Hey Fi circa 2015
I’m Fi from three years down the line. This time three years ago you were awaiting the arrival of your first baby, who unbeknown to you was a beautiful boy; Josh. You had no idea what was to come over the next three years. So I thought I’d run you through it and reassure you that you are about to become a seriously good Mum.
Of course whilst pregnant you’d read all the books, written the birthing plan and hell, even created this little blog which will become such a haven for you. But babe you have no idea whats ahead of you. Let me just give you a couple of reality checks:
“I’ll limit the amount of TV my child watches”.
No love you will be heavily reliant on a weird blue non speaking puppet that goes by the name of Iggle Piggle and gives you a blessed 17 minutes to do washing, run the bath or (most likely) eat chocolate and neck a glass of wine in the kitchen. TV becomes a godsend. Accept it. And be grateful for it! If it wasn’t for Hey Duggee you wouldn’t eat breakfast in the mornings!
“I’m not moving everything, they’ll learn not to move things and not touch what I tell them”.
You’re an idiot. And most people you said this too will have nodded politely but thought “you’re a twat”. You will have to move everything. Absolutely everything. This goes for cat food too – your daughter is quite the fan of that….
“I’ll sleep when the baby sleeps” OK I’ll give you this one to a point because yes you’ll try. And you’ll be so grateful of the rest for all of 120 seconds. Then you’ll remember the tumble dryer needs emptying/ you haven’t eaten in 6 hours/ this may be your only opportunity in months to watch Emmerdale. So you’ll get up. Then you’ll piss about on Instagram, do none of the things you wanted to do and be exhausted anyway. Buying a coffee maker was a smart move.
Also just so you know, any time you even remotely consider going for a shower, your baby will start crying. I say this 3 years down the line trying to write this blog post and merely thinking “I might run up for a shower” to which I immediately heard Holly start whinging on the monitor. Babies are the masters at psychic powers and have every intention of messing up any plans you have in your head for you time.
Having said all that,you should also know you’re doing a sterling job despite your doubts. You’ve learnt to cook (who knew Miss I take the rice out of the bag to make boil in the bag rice), you’ve learnt to give zero fu*ks about people staring whilst you breastfeed in public, you’ve managed not to divorce your husband despite wanting to drop kick him from here to next week when you see him sleeping peacefully whilst the baby is screaming for the 17456th time that night and you’ve survived your baby vomiting in your mouth whilst playing aeroplane with him (a mistake you have made sure not to repeat with Holly).
Most importantly you’ve learnt it does get easier. Of course the second it does, the baby moves the goal posts and it gets hard again but once again it will become easier and you will realise you’re bossing this Mum life.
Lots of people say becoming a parent changes you. For you, it was the making of you. It’s made you into the person you were meant to be. Which, whether you believe it or not, is a bloody good Mum. You didn’t feel like that at first after having Josh. In fact you felt pretty damn lost. It was a head wreck; you’d read the books, you were prepared right….? Um no. Not a single book in the world can prepare you for sleep deprivation, bleeding nipples and accepting that showers will always be interrupted with the words “I think he’s hungry”. It’s OK though; you sensibly recognised that the way you were feeling wasn’t quite right around the six week mark and you went and got some advice which instantly made you feel better. There is something quite magical about that six week mark; you seem to feel that little bit more confident and braver.
And thank goodness it does get a bit easier because when Josh is about three weeks old you sit the husband down and tell him quite frankly there will be no more children. The mere thought is terrifying. It’s OK though – it’s normal to feel this as a first time Mum who has gone from napping as much as she wants during the last trimester of her pregnancy to a sleep deprived Mum who celebrates a three hour sleep at night like it’s a lottery win! Also hun, your hormones are going mental. They’re quite insane – you’ll cry at dog food adverts, have irrational rage at your husband for having the freedom to shower for more than 7 seconds and you’ll probably weep during those peaceful night feeds when you look at Josh and he looks back at you so happy and content.
As for the no more children chat, well honey that was a waste of time. Because this year you welcomed baby number two; a little girl called Holly. Simply put, she is friggin beautiful. She popped into the world, via the sun roof (yeah, after Josh’s birth, which by the way you kicked arse at for 40 hours before having to have an emergency section, you realised a planned section was the way forward with number two) albeit she cocked up your “being prepared” plan and sent you into labour a week before the planned section date. Still you got to hospital in good time, despite your somewhat insane attempts to just try and crack on with labour through the night so you didn’t have to disturb your Mother in Law to come and sit Josh till the morning… you lasted till 2am before you realised shit was getting real and it was time to go in and thank goodness you did – you were in theatre by 5 and Holly arrived at 5.36am.
So yeah, now you’re two kids down the line. And yes, now you’re definitely done. To have one of each is everything you ever dreamed of. You’re a very very lucky woman.
You’re also a very very strong woman. You’ll rarely admit this because for the most part you just see yourself as being a Mum and doing your best. It’s not easy for any parent, despite the perfect pictures you see on Instagram that occasionally taunt you (why can’t I keep my house that tidy, why am I not that well made up every day, why don’t I have a perma smile on….. you’ll quickly learn that for the most part it’s all crap. No ones house is always as tidy as an Insta shot, you’re not that well made up every day because when it comes to those spare 5 minutes in the morning a cup of tea is always going to win over a curling wand, and you’re not perma smiling cause frankly that’s just a crazy look and borderline creepy)! But I can’t lie, you’ve got some tough challenges ahead.
Josh has autism you see. You have no idea, not till between 12 and 18 months, that something is amiss. It’s the lack of speech that sets alarm bells ringing for you, even though absolutely EVERYONE tells you to wait till he’s two to be concerned. But there’s other things; the lack of pointing, clapping, waving, the obsessiveness over certain colours and toys. You know that something isn’t quite right, because you’re his Mum. And there really isn’t anything stronger in the world than mothers instinct….. well apart from mothers love which is something that engulfs every part of you and never leaves.
We all know writing this letter now it’s not like I can advise 2015 Fi because, well I’m her (duh) only three years later. But if I could, I’d tell her to do what she did anyway; fight, fight, fight. Don’t be deterred by long waits (there’s going to be lots of them – you’ll learn patience you weren’t aware you even possessed cause lets face it, patience has never been a strong point). You are going to get hurdles thrown your way. You’ll have to make many many nagging phone calls, and refuse to back down. Because you know what’s best for Josh. And you’ll get there.
You will have absolutely hellish days. All parents do, but yes yours will sometimes be off the scale. You will sob cause you won’t understand why a trip to the park always ends in a meltdown that causes your son such distress. You’ll sob because you’ll feel lost and as though you have no idea what you’re doing (which incidentally you shouldn’t feel because you are actually doing all the right things). And you’ll have days when you’ll feel one of the most shameful emotions as a mother, you’ll feel envy. You’ll be jealous of your friends children who are chatting, who are playing together or at least alongside each other without becoming frighteningly overwhelmed, who are eating at the table, who are potty trained.
But it won’t last long. You’re not an idiot, despite being the sort of person who has left the house wearing two entirely different shoes and who has also, somewhat famously, asked what colour the red arrows are…….! My point is you’re not stupid enough to waste time and energy with these negative feelings You know your energies will be better directed at helping Josh and you do a damn fine job of it. And now, a mere few days before he turns three, you are being rewarded in the most incredible way. His speech is coming along beautifully and he spends the vast majority of his day singing nursery rhymes to you. His understanding of things you say to him has come on in leaps and bounds and he no longer wants to just throw around the flash cards you show him to prompt his little voice, he is now pulling them out of the packet and saying the correct words to you.
He is doing so well. And that is down to you and Sam.
It’s not easy, especially now you have two. Holly is like you… demanding of attention and food!!! She is a boob monster and you’re still having to get up with her in the night. But you’re doing it; you’re coping and you do it with a positive attitude. It’s OK to vent sometimes to Sam or your friends that sometimes you’re so emotionally drained by it all. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel that way. But when it comes to being Josh and Holly’s Mum, you are without question, the best person for the job. That fact will seem so far from your mind on the difficult days, when you’re convinced you’re doing everything wrong but it’s important you pull yourself together sometimes and recognise just what a good job you’re doing.
Yes, the journey is a little different from what you envisaged this time three years ago. You had no idea what lay ahead. But you take it in your stride, you deal with it (even on the days you’re having a cry) and you cope. It’s important to remember that you may have had a different journey from your Mummy friends, but when you look at Josh and Holly it doesn’t matter. Your journeys are all unique, you all learn from each other and you are on the journey that’s been the making of you and made you the best Mummy Josh and Holly could ask for.
Well done Mama.