When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, with my head jammed so far up my own ar*e in my single-dom, I used to roll my eyes when a friend would wax lyrical about their son or daughter and share picture after picture on social media. When one or two of my friends started having babies, meeting up with them was still great, but the baby talk would really truly bore me. I didn’t want to talk about nappy brands, sleep patterns or the benefits of breast milk over formula. I just didn’t get it. My eyes would glaze over and I’d wonder how long it was until I could go meet my girlfriends for a drink and hopefully find Mr Right. Yes, I was a sh*t friend in that department, but I just didn’t understand.
So then I met Mr Right and we had a baby. And, without really realising it until now, I’ve become ‘that’ mum. The one who talks about her baby and how clever he is, non-stop. The one who over-shares about him on Facebook or posts pictures incessantly. The one who loves nothing more than meeting up with mummy friends and talking details on baby routines. The one who celebrates every ‘month’ birthday and makes sure everyone knows about it. Because, surely my child is the most amazing little human on the face of the earth and everyone needs to know about it, right?
It is widely accepted that having a baby is the most life-changing experience a person (female or male) can ever have. It’s a culture shock, an attitude shift, an emotional rollercoaster and, as my husband puts it, the ‘absolute best hardest time of your life’.
Apart from all the emotional stuff, there are also the physical changes. I used to be obsessed with fitness, mostly from an aesthetic point of view. I wasn’t shallow, but when not working long hours in my corporate job I would spend hours working out, shopping, doing my hair, putting on makeup and deciding on the exact right outfit to wear each day.
Now, I really don’t give that much of a shit. Don’t get me wrong, I still make a bit of an effort. But I can go out of the house with no make-up on (well, just a bit of concealer, after all those ‘I’ve had no sleep’ baby bags are pretty damn obvious). It’s a good day if I get time to wash my hair and a GREAT day if I get to blow dry it. Fitness is still a priority, but I’m not obsessing over trying to get my abs back. My baby’s need for clothes come before mine (shock horror!) – just one of the signs that I’m much less selfish than I was.
Instead of hating my body, I now respect it for what it can do. My Instagram feed is now full of baby products and mummy blogs, rather than fitness videos and celebrity fashion. I look at my baby in the mirror, not myself, and any pain he suffers is much, much worse than my own.
Instead of giving parents with a screaming baby in a café a look of, “Why can’t they shut the ‘F’ up?”, I now look at them with compassion – as if to say “You poor bugger, I know that feeling!”
On the more practical side, I always used to wonder how on earth I’d know what to do with a baby. Before giving birth, I’d never even changed one nappy, let alone babysat. But, that thing called ‘natural motherly instinct’ really did kick in. I’ve become one of those mums that just loves hanging out with her child. All we need is each other and we’re happy. Having previously always felt the need to be busy, social, doing ‘things’ and being ‘somewhere’, that’s come as a complete shock. I just never thought that would be me.
Emotionally, I never knew I could feel this much love. Things that were once important are now meaningless. I’ve learnt that being a mum is the most important job in the world, and everyday is a surprise. My little man is my world, my centre, my universe – and there I go, I’m ‘that’ mum, gushing about my baby ad nauseam. Deal with it.