Becoming a parent brings with it an absolute sackful of new emotions; some of which makes you feel on-top-of-the-world amazing and some just make you want to drown yourself in a bath of Cabernet Sauvignon.
I prepared myself for the strong emotions that would come from the moment my baby entered this world. Love, anxiety, happiness, sadness, overwhelm and frustration to list a few, yet I was still surprised by some.
1. Being yucked out by my newborn baby
I know it’s common knowledge that babies are born covered in all sorts of gunk. There are plenty YouTube clips and close ups on One Born Every Minute so their first appearance shouldn’t be a surprise. I get that. I just assumed I would see past it all, instantly becoming one of those mamas who cradles her slightly lathered newborn and says how beautiful she is. I think my first words to my daughter were: Oh my, you’re so gross!
(*judging by her gesture, she clearly didn’t think much of me either!)
2. Feeling guilty
Throughout the passing weeks, months and years, the Guilt Monster often reared up its surprising head. I felt guilty that I didn’t immediately notice my newborn’s poopy nappy. Guilty when I put my colicky baby in her cot and shut the door because I just couldn’t take anymore wailing (7 hours … non-stop)! Guilty that I gave my toddler cheese and ice cream for dinner because I didn’t have time to plan. Guilty that my second born spends so long in his Jumperoo. The list is endless because there always seems to be something new to feel guilty about.
3. Never thought I could be so proud of someone rolling over.
4. Sad stories turn me into an emotional wreck
Of course I always felt bad for the victims of war or natural disaster and generally those in less fortunate positions. But they were removed from my day to day life. I’ll donate money, feel charitable for a day and life goes on. Now every dirty, skeletal street child could be my daughter. Every boy washed up on a Turkish beach could be my son. That paediatric cancer series on Humans of New York caused more blub than The Notebook (welling up again). I don’t just see the vulnerability of life, I really feel it. Sometimes I can’t shake off a news story for days and the slightest thing can open the floodgates (walked past a dilapidated, unloved swing set yesterday …. BLUB)!
5. Continuous self-doubt
At least once a day I wonder whether I’m doing the right thing (cry it out or co-sleeping), or enough of those things, or too much of some things (3 hours of iPad time by 10am!) or WHAT THE HELL I’m doing full stop (you know those days where getting pee in your eye is not nearly the worst thing).
6. Loathe and love at the same time
Life becomes an oscillating ride between head-over-heels in love to shouting expletives very loudly (in my head)! Just as the tantrums and fussiness are about to tip me over the edge, little arms wrap around my neck with sloppy kisses aplenty and all is forgiven until the next toy throwing, food spitting, banging the floor tantrum episode. There are many, many instances where I wish for some alone time (OMG just let me poo in peace!) or to be able to eat a meal without reaching over the table 582 times. Yet on the occasions when hubby and I are out for some adult time, our conversation repeatedly gravitates back to the kids (even if it is to moan). After work, I can’t wait to walk through that door and see those cheeky faces. Love them more than anything and yes, they drive me totally crazy.