Inappropriate: Thoughts from the first few months of parenthood

It’s a big week for us this week, because tomorrow we’ll be celebrating my eldest son Jack’s 10th birthday!

The day itself will end up becoming a birthday “festival” that stretches through until the weekend and will involve a sleep over with his best mate, copious amounts of cake and a Super Mario Bros chess set.

If you are 10 this is possibly the most awesome present ever

If you are 10 this is possibly the most awesome present ever

But amongst the presents and the excitement I will also be celebrating a small but significant milestone. The 27th February will also be my 10 Year Mumiversary – because it was on that days 10 years ago that I officially became a mother.

In that singular moment my whole life turned, completely and irrevocably. I still remember the feeling of vertigo as the possibilities of my new life opening up before me, while simultaneously the foundations of my old life fell away beneath my feet.

What I thought having a baby would be like

What I thought having a baby would be like

I was reminded of this feeling recently when I had a chat with a new Dad of my acquaintance. His little fella is 7 months old and after some polite enquiries about how things were going it quickly became apparent he was in “that place”.

And by that place I mean that sleep-deprived, mentally and physically exhausted place where you seriously question whether this reproducing thing was such a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s lots of awesome stuff in “that place”.

There’s joy, pride, wonder, and overwhelming love as you get to know the amazing little creature you’ve created. There are delicious baby cuddles, beaming gummy smiles and magical moments as they start to develop and discover the world.

But there’s also uncertainty. Different ideas about how things should be done. All you want is to do what’s “right” for your precious baby – if only someone could tell your poor addled brain exactly what that meant.

There’s less time, but suddenly 10 times more things that need to be done. Hobbies, individual interests and a social life don’t even get a look in.

There’s not much sex. Maybe not any sex.

And all this combined with a relentless, bonecrushing, forced-march-through-hell people like to call “sleep deprivation”. Such a civilised term – but as any new parent can tell you, extreme tiredness can turn you into a person you don’t even recognise.

And suddenly it feels like you might never have any fun ever again.

BABY IN BED

These feelings are somewhat acknowledged in parenting books and in the sympathetic grimaces of friends and family members who have been there before you.

They mean well. “Things will get better” they say or, “I’m sure he’ll sleep through the night soon”.

And you nod and smile and agree because you’ve been well brought up and it’s the right thing to do. Even if on the inside it feels like you’re being ripped apart by the sheer enormity of the change you’ve been through.

Oh yes indeed. I may not have been to “that place” for at least 4 years but it doesn’t take much for the memories to come flooding back.

What having a baby was really like

What having a baby was really like

It’s still hard to admit the less than rosy aspects of new parenthood.
The reactions you get can range from out and out horror to pity. But on the rare the occasions I found someone with whom I could be completely honest with about the shitty parts of having a baby, I remember the sheer relief of being able to admit that things weren’t sparkles and rainbows all the time.

So for anyone who’s ever struggled or felt bad becuase they weren’t ecstatic during every minute of their new motherhood experience I’ve put together a list of inappropriate thoughts that I had when I was in “that place”.

Then if you happen to agree with any of these you can nod, fist pump or holler “testify motherfucker!” in the privacy of your own home and know that someone has else has had them too. And the best part is that no jugdey-judgers will ever have to know!

Your welcome.

1. “I am so BORED”

Many aspects of having a new baby are exciting and magical. We’ve covered that.

But some aspects of having a new baby are decidedly NOT exciting or magical. They are in fact boring, dull, repetitive, monotonous or unfulfilling.

Endless changing – of nappies, the babies clothes, your clothes, sheets, blankets.
Endless feeding – breast or bottle doesn’t really matter, in this context as they can both be pretty boring.
Endless worrying, soothing, burping and trying to get them to sleep ANY TIME THIS SIDE OF NEXT CENTURY.

It’s just endless really!

2. “I feel like every one in the whole world is having fun while I’ve been wearing the same vomity shirt for theb last 3 days”

The fairly average lives of your friends and family without children suddenly take on the sparkly lustre of an episode of “Revenge”.

Everyone is so much better dressed. Their hair is brushed. They go to parties, see foreign films and have stimulating conversations about politics over cups of single-origin espresso in laneway bars.

There is surprisingly little vomit and the only poo they have to deal with is their own.

Not much you can do about this one except to allow yourself to acknowledge that you miss that part of your life. It doesn’t mean you don’t want the life you’ve got – it’s just part of processing the massie change you’ve just been through.

3. “I am so sick of having the same conversation with every stranger at the shopping centre”
It got to the point where I just wanted to hang a sign around my neck with the folowing information on it

Sign

I have no idea how parents of multiple births manage – I imagine everyone asks all the above info and then tacks on “Were they IVF?” and “Do twins run in the family?”.

4. “Please don’t give advice as a punch in the mouth often offends”

Your Mum does it. And your Mother-in-law. Your aunty, a couple of your friends and the old lady in Woolies. Even the random guy in the newsagent has a crack at it too.

Advice is everywhere – some of it great, some of it awful, and some of it just plain nuts. You know that most of them mean well (especially female relatives) but sometimes you’d just like them the STFU so you can THINK! This is all about confidence and learning to trust your own judgement.

Like Rachel Hunter used to say in the old Pantene shampoo ads “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen”.

And I guess I’m proof of that because despite all my those inappropriate thoughts Jack and I have made it to the 10 year milestone.

So happy birthday to my lovely big boy. It’s a proud moment for both of us! ❀

Jack 4 months old. This photo was taken at about 5.30 am and we had already been up for an hour by that time!

Jack 4 months old. This photo was taken at about 5.30 am and we had already been up for an hour by that time!

Jack now, growing like gangbusters and eating us out of house and home :)

Jack now, growing like gangbusters and eating us out of house and home πŸ™‚

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47 comments on “Inappropriate: Thoughts from the first few months of parenthood

  1. Yes, Yes, YES!!!! I need that sign.

  2. lyndal says:

    i totally think there is a market for those signs… just sayin πŸ™‚

    #teamIBOT

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Lyndall! I would definitely have bought one when my lot were at that stage πŸ™‚ It wouldn’t have helped but it might have made me feel better.

  3. Ah yes, indeedy. I also celebrate my birth as a Mum, I’ll be 16 in 2 weeks. Amazing. Have always been open about the down sides of parenting- got to keep it real… lots of it was crap. Less now thank goodness. In fact, finally getting into the swing of it! Good to meet you via Jess.

    • Rachel says:

      Good to meet you too Seana! Thanks for visiting. Wow a 16 year mum annivaersary – that is impressive. And I agree that being honest about the crappy parts is absolutely essential to staying sane through those times too. It certainly helped me.

  4. Congratulations on ‘making it’! Going to meet up with a friend with a 6-month old bub this week, and I think he’s still in shock, poor guy. I will have NO advice for him, except to tell him the quickest and easiest way to shut those well-meaning fuckers DOWN. And to help him drink beer, of course.

  5. So lovely to read this – my 1.5 year old driving me batty at mo, his older siblings not so much but there are days when I battle to get through. But you’re proof I will πŸ™‚ Emily

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Em xx However I will say that there are definitely still moments when I want to join “babe” for a nice peaceful session in the oven. After all it does seem to at least be quiet in there… πŸ™‚

  6. I am kind of glad I am over the baby stage. I remember a stranger asking to pick up my 5 day old baby, I was so tired I didn’t know how to answer so I started to cry. Enjoy your 10th anniversary of motherhood!

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Eleise. I loved your post on step-mothering πŸ™‚ Asking to pick up a stranger’s 5 day old baby WTF?? No wonder you cried. That is all kinds of inappropriate. People like that should just stay in Freakville and not come out to bother sleep-deprived new mothers!

  7. 2 years you say? and the rest! lol. Congratulations on the 10 year mumversiary. I totally think that as mums we should get presents on our kids birthdays. You know just in case there was something you had you eye on and needed to justify getting it πŸ˜‰

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to both you and Jack, my the birthday festivities be wondrous

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Rhianna. Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes and also for the excellent idea to buy myself a present. I hadn’t though of that – which just seems crazy now you’ve pointed it out xx

  8. Loz says:

    I bloody love this. You need to get these signs on the market ASAP! Thanks for the arvo giggle.

    Loz xx

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Loz. food for thought re: the signs. Beats those naff “Baby on Board” ones I reckon, and is surely at least as good as the “My Family” ones.

  9. That sign made me giggle. I questioned myself so often as a new mum. Mostly because of everyone’s ‘helpful’ advice.

    • Rachel says:

      Thank you! Yes. Why is it that by the time we’ve finally got the confidence to tell those people to mind their own business our babies are not babies any more?

  10. love the sign at the end and the word “gangbusters” too awesome
    happy birthday Jack and you are doing an awesome job mum!
    xx

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Josefa! I love that word too and it seems like the only one that really describes the way he’s growing ATM. It feels like every time I turn around he’s shot up a sneaky centimetre or two. Thank you for the b’day wishes and for visiting xx

  11. Eve Adams says:

    I love that term, ‘mumiversary’! I’ve not heard it before. Beautiful. Happy mumiversary to you, and happy birthday to your boy.

  12. Kelly HTandT says:

    Yes, yes, YES! To your four points! Rather than a sign around the neck, I always said I wanted to print a frequently asked questions t shirt! Happy birthday big fella!

    • Rachel says:

      LOL Kelly a FAQ shirt is a much better idea! I just tried to comment on your “Terrible Threes” post but Disqus said no 😦 I’ll try again tomorrow.

  13. Wow – he’s bright as a button at 5 in the morning! So HAPPY to be up to watch the sun rise! You were putting on a very brave face. Happy birthday to your big boy, and here’s hoping he’s sleeping in later for you these days.

    • Rachel says:

      Yes I was. He was impossible to re-settle after about 4.30am for a good 3-4 months so I gave up trying. Thank you for the b’day wishes – he now sleeps until a very civilised 7.00am at which time he staggers into the kitchen and inhales a massive bowl of Nutri-grain!

  14. There is one bright light about that sleep deprived part of life; you’re usually too tired to care or even realise how you look! πŸ˜‰

    • Rachel says:

      Very true. At that point I was still trying to work out how to get out the door in under two hours and considered myself on top of things if I’d had a shower by 11.00am LOL.

  15. Sarah says:

    great post! congratulations on your mumiversary and happy birthday to your big boy.
    I’m strugglingnot with the baby stage but with the ups and downs of a 3.5 year old but it’s the same – always wondering if you’re getting it ‘right’

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Sarah! I found that 3.5 year olds can really deliver a cutting insult. Things like “I don’t like you very much” which really shouldn’t affect you but they say it with such conviction! I still wonder about getting it right too though, the only difference is I’m a bit more confident in my judgement. If it’s any consolation I found 4 years old to be a pleasant change so hang in there πŸ™‚

  16. mamagrace71 says:

    Happy 10th birthday, Jack! And happy birthing, Rachel!
    I love that sign! Mine would say:
    “Twins, 5 weeks preemie, No, not double trouble. Twice as Nice. Now go and f**k off!” πŸ™‚

  17. Declutterbug says:

    Hahah yes Grace got there first with the multiples. People don’t realise a double buggy with a toddler seat is really heavy and hard to stop when you have momentum, and would keep jumping right in front of the pram to poke the babies or laugh at the three seat arrangement… “Double trouble” every ten minutes, every single time you go out.

    • Rachel says:

      Totally! I had a double stroller with my first 2 bubs as they were only 16 months apart. They are like driving a road train – hard to get going but once you’re on a roll then it’s “look out pedestrians, here we come!”. Can’t imagine what it was like for you with twins and a toddler at that stage – crazy times I’m sure πŸ™‚

  18. Me says:

    LOL – loved these points. I am nearly a 21yo Mom and man there are times when it has felt like forever and then other times it just seems like yesterday we were coming home from hospital !!!
    Happy birthday Jack – hope he has a great time !
    Me
    #IBOT visitor

    • Rachel says:

      Hi Me! Wow 21 years that is awesome. You should throw yourself a party to celebrate YOUR achievement. Stuff the 21 year olds getting all the fun – we know they won’t appreciate it until their older anyway πŸ™‚

  19. Love it! So bloody true. Testify alright, multiple times!

  20. SarahMac says:

    Sing it sister! Testify! I hear you! And so forth. Congratulations on the 10 year mumiversary! I am coming up to my 4 year one. Sob. Still in the trenches and yet going so fast.

    • Rachel says:

      LOL thank you Sarah. Four is actually my favourite age. They can do a lot for themselves and have the cutest “grown-up” conversations with you, but they are still squishy with that last bit of toddler chubbiness hanging around.

  21. […] posts of HUGE note areΒ Thoughts from the first few months ofΒ parenthoodΒ and the pitch where she discusses a very clever addition to the band “one […]

  22. The Tunnel says:

    Who needs sex when you’ve got Super Mario chess!!!
    (No need to respond – I think the last bit of your sign deals with the issue?)

  23. Tegan says:

    I LOVE my group of friends because they aren’t all butterflies and rainbows about parenting.

  24. Sarah Mac says:

    Celebrating 30 years of motherhood next year (god that’s a scary thought!) – god it’s been hard work at times but totally worth it in so many ways πŸ™‚

  25. What a wonderful post. I am still in that place where I look in the mirror some mornings and wonder where the chick with the luggage under her eyes came from! But I can also see how quickly the years are flying by and how much change – good and bad – is happening within the family ever single day. 10 years is an awesome milestone though!

  26. Ness says:

    I wish I looked as good as you at 4.30am. Or any time, really. And your boy is also GORGEOUS. When they are babies it is SO HARD then bam, you blink your eyes and you’re 10 years (or 12, in my case) down the track and staring down the barrel of *shudder* the teenage years. I find myself wishing they were babies again. Sigh.

  27. Mez says:

    I love this so much. One year on, I am slowly emerging into the sunshine, blinking, still smelling like vomit. I also still feel like everyone is having fun but me. Also what is this sex thing you speak of?
    Happy birthday to your double figured boy!! x

  28. the blue sign made my day! I have to show the Missus that! She’ll love it

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