The last blog was ‘perfection’, now I give you ‘reflection’.
My idea was that I would take this opportunity to look back over the past year and reflect on how it’s been. On a positive note we’re still a family of 4 so I consider that #winning!
Chloe has just turned 1 and Toby 5. Immediately I have reflected that I must not consume too much gin around Valentine’s day. In the month right before Christmas, that inconveniently hosts a disproportionate number of family birthdays, I will face bankruptcy and ruin if I introduce another Davies small human into the equation.
When I started my reflections, sat in the car on my drive whilst Chloe slept in her seat, I started comparing my maternity experiences. Second time round and this is what I thought it would be like/feel like to be a mother. Yes I was a bit rusty getting going in the fresh new-born stage but once I did it all came flooding back.
The difference take 2:
- The 4th trimester can be a killer in terms of lack of sleep but ‘it’s a phase, it will pass.’ In the meantime I was to rest as much as possible and not overcommit to visitors. I felt zero guilt if I had to cancel a visit because we’d had a rough night.
- Breastfeeding is bloody hard and bloody hurts. I gave it another good go this time round. I took myself and Chloe off to a community hospital where we got exceptional care and guidance. It still didn’t work. At 4 weeks I made the decision to knock it on the head and move to bottles. There were tears for one night and then I moved on. I did not feel guilty and I did not beat myself up about it for many months to come.
- If people offered help, and I needed it, I took it. If I needed help, I asked for it. I didn’t start worrying about whether I was imposing on people and knew they’d decline if they couldn’t/didn’t want to help.
- I didn’t worry about leaving the house with a tiny human. What was the worst that was going to happen and worst case scenario, if I felt out of my comfort zone, I just get in the car and come home?
- Baby vests roll down at the shoulders so you can remove downwards. Game changer. No more trying to roll a poo covered vest up and over the head. All packaging should clearly point this feature out.
- I have taken time for myself, did not rush, and did not feel guilty safe in the knowledge that the children love time with their dad.
- I had to get up and get on in the morning because I had a 4-year-old to look after and get to pre-school. I would sometimes curse this on the mornings that Chloe would sleep in but in the main it got us up, out and into a routine.
- I have not eaten Chloe’s poo. Yes, I have eaten Toby’s. He was 3 months old when I inadvertently licked poo from my arm in a restaurant mistakenly thinking it was egg yolk from my Egg’s Benedict. I have learnt that everything should be treated with suspicion and at least conduct a sniff test.
I’ve enjoyed watching the beautiful relationship develop between Toby and Chloe. I hadn’t anticipated that. Toby is so keen to help out and Chloe’s face lights up when she see’s him. Apart from the time I turned my back for seconds only to turn round again to see Toby manoeuvring Chloe through a forward roll (fortunately well executed with no injury sustained) there have been few near misses involving big brother exuberance.
This was also a big year for Toby as he started school. After a rocky start I’m pleased to report that he loves it and now catches the school bus. At parent’s evening he was described as a ‘character’ and you would certainly notice if he was missing. I’ll take that as a positive and assume his teachers are earning their money!
I’ve also had the opportunity for some self-development which has been fantastic. I’ve started blogging and could kick myself for not having done it many years ago. I also have a coach who has done wonders for building my confidence and I’ve met some amazingly inspiring women through group coaching exploring what else we’ve got in us
So there we have it, baby stage complete, proceed to toddler level. People have remarked how the year has ‘flown by’ but I genuinely don’t feel it has. I think it’s because I’ve really been trying to live in the moment and not worry about what was coming up.
Such a completely different experience second time round, such an amazing year with a bit more to go. After the double birthday whammy situation I’ll just sit back and relax and reflect on how this manic fortnight will play out for the foreseeable future. I have already reflected, and am thankful, that there isn’t a 3 year age gap else I’d have had a 21 year old and 18 year old in the same year/week.
To finish off I’d say:
If knowledge is power then experience is priceless. I wish I could bottle up this feeling and hand it out to anxious first-time mums.