I had always planned to write a post to mark my daughter turning one. I definitely didn’t plan that I would write it from a fold out bed next to her cot on a ward in the same hospital she was born in. (Edit: She’s totally fine & home now) However, as I mentioned in a recent Instagram post – if there’s one thing a year of being a mum has shown me it would be how unpredictable life can be with a child.
You can be organised and packed with every essential known to man. Only to be hit by a poo-naami of epic proportions that throws all those plans in the air. Or like now as we find ourselves back in hospital. The good news is that after the next dose of medicine we’re due to be discharged and she’s currently happily sleeping. Hence why I’m writing this post.
However, I don’t want the last year to be overshadowed by the past few days. It’s been a year unlike any other. I don’t think there’s much out there (not in my experience so far) that will change life in quite the way having a child does. It feels a lot like there’s no corner of my life that hasn’t been left as it was. From home, to work, to body, friendships. It’s definitely true that no amount of advice or reading up before hand can prepare you.
But at the same time, life completely does continue. You just add this new element in. A new side to life and a new plate to spin. Pretty much the new biggest and most important plate to spin that whilst you try to keep all the other house/work/friendships/relationship plates spinning this new plate is the one that you really really can’t drop. Not saying I would ever spin my child on a stick, but hope you get the analogy.
Whilst my daughter has just turned one. I feel like around 15 years of life have passed over the last 12 months. I don’t really know how to describe it in a more creative or elegant way than to say it’s a rollercoaster. It’s a total cliche but it’s true.
From those early days of staring adoringly at your newborn, navigating day to day life with this tiny delicate human you’re now responsible for (housed mostly within a giant four wheeled contraption you now push/drag everywhere and realise how hard it really is to get a pram through a coffee shop door or really how often places really don’t cater for anyone on wheels…)
New friendships which second only to the amount of happiness my daughter brings are easily the next best perk of mum life. That and being able to use the parent/child parking spaces at Sainsbury’s… The girls who all had babies around the same time as me have been an amazing support on the baby stuff, but also just good friends who don’t just want to talk nappies or one-up on the baby skills front.
I still definitely need to work at the juggle of working and time with Eleanor. Some weeks I get it ‘right’ other weeks, not so much. I get a huge amount of satisfaction and reward out of my work and it really does make me feel like ‘me’ and sure, there’s still definitely moments where I still long for the independence of pre-baby life when it comes to work. Especially when it comes to travel side of things. Being able to accept an invite without having to coordinate with 2/3 people first… but at the same time I know I wouldn’t change it.
Contradictions are pretty much a day to day part of life now. Desperately wanting a break and then as soon as you get one you spend half the time browsing pictures and missing your child… Wanting the freedom but loving feeling needed. Love the idea of a late night and going wild… absolutely hating the idea of parenting on a hangover (something I can only imagine gets worse as they get older…)
I know that whilst there’s still a huge side of me that craves all the independence and freedom I’ve been used to. In the moment she needs something from me or just gives me a sparkly eyed smile then all that goes out the window and I’m there. That doesn’t mean I don’t find it hard (confession: I sobbed a bit when I realised she had conjunctivitis which meant she would have to miss her days of nursery…)
One of the biggest questions I had in my head before we started to think about having a family was ‘is it worth it?’ It was a question that floated around my head a lot and I wanted to ask every parent I came across the same thing. Well for year one under my belt, I can say yes it is worth it. It’s hard, absolutely no doubt about that. Definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. But there’s just this big rosy feeling when they smile at you, do something funny or learn to do something new that seems to make your heart just swell each time. I can’t wait to watch her grow up and get to know her – that alone is going to be worth it all.