You've read all the books, watched all the youtube videos and heard all the advice but can anything really prepare you for being a parent more than actually having a baby? The answer my friends is a big fat NO.
I thought I knew everything there was to know but there are definitely things you've got to learn on the job. So here's my round up of the things I've realised now I'm actually a parent for real.
1. You don't eat hot food
I don't know why but every single time dinner is ready, or we are out for lunch and food arrives it's like she knows. So it either then becomes a race to see who can finish their food first and get to her therefore not enjoying said hot meal, or if it reaches what we call Level 5 crying, aka mouth is open but no sound is coming out, who's going to have the cold meal that day. On the rare occasion she does sleep through we still shovel it down just in case she wakes up. See also; eating a meal that isn't cut up for you.
2.Changing nappies isn't that gross
I mean nobody likes changing nappies and I've been told they get worse once the solids are introduced but newborn breastfed baby poo doesn't really smell at all. I say breastfed because I cant talk for formula although I've heard they do smell more. I actually find it more fascinating that a baby is able to produce poo when it's only intaking liquid. One of the things I am amazed by is just how many nappies the girl gets through though, it seems like all we do is buy nappies these days.
3.'You Time' is out the window
I thought that I'd have time when Leigh had Rosalind to have five minutes to myself but when he does hold her I'm then just stuck doing all the unfun things like cleaning, or the necessary, like having a shower. As Leigh has pointed out I hate being on my own which is very true, but I guess it would be nice to not be responsible for a small human for like an hour as I've had exactly 5 minutes to myself in the last couple of months.
4. it's impossible to hold a conversation
I really have tried. My friend came to visit and I said talk to me, tell me about something other than babies! She started telling me about an upcoming trip abroad but of course Rosalind then needs feeding, nappy changing, rocking, I've looked at her and got distracted by her face...by this point I've lost the conversation thread and I'm asking my friend if she just saw that little smile, her story abandoned. It's even worse on coffee mornings with new mums because you are both doing the same thing so mostly you meet up to sit in silence adsorbed in your own child.
5. Mum brain is real
I can't remember a bloody thing. I thought it was bad in pregnancy but I just can't hold information. I'm having to write everything down and in my diary or I've forgotten in seconds. It's not just meetings/dates though, its words. The other day I said - you know that centre that holds plants, Leigh said - you mean a garden centre?! That'll be the one. Another personal fave - you know that black box that you plug into a computer and it holds all your pictures and things. The word I was looking for was hard drive by the way. Luckily Leigh and I have been together eight years so he's able to decipher what I mean on most occasions.
6. Travelling anywhere becomes very difficult
I have this idea in my head that I'm desperate to go to Oxford Circus shopping. But the thought of going on the tube with her, with no Leigh backup TERRIFIES ME. How many times over the last seven years of London have I hopped on a tube, and yet throw a baby in to the mix and even getting a bus fills me with dread (although to be fair I've always hated the bus). Also I now have to look for step free access stations or wear her which opens up lots more challenges as I then have nowhere I can put her down should I need to. She had her first tube trip the other day and I found it so stressful, especially when she started to cry 8 stops from the end. What am I going to be like in September when we fly together for the first time?
7. socialising is exhausting
I want so very much to be active. I want to give her the best opportunities and go to all the baby classes. I want my friends to see her grow and to not become a hermit and miss out on fun days out. My fear is people will stop inviting us to things because we aren't as fun as we used to be. The problem is I am absolutely exhausted if I have to do anything other than a short walk. I guess it's the problem of not only being always switched on and anticipating Rosie's cry but also making intelligent conversation. We were to the park the other day for 5 hours and I'm still recovering 3 days on. I'm meant to be making new friends but the obligatory small talk is just too much at the moment. I need comfort and ease and relationships where it's ok if someone hasn't said anything in 20 minutes.
8. People still give you unsolicited advice
'Did you have a water birth?' my plumber asked this morning, 'because if you have a water birth babies cry much less. My grandchildren were born in a birth pool and they never cry. You should ask for a water birth with your next birth.'
Firstly thanks for assuming I had any control over how my daughter came into this world ,secondly nice assumption that I want more children or indeed can have more and finally did I ask your opinion?! It seems the second you are pregnant or have a child people want to offer their advice. Don't get me wrong some advice is bloody brilliant and I think, 'why didn't I think of that!' It's especially worth it's weight when coming from another new mum but most of the time it's normally outdated and unnecessary.
9. hire a cleaner or Live in squalor for a few weeks/months/....years?!
Every single day I look around my home and think 'Argh!'
I'm not an overly tidy person but since I've been pregnant I've definitely been more so and that just isn't working with my current inability to get nothing done because she's constantly on me. There just never seems to be a spare moment in the day to tackle the washing up, put a wash on or tidy the living room clear of nappies that seem to multiple like hydra's head. I contemplated a cleaner but hello Mat Pay, so it looks like I'm just going to have to deal with it and teach Leigh in the art of cleaning to a Cara standard. I am aware its only going to get worse if more children come along!
10. you could never love anything more
They were right, there's no love like a mother's love and no way to compare it unless you have your own child. She's only been in our life for a short time but I'd run through birds to protect her (a massive deal as Ornithophobia is a real thing kids). Her little hesitant smile makes it all worth it...seriously. It sounds so darn cliched but there we have it. I've learnt that all my own wants and needs pale in comparison because nothing gives me more joy than fulfilling hers over my own.