What I’ve learnt about motherhood so far…

jack and me

As I’m writing this Jack is nine weeks old. In just two months our lives have completely changed. It has taken some time to adjust and settle into our new life, but Jack is now well and truly a Dando and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Every day still feels like we’re taking part in Challenge Annika (sorry, old school), but it’s amazing to now see little Jack’s personality come through as he’s starting to shower us with his first smiles and chat to us in his own cute cooing language.

Motherhood really is like nothing else I have ever experienced in my life and it’s true you can never really describe it until you’ve been through it. I completely get now when people used to tell me being a mummy is a full-time job. You really do have to be on the ball 24/7, there is no off button.

When thinking about my next post and how I could capture what I’ve learnt about being a mummy over the past couple of months, I couldn’t resist the ‘full-time job’ comment so I thought I’d write a light-hearted job description for motherhood. Hopefully it’ll make you smile.

Job description for Motherhood

Job title: Mummy, Mum or Ma

Hours: Full-time, 168 hours a week

Salary: £0

Key skills required

  1. Can complete tasks using one hand

I’m writing this, yes you’ve guessed it, using one hand. My other hand is currently propping Jack’s bum up so he can have a nap on my shoulder.

Other tasks often completed with one hand are the housework such as hoovering and unloading the dishwasher to name a few, sterilising and making up bottles, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, doing my make-up, oh and I even attempted to put my trousers on with one hand the other day as Jack needed soothing. Now that took some skill! There’s a whole bunch of things I’m yet to master one-handed such as changing the bed, getting dressed, making the dinner and pushing the buggy, but I’m sure with time and perseverance these will be perfected.

  1. Can survive on four hours sleep

Forget talking about the weather, sleep is now the hot topic.

When someone asks how I am I now find myself replying with how many hours sleep I had the night before and what time Jack decided to wake in the night. Depending on the night, depends on my reply. Why is it that when you think your baby has cracked sleeping for longer they decide to surprise you and change the routine?

Also, why when they do decide to sleep through do us mummies still wake up every hour worrying that something’s wrong? Babies can’t win. We’re on edge and tired if they don’t sleep, and on edge and tired when they do sleep!

What amazes my previous ‘I love sleep’ self is that you can actually survive (ok in zombie fashion) on four hours sleep. It’s amazing how awake and alert I now feel at 2am, 3am, 4am and even 5am…I’m sure I’m more alert at these hours than when I used to go on a night out. I was always the one asleep in the corner as I couldn’t make it much past midnight. What? I love my sleep! (Well, used to anyway).

  1. Is very patient

My friends reading this will know I’m not a very patient person. Egg in particular I know this comment will make you smile as I remember numerous of times when you’ve laughed while we’ve been waiting in a queue – or at a bar- and I’ve become more and more frustrated as time goes by and you’ve had to give me a pep talk to calm me down. Well, beautiful baby Jack has certainly made me improve on this ‘skill’. Spending every hour of every day tending to Jack’s needs whether it’s feeding, soothing, entertaining, changing, bathing or cuddling to ensure the little man is happy and content takes a lot of patience. As the weeks go on I’m certainly managing to master understanding Jack, but it’s the testing times when you’ve tried everything and they’re still not happy – especially when this is at 3am in the morning – this requires a great big tank full of patience. I’m sure Jack always decides to give me one of his winning smiles at 3am because he know he’s testing mummy and a big grin will hit my weak spot to get him his cuddle.

  1. Is good at being a double act

Since Jack has been born, I can count how many times he has left my side on one hand.

For years I have been known as Abbie and gone to many places as Abbie. It seems two months ago my name changed to ‘Abbieandjack’. All invites are for Abbieandjack. No-one expects to see Abbie without Jack. It’s official Abbie and Jack are a double act and growing to be a fine double act at that.

  1. Are able to embrace your natural self

Make up, what make up? I haven’t seen the straighteners for at least two weeks (the exception being the wedding I attended at the weekend). And don’t even talk to me about a hairdryer, I’ve forgotten what one looks like. Pre-Jack I would never have left the house without a full face of make-up or my hair brushed and styled. Boy, oh how things change. Family and friends you’re just going to have to get used to my blonde eyelashes, black bags, and pale skin self.

The good news is Jack likes the sound of running water, so before you start thinking I’ve become some kind of tramp, rest assured I at least get to have a shower every day.

  1. Are always one step ahead

Be one step ahead and you’re winning!

Guessing what the little monkey’s next move is going to be always helps make my day so much smoother. I was so thrilled with myself the other day when Jack decided to drop off for a nap. About to put him down in his bed I suddenly realised that in just 20 minutes we needed to leave the house. Smugly I put him down in his car seat instead. Oh did I give myself a pat on the back when I managed to transfer him into the car peacefully without waking him!

Excuse me while I quickly go and make up his next feed…

  1. Are prepared to throw the rule book out

New to motherhood, I’m sure like most new mums I’ve read every book and website about how to look after your baby. Nine weeks in I’m realising that mummy really does know best, and if your baby is not following the rule book, throw it out and go with your gut.

  1. Like to drink coffee

I’ve learnt that mums who ‘do coffee’ don’t go for the coffee! I never used to be a big fan of coffee and cake until I started maternity leave. “Why do mums always go for coffee?” you may ask. It’s the reason to get out of the house, and that catch up with a friend (who more than often is also a mum) is one of the best support networks any mum can have. Walking away from a coffee date I always feel a weight lifted from my shoulders as you often learn that what your baby is doing is normal or discover a new tip to help with something you may be having difficulty with. We mums really do stick together.

  1. Can perform under pressure

Writing this makes me feel a little sick. Jack choked on his milk the other day. Now this was no normal choke where he was able to have a cough and a splutter and soothe himself – Jack stopped breathing and went limp.

Instantly jumping into action at 1am I had him upside down and was patting his back. Nothing was working. As Pete was about to dial 999, my instinct made me put my finger in his mouth to find his tongue was blocking his airways. He quickly came back around. Corr blimey that was the worst night so far. Suddenly the huge responsibility of keeping this little one safe, alive and well, hit me.

Training and qualifications

  1. Trained as an entertainer

Anyone else feel like they need to be trained as an entertainer? Keeping little Jack entertained and occupied when at home is no mean feat. We have various ‘stations’ scattered across the floor such as a play mat and a swinging chair along with various points of interest we know will keep Jack content in every room throughout the house. When at home, and when he’s not sleeping or feeding, I feel we’re like we’re constantly on one big entertainment circuit! Just call me Mr Tumble…

  1. Trained in first aid

After point nine I’ve signed up to a first-aid course. For years I’ve never thought I needed it. That was until now…

Benefits package

Paid in love, laughter, joy, smiles and happiness (sorry for going all soppy on you!)

So…are you up for the job? Of course you are! Oh and if you’re now feeling all sentimental after reading the benefits package, take a look at this. It’s an ad for ‘The Toughest Job in the World’. I promise it’ll make you cry.

Finally while I’m on appreciating things I’ve found online, this blog post ‘When Love Feels Heavy’ is a very honest and true reflection on being a mummy for the first-time. Hats off to you Coffee and Crumbs for writing it!

Lots of love…Abbieandjack xxx

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