I imagined motherhood to be pretty similar to how it is in yoghurt adverts. A gorgeous well-manicured, fashionably dressed, perfect-haired, youthful looking mum (which would obviously be me) scooping up smiling, adoring children as they migrate from room to room in their scandinavian-styled spotless house. Sure there’s toys everywhere but even those are trendy and well placed and hey, that’s the sign of a well-lived in home. Right?
When I’m not working my mummy mornings are mostly spent in pyjamas scooping up toys or things which will harm/permanerntly maim my little one and trying to figure out what my adorable infant wants/ needs/ just fancies screaming about. My hair is getting to the point of shameful and as for my clothes I still ponder daily whether it is acceptable to still be hiding my post-baby belly in maternity clothes (the answer is yes as far as I’m concerned).
But I don’t care. I have an adorable, mostly-smiling toddler who has given me a new perspective on EVERYTHING. They say becoming a mum changes you ( in the same way they say travelling helps you find yourself) and while these generic, profoundly hippy statements normally get me reaching for the nearest wine glass (ready to down, smash and flail as a weapon to anyone who wants to nod sagely and give me a motivational quote) I must admit they’re true. In an infuriatingly inexplicable way.
As I sit here and try to articulate exactly what it is about me that has changed I struggle to come up with the words (and not purely because of sleep deprivation). Everything that interested me before I couldn’t care less about. And I mean that in a good way. What I have come to learn is that it is the little things that are really important.
New mums tend to be a competitive breed. Is she eating solids yet? Is she walking yet? Is she sleeping through the night yet? Is she reciting the complete works of Shakespeare whilst teaching long division in Russian yet? You get the idea. While the big milestones are important, for me the real joy is in the little things. My eyes well up when she feeds her teddy bears as if they’re babies, the way she rests her head on my shoulder and curls my hair around her finger, the way that she waggles her finger ‘no’ just before she’s about to do something she knows she shouldn’t.
I’m also in love with her elbows, they make me laugh because they’re little. And the perfectly defined groove in the back of her neck which she loves you kissing. And the cute little bands around her wrists that look like she’s wearing elastic bands as bracelets and let her chubby little arms look even chubbier. She’s perfect even with all her imperfections (Ugh I’m dangerously close to a John Legend song…) so the next time her sticky little fingers reach up to take my hand and I see that scrunched up little smile I instantly forget the fact that she refuses to let me sleep or my beautifully thought out apartment now looks like a bomb has hit it. Twice.
As each day passes all her little things suddenly are getting a bit bigger. She clings on a little less, she learns a new tool to help her in her quest for independence and the pencil marks on the wall get a little higher. And as she gets bigger, as a mum I can’t help but wish she’d stay little for just a little more.