I’m sitting on the couch nursing Bambino as my husband makes breakfast and my 3 year old sets the table with such eager joy. My heart is blessed to see Little Man’s helpfulness and his desire to learn and to make us proud. I love the feeling of being a family, all of us occupying the same space and relaxing and enjoying life together. Now to sit at the breakfast table to eat and enjoy with my family; one of my favourite things.
What I love about being a mommy today is seeing the expressions of joy and wonder on my child’s face as he discovers new things. While on vacation it doesn’t have to be elaborate plans, lengthy day trips or expensive excursions, give him a playground and new sights to see and watch him revel with newfound excitement.
There are plenty of things in parenthood that make you feel like you just jumped off into the deep end without floaties on your first day of swimming class. But then there are plenty of things for which people help prepare you. People give advice (even when not asked) from everything to the complete obvious to the ridiculously mundane. Here is my list of 5 simple discoveries people never told me before becoming a parent. Starting with the most obvious.
5. Your body will never be the same: For all you mommas who gave birth and are trying to get back to your pre baby shape, it may never happen. Hips shift, pelvic floor muscles weaken, and hormones change your skin and hair. For some, recovery may be painless and short while others go through countless hours of physio and training to feel their best. You may have a rockin’ body after all your hard work but you will still notice the little differences and the best thing to do is accept it. Hear that dads? You may have a little extra to hold at night, she may not be as flexible in the hips or maybe she needs to cross her legs while she sneezes, in any matter, be aware that these changes are common. Also be aware the she may be sensitive to these changes and it may not be the best idea to laugh or judge or refer her to professional psychiatric help. Thank you for also being accepting to the changes with us.
4. Weird sleep phenomenon: Yes people tell you about the sleepless nights and pacing the floor with crying babies, but when all of that has simmered a little, most people still never truly sleep the same. It’s like when you become a parent there is a switch that turns on which makes you in tune to every noise and bump in the night. As a parent, you become more assertive and aware of dangers that may come to your child. You are no longer living just for yourself but you are responsible for other living beings so dependent on you for everything. Sometimes this change in sleep will cause new phenomenon: talking in your sleep, weird actions when you are supposedly sound, tending to your child efficiently and safely and you return to your bed without remembering you have done it. For example, here’s a true life story of mine, while in the wee hours of the dark morning I ‘woke,’ stood on the bed to reach for a pink floating feather and after casting it off to the side of the bed, I went back to sleep. My husband had quite a laugh at my expense and still reminds me. Strangely enough, I remember doing it. It was like I was in a suspended state between consciousness and unconsciousness and I was aware of what I was doing. It was only after it was done that I realized that the pink feather did not exist. When Little Man was a baby and I was nursing him in the night I caught my husband burping his pillow. When I asked him what was going on he realized what he had been doing and sheepishly went back to sleep. Weird.
3. Circulate clothes and save money: Kids grow so fast that they literally grow out of things before they wear it out. Some children’s clothes can be expensive and you certainly don’t want to be buying a new wardrobe at every growth spurt. Befriend others with kids the same sex as your kids and start to circulate clothes. Hand-me-downs are a great way to save hundreds of dollars on clothes and to help out others as well. I have friends with boys a few sizes larger than Little Man who pass garbage bags full of clothes for him, then I pass it on to someone else and get most of it back along with a number of other articles for Bambino.
2. A personal secretary would be nice: I bet no one told you that one requirement in being a parent is to have a calendar to keep track of your newfound busy schedule. You will need to record everything from doctor’s appointments and birthday parties to first tooth and soccer practice. You now have to sync your regular schedule with a new one and work around business meetings and lunch breaks to align with your minis. Yes your business meeting is very important but if you miss the first 10 minutes of your little girl’s ballet recital she will notice. And here’s a little 2. (b) You may realize that since having kids you have a difficult job of being on time. It seems the diaper blow outs or ketchup stains on pants only happen when you are going through the door. You may need to start getting ready a little earlier and prepare yourself for the little mishaps which certainly happen when you don’t have time for them. I haven’t mastered the being on time bit…still working on it.
1. Your greeting card purchases has increased 10 fold: You have a child and all of a sudden you feel the need to back up the tractor trailer to Hallmark and clear them out. Okay, a bit drastic, but seriously it seems that as a parent there is a ridiculous amount of money going towards the purchase of cards. Pretty much all the money you saved on circulating your child’s wardrobe with other families is being used for a bit of paper and some sentimental words. Now you have children’s birthday parties, cards for Aunts and Uncle’s from their nieces and nephews, Father’s Day cards, Mother’s Day cards, one for every holiday, Valentines to pass out to friends, ‘Congrats’ on this and ‘Your first’ that, the list goes on and on. Between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we could potentially buy 20 cards which would cover both sets of parents, two grandmothers (the kids’ great grand- nans), myself and my husband and my brother and sister-in-law. I don’t buy 20 cards by the way. Usually I’ll stick on the boys names to our card to our parents or, if I’m lucky, find a card that states to Grandmother and Mom! That’s like, jackpot! Sometimes it’s better just to rely on the old fashioned phone call to wish them a happy day and save on the card, and in some cases, the postage. And you don’t have to be cheap, but you don’t have to be expensive either. The dollar stores have a variety of cards and some carry popular characters and brands. Wal-Mart and Shoppers stores even have dollar sections which makes card giving a little easier on the wallet. I think the best think to do is decide for which event/holiday or person you won’t give a card; maybe great-aunt Mabel twice removed don’t need a birthday card from the kiddos, and that’s fine. In any case, I’m sure Hallmark won’t be going out of business any time soon.
Wednesday, September 11th
I love that being a parent brings new social connections and a new circle of friends that you may not have had otherwise. You connect with other parents sharing what we have in common; our kids. May it be joys or misfortunes, it’s nice to know others go through similar situations and issues. We connect in Moms and Tots groups, Sunday School, birthday parties, children’s programs, even the playground and continue to build on the friendship through other interests and likes or dislikes. It’s awesome to have friends in the same stage of life and form friendships that will last a lifetime.
What I love about being a mommy is the feeling of being needed. Whether it be a bumped knee needing a healing kiss, a snuggle and a story at bedtime, or a dance around the kitchen to help my baby fall asleep, the overwhelming feeling of love from my little ones attributed to this enormous role of responsibility is amazing. I love hearing little voices calling out to “momma” even for the most petty of requests. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!