Like most first time mums, I was blessed with a fabulous pair of extra thick rose tinted glasses during my pregnancy. I went from genuinely believing I would eat a clean diet of fruit and vegetables, to shamelessly sharing a bargain bucket with me, myself and I in a KFC car park. There are lots of lies we tell ourselves when we are pregnant, if only to make ourselves feel like we have some regiment and control over the dawning unknown – from the, I’m never going to’s, to the, You’ll never see my child doing’s. There’s a whole blanket of lies you can fabricate and hide deep inside, until that baby bursts its way out of you and tears a big hole in your daydream (amongst other things).
Our first slip up came about the very first night we brought baby C home. He was fed, watered and generally being a miserable little so and so. In a moment of desperation and sore nipples, Dan and I practically ripped open the ’emergency’ dummy and gave it to a sleepless C. There was silence. There was sleep. And the first rule I made for myself was broken.
I’ve always been a rebel.
As well as the no dummy rule, Dan and I always shared a common view on C’s diet – homemade, varied and healthy. For the first few months of weaning, this came easily. I was bossing it with a changing bag full of fruit and homemade snacks, and I resisted the urge to reach for those multicoloured pouches and jars in the supermarket. I felt like Mary Fucking Poppins. But like Mary, this new me couldn’t hang around forever. Instead of the wind changing as the queue for my departure, my docile baby changed into a tantrum throwing animal. Do you know what’s hard? Peeling a satsuma for a screaming child in the middle of a busy shop. Do you know what’s not? Opening a packet of Skips. And just like that, Mary was gone.
From then on, the list of things we said we would never do but have done, or regularly do, has snowballed to the point where I sometimes now question my grasp on reality during pregnancy and early months of motherhood. That’s not to say, I’m now a wild, unruly beast of a Mother with no routine. But, rules are made to be broken and being a mother is bloody hard work! So, I don’t feel the shame or disappointment I envisaged when I plonk C down in front of the TV while I get his breakfast ready. I don’t feel any guilt when I give him a biscuit in exchange for his silence in Starbucks. And I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy a glass of wine or two once I’ve put my child to bed.
I’ve found that having a more relaxed approach to parenting has been my saviour rather than my downfall. You do what works for you and your baby, even if it is different to the fabulously easy life you imagined when you were pregnant. Do you agree?