I was prompted to start this blog for a number of reasons. Firstly, because on more than one occasion this week I have fancied a gin and tonic for my tea. Not with my tea… FOR my tea.
Secondly, because of a conversation I had with my fiancé last week, who told me I ‘seemed stressed’ and like I ‘wasn’t enjoying my maternity leave’. A fair point – I’ve got a seven week old baby who loves to snore throughout the night but sleep silently in the day, an amazing but demanding four year old with an overactive imagination and the fiancé himself, who made these comments after he’d been working away for two days straight leaving me home alone with no sleep… for two days straight.
And thirdly, because I’m fed up of being judged for wanting to work (I’m self employed) and not wanting to sit cooing and listening to nursery rhymes all day.
Apparently I should want to go to baby massage and ‘bond’ with my son. I did all that with my first son and I fucking hated it. Baby massage, in all its varying forms, is a breeding ground for judgemental mums – the kind that make you feel shit for not breast feeding and not carrying your baby around in an organic cotton sling (I realise this is me judging them, the irony is not lost on me). I can massage my baby’s legs in the comfort of my own home if I want to. “You can make some new friends,” I was told. I’m alright with the ones I’ve got, thanks – besides, Phil and Holly are on until half 12 and they aren’t going to look me up and down for shoving a dummy in baby’s mouth to shut him up. “Elliott will make some friends,” this unnamed person persisted. HE’S SEVEN WEEKS OLD – yesterday he stared at a reflection on the tv screen for 20 minutes before doing a shit and falling asleep, I’m not sure he’s that arsed about expanding his social circle just yet.
And yes, I do want to work. Elliott, as lovely and as beautiful as he is, is pretty boring. He spends most of the day sleeping, shitting or making himself go cross-eyed – there’s no reason at all why I shouldn’t work. Elliott isn’t suffering because of this. He is a happy, content baby who’s smile makes me melt. I write for a living and it keeps me sane, it’s my post-natal mind workout – it pushes out the mind-numbing tinkly tune of Elliott’s play mat and makes me feel refreshed and ready for when he wakes up and gives me his gummy smile before screaming for his bottle.
The truth is being a parent isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s a bit shit. Sometimes you’d like to go a day without having to wipe sick off your top or playing ‘family sharks’ (my eldest son’s new favourite game, whereby I have to pretend to be the mummy shark and save ‘Monkey Fireman Sam’ -WTF??). And you know what, I think it’s ok to feel pissed off sometimes; it’s unrealistic to expect it all to be a bed of roses. There’s always going to be those mums on Facebook who has ‘lovesbeingamummy’ as her middle name, as if you love your children any less because you’ve kept your actual name. There’s always going to be the smug ones that attend every playgroup going and absolutely love every minute of their maternity leave and dread going back to work, making you question whether you’re a shit mum because that’s not how you feel. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children and wouldn’t change a thing, they are my whole world. But there’s nothing fun about getting yellow poo under your fingernails or getting piddled in the face; and sometimes no matter how quickly you try to change the nappy… you’re going to get pissed on.