Yesterday, the little man was eight months old, and well I guess anniversaries of any kind always get me thinking, and my musings turned to what really should be taught to expectant parents to prepare them for the first few months.
Becoming a mum, both the first time and the second, is the best thing I’ve done, but I’d be lying if I said I was prepared, even the second time around for what motherhood would bring.
So if you’re currently expecting your first (or even subsequent children – our brains are primed to forget) this is what you really need to practice:
- Set your alarm clock to go off hourly during the night. When it goes off, stand in the dark rocking it for 20 minutes, then place it down gently and watch acutely for 10 minutes for any signs of stirring before falling asleep for the remaining 30 minutes.
- Learn to get dressed and have a shower in the shortest possible time, and no I don’t mean half an hour. If you can get it down to five minutes you might just about manage it on an average day.
- Cover yourself in stale milk at least two times each day. Preferably one of these should be within five minutes of putting clean clothes on. On at least two days a week don’t take a shower. Instead try to cover up the smell with spray on deodorant.
- Hoover the house whilst carrying a sack of potatoes in one arm, if the sack gets too heavy, try putting it in a baby carrier. Now try pushing the Hoover at an angle where it actually hoovers before discarding said carrier and resuming one handed hoovering.
- Learn at least five nursery rhymes, then sing them on repeat, loudly and cheerfully on every car journey you ever go on.
- Tie one arm behind your back, with the other arm, make dinner. Don’t worry if it’s a little tricky at first, practice will make perfect.
- Once said dinner is cooked, proceed to leave it in the plate and walk around the house singing and rocking for twenty minutes.
- Spend hours puréeing food and distributing it into tiny pots, borrow a small child to try one tiny mouthful. Then spend the next half an hour cleaning said child and everything they touched, put the remainder of the pot that child has refused to eat.
- Learn where every creaky floorboard in your entire house is. In the dark practice walking around avoiding stepping on any of them.
- Buy the largest stuffed toy you can find and put it in the middle of your bed. Proceed to spend the night clutching on to the side of the bed trying not to fall out or squash said stuffed toy.
Of course, in real life, the experience is more pleasurable.
Because as tricky as some of these tasks are, with them comes a bundle of love, whose singular smile will make you forget that they like the alarm clock needed to be carried round the house all night. And whilst they may indeed be as heavy as a sack of potatoes, their adoring eyes looking up at you cannot help but make them feel lighter.
Just remember those of you who are reading this, prior to holding your little one, enjoy those last days of having two arms to call your own, spread out as wide as you can on the bed and stock your freezer full of food. Then when they arrive, ignore the house work for a little while; sit, cuddle, enjoy the moment. They don’t stay little very long, and before you know it you’ll be wishing you had only one arm again