It’s very easy to get caught up in all the negatives that come with parenting – the exhaustion, the financial challenges and the constant self doubt – but it is just as important to recognise the positive changes being the owner of a tiny human can bring.
In the last four years I’ve learnt quite a lot about myself that I didn’t know before I was a Mum.
I’ve learned that I’m a lot more patient than I thought I was. This has come in really useful over the last 6 months when my daughter learned the word “why” and during potty training. You have no choice but learn to take deep breaths, learn to accept the limitations of that moment and just wait. You can’t loose your temper and there isn’t any point in trying to reason with them so you’ve just gotta bite down and bear it.
I make so much better use of my own time as well now. I work 19 hours a week, the tiny human is in nursery 28 hours a week and I spend 5 hours a week travelling to and from work. This leaves me with 4 hours a week at my own disposal to either go for a run, write this blog, get some boring household chores done or watch TV with a cuppa. Four whole hours. I’ve been amazed at how much I can achieve in just these few hours and wish I’d learned to manage my time like this years ago!
I now have a very childish sense of humour. I find fart jokes hilarious, I think watching a preschooler eat jelly is the best form of slapstick comedy around and watching my daughter play imaginary games with her toys makes me laugh till I cry. It’s also fantastic hearing her say sit, can’t, ducks and sticks with her slight speech delay as all of them sound like mega swears. All the comedy without the actual fear of your child swearing – although frankly it’s a miracle it hasn’t happened yet.
As a parent you need to be able to find a silver lining. Yes today was rubbish and yes you’ve only had a few hours sleep but tomorrow could be better. Yes that was an enormous tantrum your little one had in the middle of a busy high street but you dealt with it and when you get home you can have a massive bar of tantrum as a reward for coping. Yes it is crap when the tiny human you took the time and effort to grow takes all their rage out on you but…..well actually that one is just crap and I recommend wine or chocolate as a reward.
Multitasking – I am now a multitasking genius. I can arrange a birthday party, a presentation and a house move all at the same time. Give me a family calendar and an excel spreadsheet and I can manage the world.
I now try to find the joy in most things. My daughter can’t hear music without having a little dance along, can’t see a feather without picking it up, can’t walk past a flower without trying to smell it or see a row of ants working without sitting down and watching them for a while. It’s a joy and an honour to be able to see her explore the world she lives in and I hope I never tire of it. It can be annoying if I’m in a hurry but even then she reminds me to stop rushing around all the time and take stock of a moment. If I could find the joy or get as excited as she does about some of the most mundane things I’d be the happiest person around.
The point is that it isn’t all bad. Yes it’s tough and being a mum has presented me with some of the biggest personal and professional challenges I’ve ever faced but I have faced them. I haven’t done it on my own and it’s taken a village but each day passes and each day I can find something new to smile about. Being a parent is so difficult but the rewards are enormous and even though life is very different to what it was 5 years ago I wouldn’t change a single thing.