baby in towel

This is it! We made it! This little guy is 365 days old.

father holding baby  baby

It’s funny, when we see friends now and they realise he’s a year old, most of them say: Wow! This year has gone so quickly! And I smile into my cup of tea and nod and laugh a little, all the while trying not to scream at them: No it hasn’t! It’s been the longest flippin year of my life! 

Because it’s true. This year has been hard. Adapting to this whole motherhood thing was really tough for me and probably what was even tougher was realising that I’m not the motherly type. Don’t get me wrong, this is not and never has been a question of me loving J, but being a mother never came as naturally to me as I thought it would. The whole “maternal instinct” thing took a while to kick in with me so the beginning stages of getting to know this guy were hard.

Then there was the insomnia (him), the sleep deprivation (us), the colic, the silent reflux, the ear infections, the colds…and that was just the first 6 months.

The pressure of being a mom is real and momguilt is totally a thing. They might not always come from outside, they might be self-imposed, but whatever, you will feel the pressure and the guilt no matter what you do or don’t do.You will want to do everything in your power to make sure your little person is safe but at the same time you will feel powerless to help him when he’s crying because half the time you don’t know why he’s upset – the rest of the time he’s hungry, that much I learnt. Anxiety is a massive issue for me and having a baby only exacerbated my insecurities and magnified my issues tenfold.

Plus there’s the identity issue. You have become a mom. Everyone else will now see you as a mom first and your old identity will be forgotten. This suits a lot of women; I am not one of them. I have needed time away from Baby J on a pretty regular basis (once he was old enough to be away from the boob for a couple hours) because I could feel myself forgetting who I was. Still to this day when I take some time away from him I feel immense guilt – what kind of a mother needs to be away from her child?

It kinda makes me feel like a bit of a failure, to be honest.

It took me a while to realise one of my strengths as a mother lies in me asking for help, for putting myself first sometimes. For knowing my limits and knowing how I need to look after myself in order to be a good mom for him. I am a very independent woman and my work is my passion, so stepping out of my motherhood role is important to me and necessary for me to be happy, but looking after myself means I have to learn how to deal with the guilt that comes with that.

But wow, this post has gone all depressing and…real. My baby boy is turning 1 today. Looking back at these 12 months I can see that Baby J is not the only one who has grown. (He’s half my size already! He’s going to be taller than his mother by the time he’s two!). I am different now but I’m still the same person. I have infinitely more patience than before, I can multitask like an octopus and I can puree like Nigella Lawson. I have a rockstar for a husband, a legend for a son and a sweetheart for a furbaby. What more can I ask for?

As you read this, we’ll be with friends and family, surrounded by cupcakes, balloons and bubbles. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

baby sitting on rocking chair