Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Connie, mum of one, based in Manchester, UK, read on to see what she has to say on all things parenting…
1. What does Parenting mean to you?
Parenting is a survival mixed with love and a lot of coffee. No, I am kidding. Parenting to me is a right of passage, is providing unconditional love, care and education to a child from their first breath to your last. It is unconditional of how they and you feel, act or wish. It is constant and intense, with ups and downs. Intense success and failure. But mainly it's intense love. It is wishing the best for the person you help create, raising and moving mountains to bring them that best.
2. How did your life changed after having your first child?
Everything changed but in the best possible way. Naturally, my day to day life changed in many ways. In some ways I was more ‘constricted’ in how I spent my time and planned my days. For example, I wasn’t able to have a spur of the moment lunch with friends anymore or spend all day shopping or even have an extra hour in bed. Planning and organisation became my best friends. I think a lot more since becoming a parent and with your first baby there is a LOT of learning. I learnt what worked for us and what didn’t and pretty soon I had a rough routine and action plans to take if something didn’t go right. It was very trial and error.
However the biggest change for me was my mental state. I am much more humble and wholesome as a person and a lot more accepting, understanding and patient with people. Having children makes you a much more compassionate human being with a deeper understanding of people as a whole. I also felt a lot more connected with colleagues, friends or neighbours who have children. I felt I was part of a community and people were much more likely to help, offer advice and be honest with you. This was a whole new world to me and it was amazing being accepted into it. However it isn't all highs with the extreme highs came the extreme lows. I’d have days of self doubt and self pity, i would pine for my old carefree life and freedom but the highs outweigh the lows and being able to combat these feelings has made me a stronger person.
3.In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of parenting?
For me it's watching them develop. The best way I can describe it (being a big gamer) is it’s like completing lots of levels on a computer game. You spend a lot of time and energy ensuring your child is learning something new and for a long time you get no reward. Then one day there's a light bulb moment, when they take their first steps or say their first word, the feeling of achievement and pride you get knowing you helped that is indescribable.
4.How is Parenting today comparing to the way you have been raised by your parents?
It’s totally different for me. My childhood by many standards wasn’t great. But I do feel parenting as a whole is changing. As a generation we are much more child focused than our parents generation. There are more places to take children, more childrens TV, more childrens clothes being sold and it's now a case of the parents will actively plan their lives around their kids opposed to their kids fitting into their lives. This is a catch 22 situation. I am guilty of it myself, every weekend I plan something for my partner and Isla (my daughter) to do and it's always based on kids activities. I can’t remember the last time I planned a day out for myself and either had Isla come with me or found her childcare. This is amazing for the child and making memories but parents are certainly too hard on themselves these days, being a little selfish is okay - thats something i'm working on right now.
5.What was the hardest moment in this journey, as a family, to overcome?
Balance. Finding our roles when it went from a couple to a family unit was hard at first. Knowing how we all ‘fit’ in was difficult. For example, I breastfed Isla exclusively so at first I was the only one who could do night feeds. This was confusing for Rob (my partner) and I, he felt he wasn't helping and should be doing more and I felt pretty lonely at night. However we soon found our rhythm and in the morning Rob would take over with looking after Isla and let me sleep for a bit only bringing her for feeds if she needed them. Finding our roles and which roles work was the hardest part for us. Plus its constantly changing so keeping that adaptability is always been tested.
6. What annoys you the most about Parenting?
I wouldn't say it annoys me but not being able to commit to other relationships in full is very frustrating. I’ve missed a lot of friends birthdays or days out as Isla needed me or I was exhausted. It's also hard not spending one on one time with Rob more or when we do it's hard not to discuss children. Never getting time to be ‘you’ can be frustrating too, I used to do a lot of craft work pre Isla, now I don’t find the time or have the energy most days. But I know this won’t last forever. It's just the baby and toddler stage. (I hope)
7. Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story!
Isla is a toddler meaning she is gross and curious, but mainly gross. Daddy was on duty this day (meaning I am not to blame) and they were in the kitchen together. Our kitchen had a back door we used a lot to access the garden and at the time Isla was crawling. Our house is and always has been impeccably clean as I am terrible for over the top cleaning. But this day Rob had quickly ran to put the bin outside, came back in and went to do the dishes. Meanwhile Isla is crawling around playing. Daddy then hears “MMMM” very loud which meant at the time she was about to eat, followed by a slurping sound. Daddy then turns around rapidly to see Isla eating a slug like spaghetti and she LOVED it. Rob had to go into her mouth fish it out and wash her mouth out before she swallowed it! It was a bit dramatic apparently but yea - kids are gross.
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