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:
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.
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.
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