10 things I never bargained for

2 Feb

3 days lying flat out on a sofa with a fever kind of lost me my writing mojo. But today the fever is subsiding, the boredom is kicking in and the fingers are twitching. So it’s time for another little post.

If you’ve read any of my other items, you’ll be well aware that motherhood didn’t exactly turn out how I planned. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I bitterly regret the whole thing. Well, not often anyway. It’s just been a lot harder than I hoped for.

So after much self reflection (ooh deep), I’ve finally mapped out exactly what I was aiming for and what I got, which should go someway to explaining why I so frequently feel the need to rant. Here goes……

Things I hoped to achieve through motherhood:

1. Patience – because all mothers are beautiful, warm, kind, patient human beings right? Surely it was inevitable that I’d get me some of that too?

2. Generosity – and by this I mean generosity of spirit as opposed to the lovely paper stuff. I wanted to be generous with my time, and take pleasure in putting someone elses happiness before my own. Aahh. Sweet eh?

3.  A new sense of purpose – Whilst I was happy in my job before, and enjoying the endless weekends shopping and eating out, it didn’t really enrich the soul you know? Surely, there’s no bigger purpose for living than nuturing and raising your baby?

4. A nice year off work – I know.  Just reading this makes me laugh out loud now. What a chump. But after 10 years full time working since leaving university, I was looking forward to some time out.

5. The unconditional love of another – I’m sensing that you’re thinking “what a needy witch”, but it’s true to say that I’ve long felt second best in many ways. I was never the cool one, the attractive one, the one with the big boobies all the boys/men fancied, so the thought of having a child who depended on me and loved me above all else because I was their mother really appealed to me.

6. A maternal instinct – I’ve never liked kids. Couldn’t stand the snotty little toe rags. Also, could never quite figure out what to do with one. So I thought having one would rectify that. The hormones would kick in and send me all earth mother.

7. A placid, laid back child – by this point I knew I was having a boy, and pretty much every boy child I had come across was quiet, chilled out and smily. Yes, thanks, I’ll take one of those.

8. New friends – as an only child, I love my friends. They are my family and I can’t get enough of them. And I hoped to make a whole heap more while I was off. Life would be an endless procession of coffee mornings and chats about our dear children, and Oscar would make some little friends to socialise with at weekends when I went back to work (part-time… I’m LOLing with hindsight again).

9. An appreciation of the outdoors – up until this point, my only appreciation of the outdoors was on a sunlounger in Cyprus, but with children, life’s just one long stroll in the park isn’t it? What fun that would be!

10. Physical fitness – well all those long walks in the park are bound to shift the pounds aren’t they?

Things I actually achieved from motherhood:

1. Ravaged body – might as well crush that idea of physical fitness right here right now. As well as farmer giles, varicose veins and life long reflux, I was also gifted with a wonky face. And no, I don’t mean from just grimmacing and gurning on the hard days with a puking, pooping, wailing baby. I mean a proper bonafide permanent facial disfigurement from a medical condition I caught whilst pregnant. So the little blighter took my looks as well as my health. It’s ok, I don’t have to look at me. You do.

2. Acute paranoia – and by this I mean about EVERYTHING. Am I holding him right? Is he going to die? Is it my fault he is biting other children at nursery? Will he EVER eat a decent meal? Will he grow up to hate me? I could go on forever here. As a doubtful mum, the feeling never goes away.

3. Anger Management Issues – That idea of patience is coming to bite me on the ass right here. Boy do children know how to push your buttons. It’s only by having a child that I realise I didn’t know anger before. All those times me and the hubby argued….. that was totally nothing. Now at times, the RAGE is all consuming, I genuinely think my head will explode, and that rocking like a mad person in the feotal position on the landing  is the only thing that will make it go away.

4. Isolation – So all those new friends I was going to make? All the tea, cake and cooing? Well it started off ok. I went to NCT classes and made some good friends, a few of whom I still keep in touch with now. But even when together, I never felt I quite fitted in. They were all so natural, their babies were so content, and they seemed genuinely at ease with motherhood. (Although Alex…. on the tube across London with baby on your back at 2 weeks old?…. this isn’t natural, it’s supernatural) I on the otherhand had an angry, fidgety baby and was finding the whole thing stressful, anxious and emotional.

After 6 months, many of the NCT gang went back to work and then the real isolation began. Money dried up, and finding ways to socialise got harder. I did my best, scheduling baby music classes and regular diary dates with other stay at home mums, but it was never enough, Oscar continued to act up around others and the isolation was overwhelming.

5. A reputation with the NHS – acute paranoia mixed with a child wielding an undiagnosed dairy allergy for four months earnt me a pretty formiddable reputation with our trusty GP/NHS Direct/A&E department. Such was their disdain for me, I could almost hear the collective tutting every time I entered the building, and there have been more than a few heated exchanges over supposed “viruses”.

6. No dress sense – What is it about a child that, overnight, makes you lose the ability to match clothes? And at what point did I lose my vanity/pride and stop giving a damn? Gutted.

7. Nostalgia – God I miss the good old days of endless shopping trips and eating. Not soul enriching? Who was I kidding. They were f***ing great.

8. Appreciation for Wellies – again, loss of dress sense… since when would I EVER have been seen dead in wellies BO (Before Oscar)? But, if I’m going to force myself into a “love of the outdoors” for his sake, you can’t beat a good pair of comfortable Hunter Wellies to keep you dry and warm. Come to mummy you gorgeous rubber feet shaggers you………(other wellie stockists are available).

9.  Embarrassment – My uncooperative little tyrant has given me more than my fair share of this. The tantrums in public from the age of 9 months until this very day, the expulsion from nursery for violence, the expulsion from childminder 10 weeks later, the detention after 1 week at preschool for spitting at the teacher. Gosh it’s making my toes curl. I swear I never taught him any of this.

10. Occasional heart swelling pride  – I thought I’d end this on a positive note. For all his constant causes of embarassment, just occasionally he brings me a moment of such enormous pride, I think my heart might break right there and then. His school nativity dressed as an angel, which I cried through for a full 30 minutes, his politeness and willingness to talk to strangers, that moment when he comes home and says something so intelligent, you realise the enormous potential he possesses inside. Yep, he’s a bugger, but he’s my bugger.

So what do you think? Was I the only one to get it so wrong, or does any of what I’m saying ring true with you?

Do share your experiences of fantasy vs reality with me, even if only to make me feel just a little less like a prize idiot.


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Dinky and Me

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