggies. And all the bits don’t even come in the box- €15 for a cupholder? Come on! We didn’t buy a “car priced” buggy, but we do own as many buggies as we have children so I’m not sure what point we made. In our defence, the three buggies have different uses and there’s none of them gathering dust.
2. Do not, ever steam sterilise your son’s gumshield that he needs for GAA. Especially not just before training. I learned the hard way. Melty.
3. Newborn babies sleep better on top of people. There is no point in getting stressed if your tiny newborn can’t settle himself to sleep in his crib. Let him snooze on your shoulder and sit under him if you can. This will also give you a little quiet moment. In my experience, the time spent trying to transfer a tiny baby into the pram to nap during the day, only for the baby to wake screaming once their internal spirit level moves a fraction is completely wasted. Sit under the baby for a bit have your phone or the remote, or both close at hand and sit. Sit. Keeping sitting, you might even drop off yourself.
4. The bowl that you give your toddler will almost always be the wrong colour, even if it was the right colour yesterday. Or if they are all the same colour. It’s the wrong bowl. Always. Even if they are all identical, he knows that it’s the wrong one. Just get used to it.
5. Umbrellas are useless if you’re pushing a buggy. Get a good raincoat with a hood. (If you find a good raincoat with a hood let me know which one!)
6. No matter how much variety you feed your baby, one day they’ll claim that they only like dry white bread or plain pasta and refuse to eat anything else for days. It happens us all, don’t stress it, they’ll come through it. I hope.
7. A special offer is not always a special offer, especially where nappies are concerned. It pays to take out your phone and do the sums, or avoid the sums like I do and just buy them in Aldi where they’re always cheap.
8. You can remove playdoh from cord trousers by putting the trousers in the freezer. It works especially well if you forget about it and leave it in the freezer for a week. See, I learned this lesson from experience.
9. If you don’t have a spare set of clothes with you baby will poo everywhere. I could tell you a story about a baby wrapped in a blanket with no tights or vest doing the school run. In November. Poonami. The more spare sets of clothes you have the less likely it is that your baby will poo everywhere or your toddler will wet themselves. It’s a law of physics. Probably.
10. Every list of ten things needs a soppy ending and there’s so much to choose from when writing about motherhood. I could tell you about the protective streak it brings out, or about the joy of watching your little one learn a new thing, or maybe about there being no sound on earth as happy as a baby giggling uncontrollably, and none as sad as an inconsolable teething baba moaning with pain til the Calpol starts to work. Motherhood has brought me my highest highs and my lowest lows. It’s a true rollercoaster. There’s another thing that the highs and lows have taught me.
I’d always suspected it but motherhood has confirmed to me that hugs have magical properties. They cure everything from nightmares to sore knees, they chase away sadness and celebrate happiness. Hugs are the best. Give hugs, preferably lasting six seconds or longer. Receive hugs from your children and realise that they are in no doubt that you are the best mammy in the whole wide world and smile. They’re watching, and learning too.