I remember the week before I gave birth to my son Billy, I cleaned. The bathrooms, the kitchen, the floors, the skirting boards. It was extreme nesting and a bit obsessive to be fair. As my due day came and passed each day after felt like an eternity. I felt completely out of my comfort zone (my comfort zone generally being the one where I am in control and know exactly what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and what the plan is in the event that it doesn’t happen). The lack of certainty, the waiting and the fear were overwhelming to say the least. In a bid to pass the time quickly, I focused on all of the things that I could control. I cleaned, organised, made lists, packed and repacked my hospital bag, cooked new recipes, blogged and washed the tiny baby clothes my baby would be wearing shortly. It was all go. I think I was probably part of a minority of women who actually “laid out” an outfit that I would wear when I went into labour. Even down to hair clips and bobbins. They were all neatly folded on the bed in the spare room, waiting to be proudly worn for the big event.
I felt very together, if you will. I couldn’t have felt more ready to bring my baby home to my organised house where the laundry was folded and the recipe books were in alphabetical order. I spent time considering how I would keep the house tidy by doing the housework while the baby slept, and sure wouldn’t I get a great rest at night when the baby slept for ten hours straight? I was all sorted. Everything was under control. I just needed my baby. I had spent the last nine months dreaming about meeting him. I couldn’t wait to bring him home and show him the carefully ironed babygrows that were waiting for him in his lovely Ikea wardrobe. And wouldn’t he be only delighted that I had everything so organised and tidy? He’d appreciate the effort for sure. He would be just like me.
And then that fateful day was here. The arrival of my beautiful son. And with his arrival came the biggest life lesson of all. And that is to just “go with it”. Never did I think I would utter those words let alone adopt it as a life philosophy. I'm writing this as a former control freak. Suddenly life was about the smiles and the sticky fingers. The new baby smell and the hiccups. The naps and the noises. A skirting board had never looked so dull. And so I embraced the mess, hid the ironing board, and gave myself permission to be a mother. And that was probably the biggest surprise of all. You see, to be a mother is not about being the perfect cook, housewive, and cleaner. It’s not about the organised drawers and the perfectly balanced meals. It is to nurture, to love and to enjoy.
Many years from now you will look back at this time with wiser eyes. You will remember the magic, the cuddles and the all-consuming love that comes with the privilege of being a parent. You’ll remember the coffee, the cake, and the afternoon naps. The hoover won’t make the cut.
In the seven months since becoming a mother I have learned many things, but the biggest lesson of all has been to “just go with it”. Time has slowed down, plans are now modest, and for the first time in my life I am living in the best place of all, the now.
Children do that, you know. They have an incredible ability to show you what is truly important in this life. So for now, just “go with it” OK? Sit down, grab a cuppa, forget the dishwasher, and embrace all that is truly important in life. Be mindful. And as your baby looks in to your eyes, remember that to them you are perfect, the reason their smile shines, and if they could speak they would tell you that you are doing an amazing job!
Labels: birth, cleaning, cooking, fatigue, housework, parenting, pregnancy, pressure, sleep