Being a parent is by far the best thing I have ever done. It is incredible, amazing, utterly life changing and my girls make me smile and laugh every single day. But whilst being a mother brings such joy and makes the simple and ordinary things in life even better, it also is exceptionally challenging.
There are amazing days, there are good days and there are downright crappy days. Days where you question yourself and your abilities as a parent. Days where you feel like you are failing and where you breathe a sigh of relief when they go to sleep in the evening.
But there are also just ordinary days. And those are the days that they don’t tell you about when you are pregnant. You get told about the life changing moments or the moments where you want to hide under the covers and have a good cry. But no one mentions the ordinary days. The days where nothing remarkable happens, but where you have two small human beings to think about from the second you wake up until the second you go to sleep. There is no where I would rather be but while it is incredible, it is exhausting.
Being a parent is about learning to be selfless. About putting your children’s needs before your own. About letting go of the life you had before. And often you don’t realise just how much you have changed until you are faced with a faint glimmer of the old times.
This weekend I was a bridesmaid at one of my best friend’s weddings. Our stay ‘up North’ involved three different hotels in three different nights. Three check in’s, lugging suitcases, buggies, two small children and other paraphernalia up the stairs. Three check out’s carrying the same things down again just twelve hours later. Three nights of sleeping on top of each other in cramped hotel rooms, dealing with disrupted routines, no naps and late bedtimes.
At the wedding there was not much time to sit and socialise, not much time to sip champagne and reminisce about the old times. There were our girls to feed, to watch, to play with. Girls who have a bedtime of 7pm and who by 9pm were tired and wanted to go to sleep. Mr E went back to the room with them while I carried on having a few drinks and a dance with my friends. But as I danced with my childless couple friends and a couple of my single friends too, it was a real reminder of just how different life is now.
If you had told me three and a half years ago that I would be sat on the toilet of a Premier Inn bathroom at 9pm, eating McDonalds chicken nuggets whispering to Mr E so as not to wake up our little ladies sleeping behind the closed door, I would never have been able to imagine it. (Classy!)
But these are our ordinary moments now we are parents. This is real life parenting at it’s very best. It’s not always plain sailing, it’s not always easy and it certainly isn’t always picture perfect memories of happy smiling families grinning cheesily at the camera.
It’s about learning as you go along and about relishing and laughing about those funny little moments that make you contemplate just how different your life has become.
And that make you realise that even though things aren’t always easy there is absolutely no where else you would rather be.