Motherhood is sacrificing your days to make sure another person is happy and healthy. At least that’s what I read somewhere.
Thus far, my biggest sacrifice of motherhood has been sleep. On the rare occasion our little man decides to have a longer stretch during the night I find myself jumping awake anyway, panicking to check that he’s OK ie. still breathing, not too hot/too cold and still in his Snuzpod where I left him (because in my perfectly logical, slumber free world I’m convinced that one night soon he’ll learn to pull himself up, climb out the Snuz, crawl across the bed, grab the house keys, drop to the floor and make a break for the front door…)
Despite all this irrationality, my sleep is a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Infact in my constant tired state I’ve even managed to convince myself that I like waking up in the night because it allows us to squeeze extra cuddles into the day (did I hear you say “delusional”?)
But anyway, I digress…
Trying to get through the day on minimum kip sure makes for some interesting activities. Just last Friday is the perfect example. After hearing lots of super creative Father’s Day ideas from the lovely ladies in my favourite baby group I felt obliged to do more for Mark than just wrap his BB-8 cookie jar in some silver paper and sign something cute in his card.
So, instead of taking my little (post-baby sensory) snoozer straight home and catching some kip myself, I raced to Tesco to get some children’s paint and decided to get a bit crafty. Now, I’m not actually at all crafty so this was my first error. My second was thinking that my (now easily stirred from slumber) four month old would stay asleep while I covered his foot in red paint (while he was still in his car seat) and tried to capture a footprint for his daddy’s father’s day card.
Almost as soon as I dabbed the paint underneath his foot ‘ping!’ those beautiful blues blinked open looking at me as if to say: “Mummy, what the hell?”
And then the kicking and wriggling began, I whipped him out of his car seat and out of his clothes and after a few attempts at a footprint in his daddy’s card (most of which were hastily removed with a water wipe because actually he didn’t want to do a footprint he just wanted to dance in the paint) it became clear I was going to have to lose my clothes too as I was getting caught in the crossfire.
Sitting on the living room floor in my bra and pants with a naked baby I allowed myself to think, only for a second, that we might be getting somewhere. Then the dog decided to join in. This conjures up cute images of doggy footprints in Mark’s card but the reality was actually Logan having a quick, up close and personal, sniff at a blob of red paint and then proceeding to print his wet, red, little nose on every (and any!) piece of pale furniture that we owned.
Thirty minutes (who’s kidding – an hour and thirty minutes) later and I glanced in admiration at our perfect little red footprints. Satisfied (or delusional) at what we’d achieved I decided to try and do an accompanying handprint. Ethan obligingly held out his hand for me to apply some purple paint but as soon as I had him covered he decided he was bored of accommodating mummy’s silliness and scrunched his fingers into a tiny little fist. By this point I was exhausted and ready to give in so I turned round to reach for the water wipes to begin an attempt at clearing up. I turned back (cannot have been more than two seconds later) to my little man covered in purple paint and sucking on his fist. Marvellous.
As if the prospect of purple baby poos wasn’t bad enough, my living room now looked like a crime scene. Fantastic.
Beyond the fear of purple poos, and being serious for a minute (my brain has no energy to be serious any longer than that), being a mummy has given me an amazing appreciation of everyone we have to help us. Maybe they’re not there to talk me out of attempting painted footprints on a Friday afternoon. But whether it’s my Nonna telling me what a fantastic job I’m doing (the nicest thing anyone can say to a new mum!), my Grandma commenting on my post-baby weight loss and my glowing skin (ahhh good old not having time to eat and a bit of warm day sweat!), Mark’s mum coming to the rescue when we need to de-paint on the downlow, the ladies from my baby group who are there to laugh at my misguided ventures and share their own, or every single one of Ethan’s grandparents, aunties and uncles who give me lovely little moments of sanity and adult conversation each week. And, of course, who can forget Ethan’s daddy – who thanked us lots for his lovely father’s day and tells me on the daily what a good job I’m doing at being a mummy.
There’s a reason they say ‘it takes a village!’ Most of the villagers are required just to convince mummy she can do it. Or at least stop her going insane from the combination of exhaustion, baby talk and endless cleaning up (admittedly sometimes after herself).
Now, off on our next Friday afternoon exhausted adventure we go!