December is an important month for me.
Lots has happened in the last month of the year.
I met my other half. Got engaged on Christmas Eve (present cop out or what?) and lastly, the most important life event of all, I became a Mum in December.
December 3rd to be precise. Should’ve been December 14th. Then it should’ve been December 9th. But it ended up being December 3rd. Like everything in my life my foray into parenthood was dramatic. It was planned almost to within the hour, but what’s that well known saying? Even the best laid plans go to waste. So now I don’t bother planning anything properly. Because life has a way of laughing in your face in a manic fashion. “Oh you think you’ve got it all planned out do you?” life would say if it had a voice (Bristolian, obviously). “Well fucking watch this you daft sod”. And boom! Just like that as Tommy Cooper declared. Your whole world spins on its arse and you’re left shell shocked.
Which, is quite fitting really, because there’s been many times over the last 5 years parenting has left me without the words. But today, as I celebrate (almost) 5 years of being a parent. 5 years of keeping an actual human being alive. I want to use words. I want to write about the greatest challenge of my life. A great challenge but the most incredible achievement. My absolute pride and joy.
But don’t worry. This isn’t another parenting blog. As I wrote over 3 years ago. I’ll never be a parent blogger for the very ironic reason that I find (the majority of) other people’s kids boring and other people’s parenting “journeys” a bit dull an’ all.
I know. The irony isn’t lost on me. Why can I expect you to be interested in mine?
Well, I can’t. But I’m going to write about it anyway.
It’s true what they say, you know. If you think life travels at the speed of light, just you wait until you welcome a child into your life. Jesus tonight Barry, in my head I’m still 26 but in actual fact I’m a 32 year old Mother of one. In my head, I’m still a size 8 loudmouth gobshite who doesn’t know how to tone it down on a night out and is like a really bad case of vaginal thrush (only one of those things is no longer the case – it doesn’t take a genius to work out which one!)
What an experience parenting is, eh? “You can’t plan for it” a wise woman once said (my Mother). And she’s right. You can read all the “expert” books. You can read all the parenting blogs (don’t). And you speak to all the other parents who will, without invitation, offer up their “words of wisdom”. But still, after you’ve done all that and more, you won’t be prepared for the years that follow.
Because I’m not.
The first year of being a Mother was without doubt the hardest year of my life to date. This is because of my severe Post Natal Depression and Anxiety. I was shell shocked. There is no other word for it. It took a breakdown a year after I gave birth for me to get better. And get better I did. Because the year that followed that breakdown will probably always be my favourite year of being a parent. I adored it.
Looking back over the last half a decade, I think, if I had to consider another challenging year it would be the one that has just passed.
Of course, every stage of parenting brings a new challenge. But I have found the transition from pre-school to full time education horrible.
There, I said it. I’ve hated it.
It’s not my son’s school I hate. On the whole I’ve actually been quite pleased with them. It’s how different everything is. And I make no secret of the fact I abhor change.
I think, looking back to the first few weeks of my son starting school, I was totally under prepared. Because my little boy had been going to pre-school since he was very young, I didn’t think it would be that different (I even work in education myself so have the benefit of understanding the system to a degree) but it is. It felt SO different. And I hated it.
It’s the outside influences that are stronger. My son will come home of an afternoon and come out with sayings or expressions that I don’t like and I know he’s picked it up from school. Of course, it’s down to me to ensure he doesn’t succumb to those influences, which is fine. But that doesn’t change how much of an eye opening experience it is.
In my head, he’s still my baby. He’s still that precious little dot that laughs at everything, looks at me with those big blue eyes of his with nothing but love and adoration and is innocent in all that he does. And of course, much of that is still the case (the majority of the time). But it doesn’t change the fact that now he goes to school, so much about him feels different. And I need to come to terms with that.
Being a Mum is so much more than I ever thought it would be. In so many ways. It’s tough. It’s beautiful. It’s stressful. It’s hilarious. It can even be sad at times. But it’s given me so many new skills (whilst highlighting there are so many skills I still don’t have and really need!)
Could I do it again? That’s another post for another day. I doth my proverbial cap to those parents who do it again. And again. And again. I don’t think I’m cut out for it. But what I do know is as my son continues to mature at the speed of light, I miss those baby days to the point I sometimes yearn for them.
So perhaps it’s a case of watch this space.
Who am I kidding? I like my 8 hours of sleep per night.