I still remember my very first parenting disaster; in fact it is so clear it is almost like it happened yesterday. My eldest daughter must have been just over six weeks old and it was the first proper time I was taking her out in the car and into the city near where we live on my own. As I had ended up having a c-section, I wasn’t able to drive until after six weeks, so previously to then whenever we had gone shopping my Mum or Jon had driven instead. But this particular morning I was off to visit my office where I worked, show off Mads to my colleagues and then meet up with my friend for lunch. Everything was going swimmingly, she was a hit in the office amongst my work mates, and my friend and I were having a lovely catch up on all the office gossip over a lunch time pizza. She was heavily pregnant herself at the time and I remember chatting to her about how I was finding being a first time Mum, how some days seemed to go well and some days felt overwhelming, when suddenly I felt a warm vibration against my thigh.
Now even after just six short weeks of being a Mum, I already knew that this signalled some sort of disaster in the nappy area. However I really wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I lifted her up off my leg, and already there was a large brown patch forming on my jeans. It was literally everywhere. My friend said to grab some wipes and we will go and sort her out. Except looking in my changing bag, I realised I hadn’t packed wipes. Nor had I packed any spare pampers. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I also hadn’t packed any spare clothes, and this unfortunate accident was everywhere – literally all up her back. Total Motherhood Fail! Even to this day, two other children later with some more amusing situations under my belt, I still have never experienced anything like this one.
My friend did what any true friend would do in this situation, and started half laughing/half crying with laughter. I grabbed a load of napkins for Mads to lie on in her pram, as I sure wasn’t getting my practically brand new pram covered, and we hot footed it to Mothercare which luckily happened to be just downstairs, to see if we could sort out this crisis. I have never been so thrilled that Mothercare stock nappies and wipes (Pampers of course!). I also bought her a new baby grow, so at least there was one bonus out of this disaster, and I will never forget handing over my bank card to the shop assistant and seeing that there was poo all congealed in my wedding and engagement rings. Definitely not one of my finest moments, but since then I have realised the importance of making sure you never leave the house without at least a couple of spare nappies and a pack of wipes. Of course since then I have had many a tricky parenting situation and many messy moments but I’ve also made so many incredible memories of raising my three babies.
As it was Mother’s Day on Sunday, Pampers (who you will know by now I am working with as part of being on the #PampersBabyBoard this year) have asked me to spend a moment or two reflecting on my memories as a Mum. Of course raising three babies has been the ultimate privilege. I still remember the day I met all three of my babies. I can remember lying on that cold hospital bed, in that unfamiliar room with machines bleeping, and never wishing so hard for anything in my life. The feeling of hearing that cry is like nothing you can imagine. Being able to hold that person you have thought about every day for the last nine months for the first time. The love you have for that little person staring back at you with their blink, blink, blinking black eyes is so surreal, yet so overwhelming at the same time. In one small second you experience so many emotions- love, fear, confusion, happiness, sadness, and so much more, all in one go. To realise that life will never be the same again, life will be incredible, life will be downright scary and life will be all that and more.
I remember with our first daughter that the midwife saying ‘Right Dad I think it’s time to get her changed’ and we had no idea what we were doing so we sort of just waited until she instructed us to do things. We were total amateurs and hadn’t even really been around many babies before. Jon lay our little girl in between my numb legs and got out her first outfit, the one that I had painstakingly chosen as her first outfit she would ever wear. He got one of the new, New Baby Pampers nappies out, we had spent time saving up and buying packs over the previous few months so we were organised for when she arrived, choosing Pampers knowing that it was the best protection for her skin. We laughed as he nervously held her little sparrow legs and put the nappy on her. Jon changed all three of our babies for the first time, putting on their nappies and their little outfits, while I lay back emotional, happy, very overwhelmed and so incredibly proud of our little family. It sounds silly but it is a memory I find very precious, I liked that in the midst of it all he was the one to do such an important milestone for all three of them.
So what are my words of wisdom to anyone who is soon going to become a parent? Quite simply mine is this… There are two ways to look at one ordinary day of parenting. You can focus on everything that went wrong… the guilt you feel for one reason or another (and you will feel guilt, that’s part of the course when it comes to motherhood), the squabbles in the back of the car over each of them wanting the same toy, the umpteen times throughout the day you raised your voice, or the fact that healthy dinner you cooked might as well been thrown back in your face for the response it got. There will be plenty of ‘those’ days.
Or you can focus and meditate on your blessings, the giggles as you play together on the living room rug, all the times you smile as your baby can’t help but only want to play with the remote control even though they have a million toys, those intoxicating after nap sleepy snuggles, or the look in those sparkly eyes as they laugh so hard over something as silly as you doing a funny dance. Motherhood isn’t always plain sailing. Sometimes it’s the toughest job you’ll do.
But it’s definitely always worth it.
(I love these photos that Jon took of the two of us, I usually hate the way I look in photos but with these I can look past the eye bags and wrinkles and see the love between me and my boy)
NB: We are working with Pampers over the course of the year, but all words and opinions are entirely my own. Pampers has loads of great advice online, check out the website for more details www.pampers.co.uk