8 Cool Things I've Learned About Myself Since Becoming A Mum 3 years ago

8 Cool Things I've Learned About Myself Since Becoming A Mum

Almost sixteen months into this motherhood business, and what lessons have I learned? To be honest it's more a case of what I already knew... but just didn't know that I knew. Get my drift?

Here are just a few of the skills I didn't know I had: 

Multi-tasking

I can do lots of things with just one hand while the other hand holds the baby/stops the baby flinging himself down the stairs/jumping out of his high chair. I can cook whole dinners one-handed; put on make-up, eat my lunch. I can even make a cup of tea! Although finding time to drink it is where the challenge lies.

Sleep
I always thought I was the sort of person who needs at least eight hours of sleep a night. And I was! But like all new parents I got a serious crash course in 'no sleep at all', and now I'm delighted when I get five hours. If I get to lie in until 7am on a Saturday, it's a result. Although I'm still crying on the inside over that one. And often on the outside too.

Gender-specific products
Another thing I've noticed since Rian was born is how the choice for girls and boys items varies so much. Things like baby clothes – there's usually twice the amount of space dedicated for girls compared to the boys section, which will mainly consist of blue or grey things, and that's about it. One or two shops might have a decent selection, but overall it's pretty bad.

Comedy

Turns out I'm also pretty funny. That time I scratched my nose and Rian almost fell off his chair laughing at me... or the time I danced to a song on the radio and the poor kid could barely breathe he was laughing so hard. But babies are fickle creatures. The following day I decided to treat him to a nose scratching classic and he shot me a look of pity, practically raising one eyebrow in the process.

Endurance

Rian had colic when he was born. A symptom is hours and hours of crying, for weeks on end. It would start at about 4pm and last until 1am. We tried everything. In the end, I don't know if one of those things eventually worked or if he just grew out of it. But either way, it was a test of endurance. And we passed. We'd take it in shifts – an hour of crying for you, one for me. And crying is bad enough, but hours of crying on top of no sleep is honestly a form of torture. The poor little fella was obviously in pain and although you think you might go crazy, you don't - it's not his fault. But that doesn't make it easy. Turns out, I have a lot of patience I never knew I had.

Instinct

Everyone has it but learning to trust it is the thing. You know a lot more than you think. Those first few months are full of thoughts like 'What the hell??' And it's scary! But then you remember this isn't the first baby. Other people have figured out how to do this and so you can too. There's lots of conflicting advice out there and your own parents might have done things differently to how your health nurse is advising you to do it now, but at the end of the day, babies are the same as they've always been. You know your baby better than anyone else so don't doubt yourself. You DO know what you're doing and you're doing it well.

Guilt

This a big feature in my life these days. In a lot of ways, it's always going to be there - especially when you do another thing you probably shouldn't do and compare yourself to other mothers. My main source of guilt is when I leave him every day to go to work. It's the constant battle of wanting to go yet not wanting to go. It's easier now at this age compared to when he was younger. Your life is sliced up into sections at the start, revolving around naps and feeds. But now he's older, the structure of his day is so much more flexible. The days at home are different now to what they were when I was still on maternity leave.

Willpower

I leave the house at about 6.20am. Some mornings I can hear him chatting to his teddy bears and it takes all my willpower to keep walking past his door so that I don't miss the train to work. Even if I had the time, it would probably be worse to see him for ten minutes and then have to leave him for the day. And then I remember that although I don't hate my job, I need it. So although it feels like a choice to be at work, it's not. You just get on with it and make the best of the evenings and weekends, which, to be fair, are so much more fun now than they ever were before.

Although it's a big learning curve, it's the most fun I've ever had! He teaches us new things every day and I can't wait to discover the things yet to come.

"I am Jen: a 30-something, married, red-haired mam of one little munchkin and two dogs. I love photography and cheesy music. Keep the cups of tea coming." Catch up with Jen Ryan on her hilarious blog, thescenicroutebyjen.com.