Expectations

We promise ourselves during pregnancy that having a child won’t change us; we’ll still go out and have fun and we won’t turn into baby bores whose favourite topic of conversation is what colour poo we cleaned up this morning. We’ll still dress nicely, and we’ll maintain a clean and orderly home. Myself, I had visions of happily baking with my favourite Cath Kidston apron on, while my angelic child draws pretty pictures as we wait for Daddy to come home. Everything was so pristine and floral. Sigh.

In reality, my kitchen looks like it’s been burgled, my child is doing this:

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Why does she sleep in such bizarre positions?

and I’m hiding in the living room with a cup of coffee while I write this post. (Complete with scraped back hair and ‘cleaning’ clothes on. So incredibly glamorous is my life.)

I did have higher expectations, if I’m honest. Probably too high. As a first time mum, I had no idea what was waiting for me when that first pregnancy test came back positive. I really really wanted my life to be like something out of a gravy advert, where everything is clean and everyone’s smiling. I wanted to be the perfect housewife and mother, with the perfect child.

And I know, objectively, that I’m doing great. I’ve had a very difficult time with the labour, the hospital stay, and of course all the (still unresolved) reflux issues. I get out and about regularly with Rosie, when we go out we’re both well dressed and usually on time, I’m great at organising all her various medical needs and appointments, I cook a meal from scratch everyday, (well, most days) I’m losing the baby weight and I’ve even been able to sneak a bit of crafting in. So why don’t I see all of this?

I think it’s a mixture of my own expectations for myself, and the images we’re subject to via the media. I have impossibly high standards for myself, and when I struggle to reach them I feel like a failure. This is impounded by images in advertising which heavily feature slim, beautiful women with perfectly done hair in a clean, white environment with clean, cheerful babies. This is not reality.

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This could be me, right?

In reality, baby weight may take a while to lose. Your child will probably be sick on you, the floor, the settee, the cat . . . And your house is likely to be more Hoarders than Country Living.

And do you know what? It’s ok. It’s ok to not look like Claudia Schiffer three days after birth. It’s ok not to have a prisitine house. It’s ok not to have a perfectly content and cheerful baby all the time. It’s ok to cry sometimes. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, in fact it’s normal. It’s ok not to be perfect.

The truth is, if you’ve kept your baby alive, they’re well fed (whether it be breastmilk or formula!) relatively clean, and you’ve managed to not murder the damn cat, you’re doing fine. Really.

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We managed fed. We're working on clean.

We (ok, me) need to stop buying into the standards that the media, sometimes our families and most importantly ourselves set. We need to realise that there are far more important things than beating ourselves up about whether we have achieved a Martha Stewart level of baking, or whether we would qualify to feature in Cosmo as a shining example of post baby body snapping.

And I think once we understand that, life will be far simpler and more enjoyable. So let’s all just relax, scrap the expectations and enjoy our little ones while they can’t answer back. (I mean, are precious and
snuggly.)

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We're not perfect, but it's ok.

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A Day In The Life

I know this has been done before, but I wanted to share what a typical day in my life looks like.

6AM Woken by inconsiderate husband’s work alarm. Punch him and go back to sleep.

6.09AM Woken again by aforementioned alarm. Punch him harder and go back to sleep.

6.20AM Woken by husband demanding to know where his socks are. Tell him I’m not his bloody mother, and to look in the sock drawer. Go back to sleep.

7.15AM Woken by cats meowing and scratching the bedroom door. Ignore them and go back to sleep.

8.00AM Woken by Rosie testing out her vocal range. Blearily put dummy back in her mouth, and attempt to go back to sleep.

8.30AM Woken for the last time by Rosie singing a full blown opera. Put dummy back in her mouth, then dodge cats on the stairs as I go to make her feed.

8.45AM Try and wrestle Rosie into a clean nappy, then feed and wind her as she fights me like a pissed off rattlesnake.

9.30AM Rosie is fed and clean, and will happily amuse herself while I catch up on Facebook / check phone calender / make a plan for the day / mentally decide what to wear.

9.45AM Rosie is no longer content with examining her hands, and wants Mummy. Play with Rosie, sing songs, play body games and make faces at her, all the while being clawed by baby talons that I am too scared to cut.

10.15AM Rosie is starting to make the whining noise that means she wants sleep. Take her into her own room, put her in the cot. Dummy in, blankets up. Leave and close door.

10.17AM Get underwear on.

10.18AM Rosie is crying. Go back in. Put dummy in, blankets up. Leave and close door.

10.19AM Get jeans on.

10.20AM Rosie is crying. Go back in. Put dummy in, blankets up. Leave and close door.

10.22AM Rosie seems to have gone to sleep. Frantically get dressed, then run downstairs. Check post, tidy living room, feed cats, wash bottles, sterilise bottles, wash pots, clean kitchen sides, throw hoover round living room, sweep kitchen. Go back upstairs and quickly put make up on in so that people don’t ask me if I’m ill.

11.15AM She’s awake. Take her downstairs, sit her in the bumbo and feed her pre prepared puree. Have a coffee as I do this. Great, now I’m starving.

11.35AM Make some toast for me, change Rosie’s bum as it’s morning poo time. Foot gets in poo, foot manages to rub poo on opposite leg. Clean up all poo and then fail to get a nappy under her in time and she pees on the settee. Clean settee. Put Rosie in bouncer. Wash hands. Toast is cold and burnt, eat it anyway.

12.15PM Grab clothes for Rosie. Get everything together in changing bag, including at least one change of outfit for when she’s inevitably sick.

12.30PM Dress Rosie. She’s a contortionist with the vocal volume of a police siren.

12.45PM Wrap Rosie in a sling, head out of the door. Get halfway up the street before I realise I’ve forgotten something vital. Go back and get it. Now I’m late.

1.10PM Meet friend ten minutes late. Rosie asleep in sling. Go to cafe. Order a large cinnamon latte and a panini. This is going to be delicious. 

1.25PM Food arrives. Rosie wakes up. Start slow dancing round cafe holding dummy in her mouth while everyone looks at me.

1.30PM Rosie now making lots of noise. Food and coffee going cold. Friends baby is all quiet and content. Rosie is trying to communicate with Aliens. Wind her in desperation and she does a burp that sounds like a full grown man did it. Now she’s hungry.

1.35PM Feed Rosie still in the sling as I attempt to eat dinner and drink lukewarm coffee.

1.45PM Wind her in the sling. She’s sick when she burps and it goes down my top and in my bra. Attempt to clean us both.

1.50PM She settles and allows me to chat with friend, whose baby is still quiet and content.

2.10PM Leave cafe with friend and walk into town. Go to the Pound Shop and stock up on cheap bargains. Many people cooing over cute baby asleep in sling. Drunk or crazy woman outside pound shop tries to put hands on Rosie in the sling, touches my boob instead. Answer questions politely and then run away when she’s not looking.

2.45PM Browse some of the nicer shops and look at all the pretty things I can no longer afford because I decided to stay home and be vomited on, rather than earn a living in a respected profession.

3.00PM Rosie wakes. Now her teeth are hurting, and she’s shoving her hands in her mouth and cawing. Stop everything and rummage in overflowing changing bag for teething gel. Find teething gel. It’s not teething gel, it’s hand cream. Rummage again and find teething gel. Rosie screeching now. Get dirty look off old woman who has probably never seen a wrap before, and most likely thinks I’m torturing my child. Get teething gel on dummy and put it in mouth. Rosie sucks all gel off dummy, then spits it on the floor and sticks hands in mouth again. She’s quieter though now, so there’s that.

3.20PM Resume browsing.

3.23PM Rosie has decided she wants a dummy. Rummage in bag, find spare. Put dummy in mouth. Catch up to friend.

3.25PM Rosie spits dummy on floor. Pick it up and put it in bag. Friends baby is happily in sling, smiling at passers by. Rosie is attempting to claw her way out.

3.27PM Rosie wants dummy again. Brief internal battle about germs, then decide to wipe dummy with a baby wipe and give it to her. She goes to sleep, success!

3.40PM Say good bye to friend, and walk home. Creepy Turkish guy in the barbershop waves and smiles.

3.50PM Arrive home, and dismount Rosie. She wakes up the instant she’s out, and starts singing the song of her people.

4.00PM Feed, wind and change Rosie. Strip her clothes off because she’s got sick everywhere. Realise I’ve got sick on me too. Change top.

4.25PM Put Rosie in bouncer.

4.26PM Rosie doesn’t want to be in bouncer. Put her on settee with me and play with her.

5.00PM Rosie is content playing with her teether. Take a minute to myself, check Facebook, go to the toilet.

5.20PM Play with Rosie some more. Encourage her standing and her sitting. Marvel at how cute she is.

5.45PM Rosie starts getting more vocal again. Get puree out of freezer and defrost it.

5.50PM Put Rosie in bumbo ready for food. She is not impressed.

5.53PM Put Rosie in bouncer for food, as she has decided that the bumbo is clearly the work of the devil.

5.58PM Feed Rosie purees. She sneezes with a mouthful of it and sprays her, me, the cat and the bouncer with partially gummed blended pear.

6.25PM Clean Rosie up and give her her toys. She’s happy in bouncer. For now. We watch the Simpsons.

7.00PM She’s nodding off. Turn vibrate on, put dummy in and pull blankets up. She goes to sleep, success!

7.10PM Clear all crap off coffee table. Go into kitchen. Clean sides, feed cats, look in freezer, look in fridge, look in cupboard. Think about what to make for tea.

7.30PM Clean cat litter. Nearly fall down stairs with very full bag of used cat litter. Take it out to bins.

7.45PM Decide to do fish and chips for tea. Start chipping potatoes. Get oven on.

8.00PM Husband phones to say he’s on his way home.

8.20PM Husband arrives home. Threaten him with dismemberment if he wakes Rosie.

8.30PM Eat tea, very quietly, in the living room. Defend tea from marauding cats. Watch Criminal Minds.

9.00PM I get in bath. While I’m there, husband has to give Rosie her Lanzaprazole. This involves boiling 0.5L of water, waiting for it to cool, drawing up 15ML with a syringe, mixing it with one tablet, letting it dissolve, then drawing up 8.8ML in a syringe and very carefully getting her to swallow it while she sleeps.

9.30PM I get out of bath. Clean bath out, start running a fresh one. With towel wrapped round me I get two towels, a nappy, a baby grow, and coconut oil and lay them on our bed. Check bath.

9.40PM Husband fetches Rosie up. I get back in bath, husband fetches her in and puts her in with me. He runs downstairs and prepares a feed.

9.42PM Rosie enjoys bath.

9.50PM Rosie no longer enjoys bath. Starts screeching. Noise echoes off tiles and causes me to have industrial deafness. Husband ignores it, he’s watching the end of NCIS.

9.53PM Shout husband to come and get her. He comes begrudgingly.

9.58PM I follow Rosie and husband into bedroom. We get her nappy on, cover her in coconut oil and dress her with the speed of an F1 pit team. She hates the world and is screaming again.

10.05PM Husband gives Rosie her bottle. I cover myself in coconut oil as I’m now dryer than the Sahara.

10.30PM Rosie is fed and winded. Husband and I talk and play with her in our bed. She does her ‘smiles for Daddy’ trick and then tries to rip his chest hair out.

11.00PM Husband and Rosie both tired. I take Rosie, put her in her gro-bag in crib, blankets up by her face, dummy in, and turn lullaby/nightlight on. Husband can see to himself.

11.10PM Lullaby/nightlight has turned itself off. Rosie starts complaining. She’s spat dummy out and flapped about. Get out of bed. Put blankets up by her face, dummy in, and turn lullaby/nightlight on.

11.20PM Rosie asleep, husband asleep, me wide awake. Can’t sleep. Browse Facebook and the Internet. While browsing the Internet remember I have no idea whether I can freeze pureed banana.

11.30PM Still not sure if I can freeze pureed banana. Look up other puree recipes for weaning. Fall down Internet rabbit hole.

12.05AM Realise what time it is. Put phone down, try and sleep. Still not comfy.

12.50AM Finally, finally, go sleep, where I have nightmares about pureed banana and suitcases.

And that’s it. That’s a typical day. What does yours look like?