Today marks the end of my first month as a full time Mummy. The plan was that I'd take my boy to visit my parents and he'd have a lovely day. Instead it was chaotic, delayed and unfortunately he was also poorly and needed an unscheduled change of clothes and a wash at my Mum's house. By the time we got home I was convinced that I'd failed so spectacularly as a parent that it would be a blessing on the poor child for me to go back to work and let a professional look after him instead.
As therapy I've decided to reflect on the month I've had and share the things I've actually learned:
1. Hubbie feeding the boy before he goes to work and giving me a half hour in bed is what makes it possible for me to function without turning into a hideous Mummy Monster - without him I'm just a screeching, panic-stricken mass.
2. Taking my boy out to activities every day makes him happy and encourages me to talk to other adults. It's not like he can't play at home, but being in different play settings helps him try new skills and shows me how much he has learned.
3. It is very, very upsetting when other children hit my son, or take toys from him. I judge their parents for this and even though it probably isn't their fault I hold it against them.
4. Having a cup of tea at a playgroup is a treat. At home I make tea, put it down while I fold the washing and then remember the (by now cold) cup half an hour later.
5. My boy is a master at the art of distraction. If he has knocked over a table, while I am turning it back the right way he is off through the now open kitchen gate to get to the washing machine dial which he is forbidden from touching. This skill will prove invaluable later in life, I'm sure.
6. Always have a small make up bag with lipgloss and eyeliner in it. The number of times I've gone out with inappropriate footwear on is more than made up for by being able to put on a bit of glam before stepping out of the car / off the train.
7. Never leave the house without at least a piece of fruit. The number of times I've been delayed for some reason or other and had to deal with a grumpy infant (or even grumpier me) it's been solved by sharing an apple or banana in the car or waiting room - works every time.
8. I am not cut out to be a Mumpreneur (and don't get me started on how much I hate that word). Arts and crafts are hobbies not a job. Sometimes I bake, sew, knit, make cards, arrange flowers from the garden or even grow stuff in pots. I don't, however, have sufficient skill or interest to do it over and over for a living.
9. A bit of quiet time does none of us any harm. There are times in the day when the boy is playing quietly in the back room (yes it does happen, he does stop being a whirlygig at times) and the cat is napping in his basket and I stop and look at them both and start making a cuppa. I switch off the radio and the television and just look out of the window for a few minutes. Then it all starts again.
10. Make time to do something for yourself. Whether it's 20 minutes in the morning to do some Zumba, 15 minutes to have a shower and wash my hair (during his morning sleep) or an hour to drool over Alex O'Louglin in Hawaii Five-O (during his afternoon sleep) I have to do something I want to do every day. If I don't exercise I am properly loopy (and not a little grouchy).
So that's my top ten things that I've learned about being a Mummy to one very busy, funny, cheeky boy. I could have added that getting a child into a highchair / car seat / walker when he doesn't want to is a feat of superhuman strength with very little reward. I could have added that the meal is over when he decides to drop food or his water cup onto the floor followed by "Oh dear." I could have added that the minutes between me taking the boy upstairs and Hubbie arriving home to take over the bedtime routine are always punctuated by tears, throwing of toys and tantrums (which my son finds highly amusing to watch).
Instead I'll add that however hard a day at home with my son might be I remember how magical it felt when we found out we were having our much longed for baby. How I prayed every day for him to be born safe and happy. Most of all I remember how many of my friends would love to be able to stay at home and care for their children. Leering at Alex O'Loughlin is just a bonus :o)