The Prompt from the lovely Sara at MumTurnedMom this week is “Reflection.”
As always, I wasn’t sure which angle to take. I had some provoking ideas – “Is your child a reflection of you and your parenting?” or “Is blogging a reflection of real life?” But honestly it’s been a busy old week and I really haven’t had the energy to tackle a deep or potentially controversial topic.
So as Monkey and I are sat on the sofa, at the start of a day where I have nothing planned, and we are both happy and calm, I am reflecting on how much things have changed. How much he has grown and how much I have grown as his mummy.
I make no secret of the fact that I found the first year of his life a struggle. Coming to terms with this new role of ‘mother.’ Coming to terms with no longer working, of trying to adapt to fit this new life as a SAHM. It’s why I started this blog.
If you’d asked me a year ago what my top tip would be to surviving, it would have been to get out of the house every day. For a large chunk of Monkey’s life – particularly since he became more alert and needed entertaining – I have had our weeks planned out. An average week would look like this:
Every morning, a work with my neighbour from 9-10ish. Then
Monday: See my parents
Wednesday: Music class/Play date
Thursday: Storytime at the library/Play date
Friday: See Hubby’s parents.
Every morning and early afternoon was filled and if we did have a day with nothing, I would have to plan an activity – more for myself I know, because I struggled to spontaneously think about what to do to entertain him. I had to have a plan to keep myself sane. Days without a plan, or when plans got cancelled, were invariably the bad days. The days where I struggled, where I guess I panicked at the thought of having to entertain Monkey by myself all day. Where I started the day on the wrong foot and instead of being optimistic, I expected the day to be difficult, so of course, in a self fulfilling prophecy, it was difficult.
Things have changed now. Monkey has grown up. In may ways he is easier to entertain now. He has a longer attention span so isn’t distracted every 2 minutes (now it’s about 10 minutes ;)). He is getting more independent, and will find what he wants to play with sometimes. He can think for himself and though he obviously still wants a lot of my attention and interaction, and I am happy to give it, there are times when he doesn’t want or need me so much. I love watching these changes in him. It’s a bit scary to see my little man growing up and moving ever so slightly away from me… but for the most part I am just so proud watching him grow up.
I’m proud of myself too. The thought of a day with no plans doesn’t fill me with the same trepidation it once did. I don’t start the day miserable at the prospect. I know that he will be fairly happy pottering about in the house for part of the day. I know that a bit of telly won’t do him any harm (though he gets bored of the TV easily so it’s never on for long). If the weather is fine we will go for a run down a hill, or just on a walk around the local area, picking up sticks or knocking on trees.
If the weather is less good I will get out the paints, or cloud dough, or we could do some baking, and the time will pass. If we do go a bit stir crazy we can pop to a local shopping centre for a wander, or pull on the waterproofs and wellies and got for a splash about in the rain.
I used to obsess over weather forecasts to see what it meant for our day. Now I look out the window very so often.
I am a planner by nature so for the most parts our weeks are stilled planned, though there are definitely more gaps now. On a day with no plan, I try and form a vague plan in the morning, but it changes as the day goes by depending on how we feel and Monkey’s mood. I don’t cling to my plans like a liferaft.
Before Christmas I mentioned that we are thinking about baby number 2, and it is very much on our minds at the moment. The thought of going back to baby days does scare me slightly, because I struggled last time. I know it will be different this time, as I have done it once, and I have Monkey. But I know it won’t be easy so I am sure I will be needing my plans again if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again!
It is interesting how much your own parenting changes over time. We have less classes and the like now than we had when Boo was small, though we plan our own activities in – park, crafting, baking etc. that fill up our days anyway. Having the two of them about also means they’ve permanent companions and play mates, so the need to get them out with friends lessens. They’re very happy in each other’s company, fortunately!
Yeah I am definitely hoping that if we have another then they and Monkey will entertain each other to some extent! 🙂 It is funny how parenting changes over time though! xx
When the boys were little, I went back to work, so nursery organised their days. When I decided to stay home with the wee girl I found it difficult to just stay in the house, it was easier to entertain her if we were out and about! I suspect part of me was slightly nervous of ‘being’ the entertainment for a whole day 🙂 I’m a lot more comfortable at home now, and we bake and craft and play quite happily, and actually a day at home is quite nice! I think it’s really interesting to look back and reflect on how we were and how we’ve changed. Parenthood changes us, but so does confidence – baby number two will be much less daunting 🙂 Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt xx
I’m the same and a day at home isn’t so terrifying now. Glad I am not alone and it is interesting how our parenting adapts as our confidence grows. It will be interesting to see what happens with number 2! xx
It sounds like you are really growing into motherhood and your confidence is growing with it. I admire your honesty (I’m a planner too and it isn’t always in harmony with parenthood!) Good luck with your plans for #2
Thank you, I think the confidence has sort of crept up on me! Planning really isn’t in harmony with parenthood sometimes is it? Have to embrace a bit more flexibility! Thank you 🙂 xx
Really interesting to read how it’s changed for you too, I’m exactly the same. I went through being terrified to leave the house, then having to leave the house all the time (terrified of being at home boredom) now am happier to stay at home sometimes and play or do our own thing. Very glad to know I’m not alone 🙂
I am very glad to hear it’s not just me that has felt like this. It is scary to start with, first to go out, and then to stay in! Thank goodness it gets easier as we get more confident! But you had 2 to deal with which must have been tricky! Glad to know things improved for you too! xx
Great reflections on motherhood. How funny that we all had that fear of leaving the house to start with. I was exactly the same when I had Crevette and now, it is the thought of having to stay in for a whole day that terrifies me! Seeing our children grow up and develop is the best gift we can ever have. Exciting that you are thinking about having a second baby! Mel #ThePrompt
Thank you! It is good do know we are not alone in feeling like this, and interesting how we all follow the same paths in many ways and feel the same fears! It is wonderful watching them grow, I just love it and I am excited (and nervous) to think about doing it all over again xx
I too am a planner by nature but when Gwenn was very little all of that seemed to fall by the wayside. We did pretty much nothing during the summer which I hugely regret now (not for her obviously; she was a newborn, she won’t remember a thing!). I feel as if I could have got so much more from my maternity leave as I live at the seaside and there is so much I could have done.
Post-maternity leave remorse; can’t beat it!!!
hmm yeah kids don’t always want to follow your plan do they? Ah bless you, hindsight is a wonderful thing eh? xx
Like you I definitely struggled without the plan but was never very good at the planning … getting out of the house as early as possible whatever the weather is always a winner. We definitely all feel better for it.
Would love to see you at my #EmptyYourArchive link party on Wednesday evening … it’s a great chance to share wonderful old posts.
I completely agree, when all else fails, just get out of the house!! 🙂 Ooh sounds good, I will pop by 🙂 xx
Ah wow you sum up how my first year was completely too!
He is two this month and I am getting a bit better with not needing a plan, but I definitely need to get him out of the flat each day or he drives me nuts!
Singleparenthood means I cant palm him off to a partner for five mins peace either lol.
I’m glad it’s not just me who felt like this! Totally with you on getting out of the house – we are doing better these days and can just about cope in the house for a day, but only just! It must be so much harder without a partner to help at the end of the day, so I do feel for you, I’m nearly always counting down the hours till hubby comes home and can help! xx
Thank you for sharing this post! I’m stopping by from the Share With Me blog hop, and love checking out new blogs. You have such a good reflection here- it must be nice to look back and see how much you have grown! I don’t have kids yet, but am certainly looking forward to it. It will be so nice to have posts like this to see how others have coped & grown!
Thank you! It is good to see how much I’ve grown, as well as how much he has, life can be so busy but it’s nice to stop and look how far you’ve come, and i do like to be honest so that if anyone else feels like I did, then they know they are no alone xx
What an amazing post!!! Thank you so much for joining in Share With Me, I have really enjoyed reading this as I too was the same when I first had my son. Everyday had to have a plan and I had to stay busy no matter what. Go for baby number 2. It’s easier the second time around. I was still so nervous the second time around how would I cope with two under two but it was easier. They play together, they help each other, they entertain each other. I love it! They both are so much fun and love each other so much it has really made it so much easier. I promise. Best of luck with whatever you choose. I enjoy getting to know more about you and your lovely blog each week. Thanks for the support and linking up! #sharewithme
Thank you and thanks so much for the insight into life with 2! That is definitely what I am hoping for so will keep you posted! xx
Oh Caroline, I’m still a wee bit like that, with the whole planning thing! My three are all at school and pre-school now, but holidays do fill me with a tiny bit of dread. So nice to know someone else has had the same experience! But you are right, it does get easier over time, and I’m sure some day I’ll be longing for them to pester me! E x
Oh I can imagine I will always feel a little like this but hopefully it will keep getting easier, then I am sure you are right and I will miss it! xx
If I’m honest I never especially enjoyed the first 9 months of either of my two. I struggled a bit for different reasons each time. I do a lot less with my son activity wise, but that’s partly because I know from my daughter that what really matters is just being together-the time whizzes by so quickly. I too am a planner though, so I do still organise things and am not keen on totally empty days, but when the weather improves all we need is the garden.
I can empathise with that, it was definitely after about the 9 month mark that things became more fun. Oh I am so looking forward to the warmer weather and all the fun we can have in the garden (once it’s finished!! :)) xx
Ooh, I can identify with almost every word of this brilliant post. Your weeks look v similar to ours, although we are not so lucky to have the grandparents that close! How fortunate monkey is to have such a well-organised mummy!
You are right, it’ll be a bit strange when my boy wakes up and says “mummy, I’d like to do X today… Not Y like you had planned!”
After recovering from acute mental illness (postpartum psychosis), getting out the house each day to do regular mummy and baby stuff (even just to the shops) was a massive part of recovery and getting back to the (new) normal.
Oh bless you I can completely understand how getting out the house must have been essential to finding a new normal. Becoming a parent is hard enough and having a mental health issue must have made it all the more difficult! We are very lucky having the grandparents so close, it has definitely helped with getting out of the house every day! xx
I often look back and think it is mad how much things have changed over the years, myself, my kids, time just doesn’t stand still does it!! #MMWBH x
It really doesn’t and you change so much without even realising it at the time! xx
In my experience siblings enjoy playing together and the more children you have the easier it is because they keep themselves entertained. Good luck with getting pregnant x
Ooh that is good to hear, hope it works out that way! Thank you xxx
A lovely post. I was only thinking over the weekend how strange it is now that O doesn’t always need my full attention. I managed to put away all the ironing and do a quick tidy upstairs whilst he was playing cars. Half of me is happy whilst the other half feels a bit sad he doesn’t need me in the same way. xx
Thank you, it is odd isn’t it, it’s great having that little bit more freedom…. but then it means they are growing up and ever so slightly away from you so I understand the sadness! xx
My health visitor said to me when i was in those slightly manic early weeks of my first child “you career girls always find it so hard to let go of control, and these weeks are about letting go and realising you don’t have control over your babies”. It was so true. I was used to managing projects and suddenly trying to plan days and activities around a little person, and when I relaxed into it a bit we enjoyed our plan-less days a lot more! I do think that having a plan made me feel like I was holding on to the edges of my sanity a bit more so completely get what you mean – and from experience it seems to change so much with each stage, and n.2 has been harder and easier at the same time! Good luck and thanks for linking to #AllAboutYou
Ha ha i think she was right it’s the lack of control that was hardest for me too I think, I never realised how much of a control freak I actually am! Plans definitely helped me hold on to my sanity though I am enjoying being a bit more relaxed now and relying on the plans slightly less. Thank you, we shall see what happens about number 2! xx
This is a fantastic post, I really enjoyed reading it. I must say I see myself in this a lot too. I do find it difficult if there is not some sort of plan, sometimes a week can seem really long before my husband is home for a weekend, I had convinced myself it was Friday this morning and then was really disappointed that it was Thursday!
Its difficult being a SAHM, much harder than I thought, I feel bad for admitting that but I wouldn’t change things for the world. Its nice to read that there are others who feel this way. xx
Aww no I hate it when I do that too!! A week with not much planned can sometimes seem to stretch before me like an eternity and I worry how I will make it to the weekend! Being a SAHM is much harder than I thought too and while I agree with you and wouldn’t it any other way, it is not easy! You are definitely not alone feeling like this, it’s always good to know we are in it together isn’t it! xx
This sounds just like me… I pull my diary out every night before bed and plan my day and I’m forever sourcing classes or mums catch ups! Doing nothing scares me!
I love hearing that other mums are the same as me, we have to keep busy! It is getting better now but we are both so much happier when he have something planned to do! xx
It sounds as though you have lovely busy days and you seem to have a wonderful relationship together. Adjusting to a new baby is hard any time, but the first time especially so. I am sure you will make a wonderful mother once more if you do have a second
x x x
Thank you so much for your lovely and very kind comment!I think you absolutely right about the first time adjusting to a baby being very hard, and I hope that it is slightly less hard with the second! I’ll just have to keep doing my best (as that’s all any of us can do!) and hope all turns out well! xx
What an amazing post! Motherhood is tough and being a girl who likes a plan of action herself, I am totally with you on the planning side of things.
Thanks so much for linking up. #MadMidWeekBlogHop
Thanks! It is tough, and I’m glad I am not the only one who needs a plan to stay sane! 🙂 xx