When your pregnant you find everyone with a baby/ child wants to tell you something about being a parent. We welcomed it (without any eye rolls.) It was all new to us and we were accepting any advice, encouragement or warnings we could get. There tended to be two general opinions. Parents with grown-up children would always say something along these lines.
“Enjoy them while they’re young”
“Stay home with them as long as you can”
“Cherish the early years, don’t wish them to grow up”
However, parents of babies and younger children had less advice. Just three words.
“It’s really hard”
It got to the third or fourth person telling us this, and I went home and cried. Ok so it was probably the hormones, but I couldn’t get over how many people could only say this negative sentence. I was expecting motherhood to be this beautiful glowing experience where I would just stare at my perfect baby with hearts floating out of my eyes like something in a cartoon.
No, I didn’t actually think that. I knew it would be tough, that there would be crying, and poo, and sleepless nights and my world was going to change completely. But surely the first thought I’d have when talking to a soon to be mum would be to tell her how amazing it was.
Now when I’m asked how I’m finding motherhood, I have to fight back those three words. Not because it isn’t hard, or that I’m ashamed, but because it’s good to remind myself and others how amazing it also is. How lucky I am to have such a fun loving, healthy little boy, and how full he makes my heart feel.
But it is really hard and it is also so important to say those three words. Not to dampen a ‘soon to be mum’s spirit, but to let a new mum know she is not alone, it is ok to find it hard and it in no way means you’re a bad mum. However, we should also appreciate the not as hard times. When baby first giggles, the silly faces he pulls in photos and all those precious cuddles, that way, when we’re the parents of grown-up children, we’re not wishing we had enjoyed them whilst they were young and will have cherished the early years, just like our elders taught us.