We are one: things I’ve learnt in a year of parenting

 

My family and I one year in

Well, we made it, my little family and me. That’s one full year under our belts. A year of highs and lows. A year of love in the infinite degree. A year of soul searching and redefining who I am as a person, a wife and a mother.

I’ve already covered lots of lessons in my Motherhood: expecting the unexpected post, but as with everything when you become a parent, THERE IS ALWAYS MORE.

However, I have set myself an intention this year: to see the positive in every day no matter what. And so, I’m going to try and throw away my cloak of facetiousness for just a minute (don’t worry it will be back with a vengeance, we started day care this week…) and talk about all that has been good about becoming a mum.

1. Watching Janis become a dad. Just add baby.

Janis is a very particular sort of person. He is annoyingly good at everything he tries to do but he’s a little bit socially awks, a lot process driven, very organised and needs to know the minutiae of any plan to be able to cope with the day. And not that I had any doubt that he would be a great dad but I just didn’t know how it would go exactly. And I can honestly say I watched an instant dad be born too, he was an instinctive father from the get-go and I’m so lucky to have him by my side.

Stand out moment:

Watching him, exhausted, forgoing any chance of sleep by cuddling a sleeping, bedraggled Frankie on our recent flight back to the UK. ALL THE FEELS.

2. The kindness of strangers

I found it so weird when people got SO excited about my baby bump. And then about my baby. I was like….right…but you do know this is MY baby right? And like, we hardly know each other..? But some days, that kind smile, those lovely words of encouragement, that cooing over my little bundle could be the thing that made me smile on a very wobbly, rocking in a corner kind of a day.

Stand out moment:

People leapt up to help me on and off of trams or up steps to cafes (and I was honestly attempting them myself, not looking for help) and I was always SO grateful and so filled with the beauty and love of human kindness when maybe I’d had no sleep and had sore boobs and none of my clothes fitted.

3. Motherhood: it’s a sisterhood

This one was a bit of a surprise to me. There is undoubtedly competitiveness in parenting, even if you don’t want to be you sort of can’t help but at least FEEL some sometimes. Some women are so clearly competitive (even if they don’t really realise it) that it can be exhausting keeping up with it all. BUT…in amongst all of that, pretty much no matter what, another mum can almost always say the right thing in a crisis. And it’s roughly this:

It will be OK. It will get easier. But I totally understand how you feel.

And I’m talking everyone from my own mum, to my friends with several kids, to my newest mum friends to complete strangers. We ALL feel it, we all know when to deploy those words and we all mean it. It’s a verbal hug and it’s amazing.

Stand out moment:

My breastfeeding article is by far my most searingly honest and popular post and I had some just lovely messages of support from old friends and new online acquaintances. So many women felt like me and reached out to tell me that, making me feel even more validated in my need to share it. Magical.

4. The joy Frankie brings others

So a bit like the kindness of strangers, watching the people who love us burst with joy when Frankie is around is a wonderful thing. It feels like you are giving a gift to people just by doing something you really want to do. Our parents and my sole surviving Grandma in particular. As I think I’ve mentioned before, my parents never thought this day would come and I’m pretty sure Janis’s felt the same. They are completely gaga over her and watching her with them is just lovely. But not just them, also my wider family and best friends. Basically, people who care about us, care about her and find her magical. I couldn’t agree more obvs.

Stand out moment:

Wow so many to choose from but with us being long distance watching Frankie work out that the people she’s been seeing on screen are people in real life was pretty special. But more than that, coming back and her reaction to them on screen is just amazing, so excited and happy to see them which of course, makes the distance easier to bear.

5. Finding myself

Don’t roll your eyes, I can see you doing it. But really. I really did find myself. I really have. I’m still discovering more but THIS version of me is the me I’m supposed to be. THIS person who sacrifices for her daughter and takes a lot less bullshit and is so much more honest with herself and others.

I’ve done a lot of soul and purpose searching since motherhood took me so much by surprise. I’ve started my Beautiful You Coaching Academy course which has of course led to a lot of the self-exploration I’m doing, but that would not have happened if I hadn’t questioned the whole structure of my life now Frankie is in it. It’s like a Pandora’s box, it’s the next dimension of me that I was hiding behind being the life and soul of the party. I’ve also realised that I’m actually an ambivert and I’ll be covering this in a post soon too.

Stand out moment:

Honestly had quite a massive OH SHIT while on a coaching call with Julie Parker. It was a pretty tough conversation about my inner mean girl but it needed to be had. I’ve learnt a lot in the hours of nothingness that is sometimes being an at home mum, alone with my own voice in my head – I’m my own worst enemy in so many ways and I need to work on that. So I am.

6. Love like I can’t describe

It is absolutely mental the love I feel for Frankie. Again, it’s something I’d heard about and observed in others. But much like David Attenborough, I found it a beautiful fascination, something to watch from afar and love and admire. Not something that would be mine.

I’m not really a soppy sort of person, it is clear whether I like you very much or just a bit and that’s it. I tell people I love them when I feel it, in quite a matter of fact or even silly I LOVE YOU MAAAAN kind of way. And I’m quite comfortable with that thank you.

Frankie. Man, she gets all the woowowowowowww I NEED TO KISS YOU A MILLION TIMES I CAN’T LOOK AT YOUR FACE ENOUGH WHEN YOU DO THAT I COULD ACTUALLY BURST HOW DID SOMETHING THAT AMAZING COME OUT OF MY VAJAYJAY? Etc.

Stand out moment:

There are loads and loads but if I have to pick one, it’s that look on her face when I go into get her after a sleep. A person couldn’t be more stoked to see you/be alive/have a face/have a nappy full of poo. It’s THE BEST.
I also very much enjoyed her shouting gleefully at the sea on her first birthday on a very blustery ferry ride. BEST DAY OF HER LIFE. And therefore, mine.

I could go on. And on. And on. About her face when I open the car door. About the marks that she leaves on her face with her fingers when she’s had a really deep sleep. About the tiny weeny outfits that I’ve been SO much more into than I thought I would be. About the gleeful head bobbing when a good tune comes on (partial to old school R&B and Bieber). About her little feet and her wispy hair. About her incessant babbling and arm waving. But I wont.

I am sure, that lots of parents out there will identify with lots of these. I hope you do and I hope on the shitty days, one of these can crop up into your head and make you smile.

BIG LOVE from a one year old mama
xx

 

What’s your favourite bit about parenthood? If you can stop taking the piss out of yourself for how inept you are, what do you LOVE about it?

6 Comments

  1. Oh I love this! Yes… Yes… Reading this post made me swell with love for you and your beautiful family and for me and mine.
    The most awesome thing you can ever do. And you two made a particularly beautiful and spirited person.
    Although the biggest most monumental leap is when 2 become 3, it’s pretty amazing when another small person comes along too. The next stage of the journey. Somewhere out there as a sparkling light in the cosmos (or, whatever) is Frankie’s little brother(s) or sister(s). What a delicious thought.
    Wish we could share it all more!
    Keep writing and sharing xxx

    • Thanks lovely! Exactly, it’s quite funny to be all self deprecating and how crap we are at being mums and how our kids can be snot nosed terrors, but actually there is so mmuch BEAUTY in family and we are SO bloody blessed to have all of this, snot, tantrums and all! Yes I wish we could share more too babes, love oo lots! xxxx

  2. This is beautiful! As a new mum myself, it brought tears to my eyes ☺️

    • Hey Justine how are you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. There is so much to write about the funny/not so great stuff about being a mum. It’s lovely to just reflect about how amazing it is and what bloody brilliant women we are eh? Hope you are well xx

  3. Hannah,I understand all those feelings of yours I had them with my 2 and now have the same feelings with my 5 gorgeous Grandchildren..life just gets better and better no matter how old you are.Have a good life my lovely Xxxx

    • Awww Terri such lovely comments, I can see now why parents get so obsessed with having grandchildren, it’s so funny that having kids of your own helps you see straight away all of the hopes and dreams your parents had for you!! It’s crazy, she’s only 15 months but all I see is potential and all I feel is fierce love and pride. It’s life changing all this having babies lark isn’t it!! Thank you for your kind words xx

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