Today I’ve stayed in all day; although I felt like going for a walk with the pram, the grey skies, fog and cold weren’t particularly encouraging me to go outside. As such, we’ve spent the day indoors, providing the opportunity to do some household chores.
It was as I put my sleeping baby down for a nap on the sofa that I thought “Yes! I can do some washing now!” and then I pondered “Wait, when did I get excited about doing laundry?” I began to think of some of the things that have changed since I became a Mum and that I perhaps took for granted before:
- Silly as it sounds, having a wee! When I’m half way through feeding the baby and suddenly feel like I need a wee, I know that if I stop feeding her she’ll get very upset and start screaming. As such, I wait until after I’m done feeding her – which can take quite a while sometimes. She’s at that age now where she looks around at everything and keeps getting distracted, but gets annoyed when her distraction ends and she suddenly realises the bottle is no longer in her mouth! She’s had some reflux issues and we usually stop several times for burps. All in all, it can be up to half an hour by the time I’ve finished feeding her – I used to take being able to go to the loo freely completely for granted!
- Sleep…looking after a baby is tiring! As well as that, I have other hobbies and household tasks that I do on a daily basis. So far, we’ve been extremely lucky as Autumn does sleep very well through the night (I hope I haven’t jinxed it now). I still appreciate my sleep more than I used to though, as I feel like I need it more and I never know when my luck might run out and she’ll stop sleeping so well! I also remember those early weeks when she barely slept at all when I’d be breastfeeding almost all night as she was cluster feeding – when I think back, I really realise how good I’ve got it.
- As I mentioned before, getting excited about doing laundry! With a baby, it always seems like there are always a million things that need to be washed. Vests that get pooped on, tops that get puked on…and that’s just my husband! (Just kidding!) But seriously, the amount of clothes and muslin cloths they get through is unreal, as well as trying to keep on top of your own laundry. Pretty much whenever she decides to sleep, I’m so pleased that I can get another washing machine load done!
- Shopping. Now, hear me out on this one. While I’m not always your typical girl in many ways, I do enjoy shopping for clothes, jewellery and makeup. However, when you’re shopping for a baby it’s just so much better somehow – like, I don’t even care that much if I really have any new clothes myself over the next few years as long as my little girl looks well dressed and super cute. There are so many lovely clothes for babies out there and the best (and worst!) thing is that you get to buy a whole new wardrobe for them every 3 months as they grow so fast!
- Hygiene! Before I had a baby, I used to bath or shower every day religiously. Sometimes twice. I’ve now got much better at managing time and sussing out what Autumn needs when, but in those first few weeks I was sometimes lucky if I got a shower in before my husband came home (or at all, some days!) and my hair washes went down from every other day to weekly (thank goodness for dry shampoo!) I’ve learned the art of quick showering now and am back to my previous hair washing routine and hygiene levels, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know!
- My body – while I fitted back into my pre-pregnancy size 6 jeans (size 2 if you’re in the US) within a couple of weeks of giving birth (yes, I know, everyone hates me!) my body has definitely changed. My waist and chest are thicker than they used to be, my boobs have changed shape and I have stretch marks, yet I now have more respect for my body and appreciate it much more than I ever used to. It has carried, birthed and fed a child – and that is amazing! The changes in my body tell my story and where Autumn’s story begun.
- Pain – I think this one is fairly self explanatory. Once you have gone through labour, any pain you feel on a scale of 0-10, 10 now being labour, is a lot lesser on your pain scale than it would have been previously. What was previously my highest level of pain (being stung by a weaver fish, which is apparently 100 times more painful than a wasp sting) has now dropped to a 9!
- Getting out of the house. I’ve always thought it’s annoying how for the majority of women, it so much longer to get out of the house than men. Hair washing and styling generally takes longer, there’s more to shave, outfits take longer consideration and then there’s make up. Our averages before I had Autumn were probably about 25 minutes to get ready for my husband and 2 hours for me! Now, I don’t always wear make up or as much make up (I had to give up in my earliest Mummy days as I simply didn’t have the time or energy, so I’ve got more comfortable with myself make up free). When I leave the house after getting ready and going through the cycle of nappies and bottles, changing the inevitable just-before-leaving-the-house poop or puke and wrestling Autumn into her coat it now feels like a huge achievement, make up on or not.
- Priorities have changed. The baby comes first whatever is going on. Phone calls, showers, blogging…any activity I may be doing gets ditched when she starts crying. Sometimes I miss just being able to do what I want to do when I want to do it, but what I have now is so much better! You can’t really be a control freak when you have a baby as you can’t control or plan when they’re going to start crying for milk or a nappy change. Oh, and just as soon as you think you have them sussed, they change!
- Having a hot meal! My husband and I generally have a hot meal alternate nights, one of us looking after Autumn and the other having the luxury of a hot meal then switching so the other looks after her and the other can eat a cold meal. Tonight I don’t have that luxury as Dave has gone out to a Chinese restaurant with work, so I had to look after her as I looked longingly over to my pizza in the kitchen which was getting cold. Then I decided I couldn’t wait and really needed to eat, so had to eat a cold pizza to the beautiful song of my child screaming next to me. Last week was my husband’s Dad’s birthday and we had a Chinese takeaway. Autumn slept through dinner and I cannot tell you just how wonderful it felt to eat a yummy hot meal with my husband and his family without disruption!
- I know it sounds cheesy, but I just feel so much more appreciative of life and of all the parents in my family before me. I appreciate how tiny and delicate, yet so strong babies are and how strong we are as women to carry them and give birth to them. I appreciate the miracle of life more. I also appreciate what my Mum has done for me much more, this parenting lark isn’t easy, but then I never expected it to be!
- Little things make me smile much more. The smile Autumn gives me when I say good morning to her and kiss her little head, the way she looks at me like I’m the most beautiful and amazing person in the world, the way she holds my finger as I feed her her bottle of milk, to mention a few. She’s changing so fast all the time and I’m so appreciative of every moment with her. I got so teary eyed putting away her newborn and 0-3 month clothes, feeling like she’s not my tiny little baby anymore. As I reminded myself, she is still small, she still needs her Mummy and will do for years to come! Last night, we achieved a new milestone – she rolled over the first time! I smiled so much and got so teary eyed, I was just so proud. The pre-Autumn me would probably have been in disbelief over just how excited I got. The first thing I did was take a picture of her with her milestone card, post it to my Facebook page and message all our closest family and relatives!
So, what has made you feel really proud of your child, perhaps bizarrely so? And what things have you noticed have changed since you’ve become a parent (good or bad?)