10:08am on the 15th July 2015, I officially became a mother, did I feel like one? No… I felt like a beautiful tiny new human had magically appeared in our lives and while I was besotted and fiercely protective of her, I still kept feeling like she was just here visiting, much like my nieces and nephews often did.
As my tiny human grew, so did my protection of her, I felt this beautiful little girl so new and innocent should never witness the reality of the harsh world we live in. I would cringe if other children cried in her presence, I hated the idea of her knowing someone was upset. Our house became a sanctuary of classical music, I’m a hip hop girl but, there wasn’t a chance I was risking her hear the anger in some of the lyrics! The only time the TV was on was if she were asleep or if we played nursery rhymes. My husband was on the receiving end of much of my paranoia, I mean, how dare he watch Game of Thrones with our 4 week old in the room, what IF she was able to focus her eyes enough on the tv across the room and witness a violent scene, she would be scarred for life… wouldn’t she?
My world became consumed with what ifs, they started to take over me and the pressure began to grow inside.
I was determined to be this ‘perfect mother’, which in my scrambled brain meant the following;
- To be with tiny human / available to her 24/7
- To give her only good home cooked meals
- To ensure she never goes without, tiny human must be pristine with pretty bows and dresses every day!
- To make enough money by working around the clock incase I ever see anything she ‘may’ want / need, she would have it before she even realised. (I believe to normal people without scrambled brains this would be known as spoiling rotten!)
In reality I became an exhausted wreck.
To all the single Mamas, showing the world how it’s done… I bow down!!! My beautiful, innocent, sweet tiny human had a cry that could shatter windows and once her milk intolerance started to show it’s true colours she would cry often, and loud! She hated the car seat, hated the pram and hated to lie flat. She would take her naps on my chest and indoors we stayed, just us two in our little cuddle bubble until Daddy came home.
I pushed away my friends and refused to leave the house.
The home cooked meals I spent hours preparing had a tiny chubby nose turned up at them and when I managed to prise her jaw wide enough to taste the beautifully pureed butternut squash, she spat it out… Ella’s Kitchen, however, she adored! Things were not going to plan!
The difficulty of wanting to spend 24 hours a day with your tiny human whilst building a one woman empire and needing to work 18 hours a day is, it’s not quite possible. Well not unless your tiny human is a doll who will happily sit silently while you work, my tiny is certainly not like that! I felt constantly torn, I was working my bum off to build a photography business whilst not wanting to miss a single second. I would scour the internet for research during the night feeds and then cry myself to sleep that I hadn’t spent that time just breathing in her babyness. She would never be as young as she was during that time, and I’d wasted it trying to build a better life for us.
Soon it was time for me to return to the real world of work as my maternity leave ended I returned to my HR job for a large retail company and the pressure was on.
Weekly to do list;
- Spend every second with tiny human
- Build photography empire
- Research, learn, grow and be the best in the industry
- Go to real job so we can actually pay the bills
- Don’t forget to feed the dog… oh and the husband!
I started to drown.
One night I became so desperate for a full nights sleep, I climbed into tiny human’s tiny cot so I didn’t have to sit on a stool cradling her all night and, yes, the cot broke, myself and tiny human fell through the cot onto the floor. Daddy awoke to language rich in expletives followed by tears… lots of tears.
The following week we took tiny human for a day at the museum, it was bank holiday and packed! There were families everywhere and it was difficult to get around in the crowds. We decided to take a break away from the chaos and journeyed upstairs to the cafe for some lunch. I began to unpack tiny humans lunch, bowls, spoons, cups, bottles, food, fruit… who knew these tiny people could need so much stuff for a simple meal! But found no bib, the room span and I felt every single mother in there looked at me as a failure. Here I was kidding my self that I was a mother when I had failed to bring a bib to protect my child from the horrors of baby food stains.
Looking back now I don’t think a single person glanced our way, and if they did it was probably only to admire our chubby cheeked tiny.
Was it really the end of the world we didn’t have a bib? No. Did it make me a bad mother? Definitely not! But did I retreat to the ladies for the next hour and sink into a hole of self pity? Yes.
Things had to change!
I made an appointment to see my GP who agreed I was a bit loopy la la and gave me some magic happy pills and sent me on my way. I felt amazing! This would solve everything! I could finally be the ‘Perfect Mother’.
Had she maybe told me not to put so much pressure on myself and that I was doing a great job? Did she mention I was setting unrealistic goals and my tiny human clearly had everything she needed? Maybe… Did I listen?
The next few month’s followed a similar pattern of highs and lows.
I’m in a lucky enough position to have a wonderful family around me who showers our tiny human (and me) with love and affection. She has the best Daddy possibly to ever walk the earth who has endless amounts of patience (you’d have to, marrying me right?). But still I’ve struggled to accept help at times and struggled to trust that anyone else could possibly provide the same level of care I can for our tiny human, in reality they are probably better as they don’t have loopy la la heads but shhhhh.
In September I did the best thing imaginable for my family, I walked out of my security blanket HR job on a whim. Yes I spent the next week in tears desperate to return to the place I hated so much, the place I cried every day going to because it meant I would have to say goodbye to tiny human and sit in an office without mobile phone signal while she splashed in the paddling pool with daddy having the time of her life. I cried… hard! You know those toddler cries, where you whole body shakes and your lungs produce that horrible whaling noise. I literally took our families security and threw it away, we would loose our house, our lovely things, we would be in millions of pounds of debt and angry debt collectors would come knocking on our door demanding we hand over tiny.
Luckily none of the above, I had actual time. More time for tiny human, more time for my Photography Empire (I say empire because, come on, I don’t do anything by halves, watch this space!) and more time for me. I remembered my husbands name again and had time to wash my hair!!! In more ways than one we were better off and my relationship with my tiny human flourished.
My guilt started to subside and I was able to cherish our time together whilst enjoying my working days too, knowing I was right there if there was an emergency.
When Christmas came along I spent oodles on an array of gifts for tiny, each one unboxed and set up ready for her to enjoy Christmas morning, in the centre of them all, a monkey (Daddy had bought). That monkey was very much appreciated by tiny who ran to it, chubby arms wide shouting Monkeeey, Monkeeeey!!! Everything else, meh.
Over time my tiny human has stretched, her chubby arms and cheeks have started to take a new slender form and in turn, I have grown too.
This tiny beautiful girl has taught me my ‘Perfect Mother’ list is a load of codswollop! She has shown me, I already am the perfect mother, not because I have showered her with toys, not because I have lived up to the impossible expectation I set my self, but because I love.
I can honestly say I love my little Tiny just about as much as any person ever could love another, I have given her my soul and expected nothing in return, she is fed, she is cared for, she is happy but most of all she is loved.
I decided to write this post after another mum confided in me she wasn’t feeling great after giving birth to her tiny and felt alone, she couldn’t believe when I told her I was the same.
Every day is a struggle for me, the struggle to perfection and the constant battle with myself over my time spent away from Tiny, the past week I was ready to climb under a duvet and hide from the world for the rest of forever but after some quality time with my Tiny human I am ready to take on the world again!
For all the mums trying to be that ‘perfect mother’!