I think it’s fair to say, motherhood was a complete and utter shock to my system. There were the things that I expected, the things that I knew, and the things that surprise me on a daily basis. And, if it were a pie graph, it would look a bit like this:
Every single day on this journey of parenting, I learn something knew. I am surprised at myself, I am surprised at my husband, and, I am surprised at my children.
Here are some of the many things that surprise me:
- Personal Space – I have none, and it really bothers me
I have always been a cuddly, touchy-feely person. I love a hug as much as the next lady. I have no trouble cuddling kids. But, there comes a time when I actually feel repulsed by the touch of my kids. It doesn’t happen often, normally after a long day or two together. Kids have zero personal space boundries. I never understood why my Mum hated having her face touched when we were kids, but I really get it now – some days I don’t want my face touched! And it’s not just the touching. When you have kids, you are never alone. Ever. It’s funny how excited I get when the opportunity arises to go to the toilet alone. No, I don’t want the flush pressed while I’m on the toilet. No, I don’t need my toilet paper taken out the door. No, I don’t want to read you a story. When, on the rare event that I am home alone, I don’t know what to do. I tend to wander around the house, touching random objects in one room then going on to the next room.
- How perceptive kids really are
Kids are amazing. Their minds are just so fantastic – an easy mistake to make when you have kids is to assume they are morons. Though they may behave that way sometimes, they are far from moronic. They really are like a sponge, they absorb everything. You don’t have to say something for kids to know how you feel – if you are upset or stressed, they tend to pick up on it pretty fast. Oh, and you can guarantee that Little Polly’s first loud, clear word will be that one single swear word you uttered when you thought she was too young to understand. True story.
- I can yell
I have never been a yelling person. I am loud, that’s for sure – I had pretty much no volume control as a kid (oh! That’s where my kids get it from!) and I can talk to a room full of people without a microphone. But, I am not a yeller. Sorry, that should say, I wasn’t a yeller. Now, let me just make this clear – I know that yelling is not the most effective parenting tool. I know that there are other ways to deal with situations and that yelling can make things worse. I also know that yelling, “DON’T WAKE THE BABY” is possibly more likely to wake the baby than anything else. And my other favourite, “DON’T YELL!”. Oh, I hear myself when I’m yelling and think, “Really? Again with the yelling?”. Yet, I still do it. Does it work? No. Does it feel good? A little bit. Should I stop? You betcha.
- I married a decent bloke
You pick a guy, you fall in love, rada rada, babies. But, you kind of have to trust that you’ve picked well. Sometimes we don’t – some guys are great boyfriends but douchey dads. I think I did alright. Mr T is a stand up guy, he’s a fantastic dad and he does the dishes. Is this surprising? Not that he has all those traits – I think the surprising part is that he does them so well.
- I will never look like I did when I was 25. Ever.
No one really tells you how babies change your body. I mean, you hear about baby weight but weight can be lost, right? No. I mean, yea – you can shed kilos. But my hips will always be curvier than they were, my boobs are just all over the show – I’m still breastfeeding BabyGirl, I’m a little concerned about what will happen when I stop. My tummy will always have the little overhang that comes from three pregnancies in three-and-a-half-years. And the stretch marks. Oh, the stretch marks. But, you know what? I’m ok with it. I look different, but that’s ok. No point trying to look like I did when I was 17. Which, I should say, was far more awesome than I ever realised at the time.
- It’s amazing how much you can do on little sleep. And it’s amazing how much I love my bed.
I used to be a shift worker, and I married one. So, lack of sleep is in the family. But, there is lack of sleep, and then there is a teething 6 month old who doesn’t sleep for five nights in a row. Yet, in the morning, you get on with it. Because you have to – taking a nap isn’t an option with toddlers unless they nap as well (which they don’t). But, when I finally go to bed, I go. Nothing feels better than writhing around in a freshly made bed, finally off your feet after a long day. And, I’m not talking writhing of the romantic kind, either. No siree Bob. Someone once suggested they take the kids for the night. I replied that Mr T and I would have a night of long, romantic .. sleep. Ah, bed, How I love thee.
- You have to make friends. And you have to ask people their names because you only know them as “Emily’s Mum”.
I love my friends. They are amazing. Whether it’s my best friend who lives in another country, or my group of SAHM friends who live around the corner, nothing is better than getting together, letting the kids run amok, and just relaxing. Or, talking online once the kids are asleep. They are like minded, they have the same issues and troubles, and they listen and understand. If you are a parent, get rid of those friends who drag you down, no one needs that in their life. Decent friends are like gold when you are a parent.
- All kids are, essentially, the same
Super frustrated with something your child is doing? You might be pleasantly surprised to know every other kid that age is doing it. I don’t like to compare kids, but really, they are the same. All kids throw tantrums. All kids talk back. All kids hit at some point, and bite.
- More than anything, I love my kids more than my heart can handle
I think this was the most surprising thing of all. Right from the moment I first held Princess in my arms, I was gone. Taken. Smitten. When I think about my kids, my heart aches. I didn’t know this kind of love was possible. I mean, I love my husband a lot. I love my bed. I really love M&Ms. But, my kids have a part of my heart all to themselves. They can drive me completely bonkers, they can drive me to tears, but take them away from me for a minute and I miss them like crazytown. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids, and that in itself surprised me the most. They are my life. They are me.
I could, of course, go on and on about things that surprise me. Like I said, I learn something new every day. And, I expect this will continue for ever. And that’s ok. I mean, parenting wouldn’t be quite so much fun if we knew what was coming next, right?!