After my 12 week scan when I was ready to triumphantly tell everyone I was finally expecting my first baby, some people took great delight in saying, it would change me completely. They didn’t seem to give the impression it would be a change for the better either.
To be fair most of these offenders were people I don’t associate with by choice. You know the same ones who I bump into at weddings or Tesco’s, who had nagged me pre IVF about my childless state and who now ask me if I fancy having another baby like a baby was another Latte at a Coffee Morning.
But I don’t think Motherhood has entirely changed me. I admit though there have been changes I have had to make for the sake of my babies. I don’t regret these changes, I made them because I wanted to but just for the record here are seven indulgences I have sacrificed in the name of Motherhood.
- Sleep. Please don’t worry I’m not going to rattle on about how sleep deprived I am. Its true, sleep is no longer a given but what really baffles me is now when I do get the opportunity, sleep doesn’t happen as easily as it used to and sometimes I am woken through no fault of my children. In my single days I used to live right under Heathrow’s flight path but would happily sleep through take offs, landings and pretty much anything else. Now I am woken and infuriated by something as innocuous as the soft sound of bird song. I’m also in awe of how as parents we can function with so little sleep and yeah ok I’ve been known to put the kettle in the fridge or Rice Crispies in the dogs bowl but even after the really bad sleepless nights I can still do basics like find the correct end of the baby to put the nappy on.
- Spontaneity. Remember the days when you could dash out the door with just a wallet, keys and phone? I now pack more for a quick trip to the park with my girls than I did for an overnight business trip. And last minute drinks late on a Wednesday night? A nursery night indeed? Well I can’t see them hapenning again soon.
- Sensitivity. I almost envy the honesty of Izzie, my 3 year old being able to say exactly what is on her mind without worrying about the very real consequences of crucifying someone else’s feelings. I realise the honesty of my children is nothing personal, I just hope everyone else does too!. Then there’s not rising to the bait of what other people say. Just the other day a lady commented how my 1 year old Jemima “doesn’t speak much for her age”. I haven’t sacrificed saracsm yet so I was able to tell this lady Jemima only partakes in conversation when the company is worthy enough.
- Self Indulgence. Sometimes I’d love a long hot bath instead of a quick shower. I now weigh up the consequences of that last glass of wine on a friday night wondering if the floaty feeling will be worth the headache if the girls wake up in the early hours. Or if I buy some really good cakes I now weirdly want to save the best ones for my girls.
- Silence. I never understood the expression “I can’t hear myself think” until recently. I love the sound of my girls giggling, the songs they sing, even the noisy games involving much shrieking and squealing, But sometimes late at night when they are in bed, I am still haunted by the words to “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes” or the theme tune to Timmy Time pounding in my head. I struggle to really remember silence as thankfully it doesn’t exist in my world anymore.
- Secrecy. Maybe privacy would be a better word but it doesn’t begin with S. Besides I now have no secrets and there is no privacy. Even trips to the bathroom are no longer private and anything that takes place here will be broadcasted to anyone within earshot. An IVF nurse once told me to leave my dignity with her but to be sure to collect it after childbirth. I never did remember to pick it up. Every indiscretion your child witnesses they will share. If for example in a moment of weakness you utter a swearword, your child will store this information and use it at the most inappropriate moment. Perhaps share the word with your Mother In Law or grass you up to the Head Mistress at nursery.
- Solitude. In the early days this is something I really thought I’d struggle with as I’ve always believed time alone is good for the soul. I still crave the odd hour to myself but I genuinely enjoy the time I spend with my girls. There are few people I’d rather be with plus I realise this time when they constantly need me is limited, I want to cherish it while I can.
So I look back at these indulgences with fondness but not the longing I would have anticipated. I look at the two small creatures who turned the calm into chaos and realise there’s nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for them. Giving up a few luxuries is a tiny price to pay for the happpiness and love they give me. I want my girls to look back on their childhood as some of the best days of their lives.
I’d like to look back on their early years as packed with as much fun and as few regrets as possible. I think there is a lot of truth in the saying discipline is better than regret. There’s another saying which I also think is worth bearing in mind and that is we should cherish our children, give them the love and time they truly deserve, as one day they could be the ones choosing our Old Folks home.