I am obviously missing some of the core attributes you need to be a stay at home mum.
When I had my first child Conor (now 9) I can honestly say I was terrified that I would be a good mother to anyone, and didn’t feel I had a maternal bone in my body. I do not lie.
When I had given birth (I won’t WOW you with the details – but I do liken it to being hit head-on by a freight train) I didn’t cry with joy like they do in the movies. My first thoughts weren’t that he was the most beautiful baby in the world. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even ask what sex the baby was! I just recall saying ‘It’s really heavy, can someone take it for me’. I was so exhausted I didn’t think I could hold all 7 pounds of him. Anyway, I simply say that because it wasn’t text book Hollywood birthing.
I envisaged that I would be heavily occupied over the next few months, pacing the corridors at night with a screaming infant. I had no confidence in my parenting ability. In the first few weeks at home, I sat watching Conor laying close by, while playing round after round of spider solitaire on the PC. He was very sweet. He responded when I talked. He knew I was his mother more than I did. I was blown away by this. By the end of the first week I would have been devastated if you had tried to take him away.
It was all fairly easy, and I recall clearly that I got a big surprise with the change in occupation. The baby bit was nice (I expected it to be harrowing). The staying at home bit, cooking, cleaning was the worlds most thankless job (honey, do you notice what I spent three hours doing today? No? Cleaning the linen cupboard?). I found going to mum’s group nice for networking, but at the same time you can find yourself thrown in with people you may not normally choose for friends. After a short while I tired of listening to horror birth stories, or comparing how big my baby was to someone else’s, or musing over whether I was back to my pre-birth weight. I couldn’t give a toss really. I didn’t own any scales, so I couldn’t even tell you what my pre-birth weight was. If the clothes still fit – end of conversation.
So what is the point of all of these musings? I guess I learnt something really important about myself. I need to have challenges, projects, things to keep me busy outside of the mundane. Otherwise I go a tad silly and spring clean linen cupboards, and feel miserable doing it.
So this pregnancy, I was looking forward to the challenges I had set myself. One was to try and make sourdough bread. One was to use the pasta machine Mum and Dad gave me 5 years ago that I had never taken out of the box. Another project was to try new recipes (push the boundary from the usual 10 or so that I churn out).
Can I just say I have surprised myself with what I have achieved, and had a ball doing it. I also never realised I would enjoy writing about it so much as I have with this blog. I can highly recommend it to anyone that has the urge to put ‘finger to keyboard’ but has never tried.
Sadly, in a few weeks time it will all come to an end, and I will be back to work, back to ferrying children to creche and school, and back to pushing my face into someone’s armpit on public transport. But I have learnt so much, met such wonderful people and formed new friendships. This spell at home has changed how we do some things, and is a great foundation for continuing to make small changes for the better. I am sure these changes will be smaller than the last few months, but I will just do what I can. I am sure my blogs will dribble in at a much slower pace than the last few months (and for some that might be a blessing).
And, last but not least, I no longer have my favourite recipes and stories on scrap bits of paper floating about the place or in my head. They are here for you and me, should you ever want to peruse them!