My Top 10 Ups and Downs of Parenting

Parenting is THE toughest, most challenging and yet most rewarding job in the world. You can never prepare yourself enough, and you will never ever know it all. You can read parenting books and websites, watch other mums and dads do it, plan and picture how you will parent but when it comes to it, you will really just be learning on the job.

Parenting will exhaust you beyond imagination, turn your life (and for most mums your career) 360 degrees and will change the way you think and act; yet, you will not want it any other way. Ever.

So, to put it out there, here are my Top 10 Ups and Downs of being a mum/ parent…

 

 

The Ups!

1. You will feel a love so strong, so definitive, so beautiful – a love that you have never experienced before. It’s different to loving your parents/ spouse/ siblings – it’s so deep and so intense, it scares you sometimes. But it’s what makes those sleepless nights and tantrums all worth it!

2. You will learn patience, whether you are patient by nature or not. Ever seen a three-year-old put on his socks and shoes by himself? Or waited for a four-year-old to dress herself from head to toe? Or finish a meal in what seems like forever???
And it’s not always in their benefit to shout ‘Hurry up!’ because unless they do things themselves, they will never learn.

3. You will awaken the child in you, and learn to see things from their perspective. And that innocence is so beautiful…
You walk down your neighbourhood road every single day, but it is your toddler who spots that gorgeous flower or alerts you to the birds chirping.

It is your child who will make you jump in puddles, or piles of Autumn leaves, and make you feel a sense of freedom you haven’t felt in years.

It is your pre-schooler with whom you will sit on the floor and make play-doh men and Lego creations with.

It is with your children that Christmas will mean so much more… the laying out of the cookies for Santa, their joy at receiving the gifts they asked for, their first Nativity play…

4. You will feel so proud seeing them grow into little individuals, who have imbibed all that you have painstakingly taught them.

These moments will make you especially proud:
– Watching them perform in their first Nativity play
– Their first day of school – how – and when – did that happen?!
– The times they share, help their friends say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ – that’s when you know you’ve aced this parenting thing!

5. You will get superpowers you never thought you had. For starters, you will survive on barely four hours of sleep for the first few months of motherhood. You will learn to multi-task (I’m talking holding baby in one hand, cooking with the other, helping your older child with homework and thinking of your work presentation for the next morning). You will do ANYTHING to protect your child and lay your own fears to rest should any danger to your child present itself. AND you will (mostly) smile through it all.

 

The Downs…

1. Number 1 has to be sleep. Wave goodbye to a proper, restful sleep – you won’t get that again till your child/children are past their teens. First, there are the frequent night-wakings, then the toddler jumping into bed with you’ll, then the early morning wake-ups to combat the school-run rush… and it continues until your littles are, well, big!

2. Exhaustion follows as a result of lack of sleep, and also because life with kids is non-stop action. If you are a working mum, you have to juggle work and home. If you’re a stay-at-home-mum, you are the sole entertainer and provider for all your baby/ toddler’s needs, from dawn till dusk (and through the night feedings too).
With older kids, there’s school and homework and classes and extra-curricular activities and weekend birthday parties – It. Never. Ends.

3. Loss of personal space and freedom. Wave goodbye to any form of privacy – right from the moment baby enters this world (think a room full of strange faces looking down your vagina). After that, you will have baby latched on to your breast, toddler latched on to your leg and even watch you do your business on the loo!

Your bed will no longer be YOUR bed. You will be lucky if you get even one-tenth of the space while baby/ toddler/ pre-schooler sprawls himself across.

The television will almost always be on CBeebies, but you won’t mind, as long as you get a few minutes peace.

Forget leaving the house in 15 minutes. That will be the time it takes to convince your toddler to put on his shoes (remember I mentioned you will learn to be patient?). Or bundle up baby in jacket, cap, gloves and strapped into the buggy.

4. No more lie-ins. For the next 15 years! Babies have a knack of waking up very, very early. It doesn’t get much better once toddlerhood rolls along – at the most you will go from a 5 a.m. start to a 7 a.m. one! And once you hit the school-going age, mornings will be rush, rush, rush anyways.

Weekends? Hahaha. Don’t you know that the same child who has to be dragged out of bed Monday through Friday miraculously bounces out of bed half an hour earlier on the weekend? It’s just one of those ironies of parenthood.

Or you’ll probably have to wake up anyways for a darn 8 a.m. swim class on a Saturday morning!

5. Loss of identity. Motherhood is a life-changing experience, but it can also be a very lonely one. One minute you had a life with work and socializing; the next you’re stuck at home with a very demanding human being to look after – often with no support, no experience and a severe lack of sleep. Your brain gets numb following the same routine of feed, burp, nappy-change, sleep. You are not yourself anymore – you just become so-and-so’s mum.

It is tough in the beginning, but once you find your feet again, make sure to take some ‘me-time’ every once in a while. You need a break from mothering, and in fact, you’ll be a better mother once you’re re-charged and energised!

This post was first featured on Hello Mums

 

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45 Responses

    • Nicole

      Ah, I often struggle with it too, especially when I've asked my son to put his shoes on a billion times already!!! Thanks for your lovely comment, Sarah x

    • Nicole

      Thank you Kayleigh. Yes, if I don't get some time alone, I go a bit insane. Even if it's a few minutes ALONE in the loo!!! Thanks for reading…

  1. Neil

    That was a great post and I can wholeheartedly agree with everything. Well, apart from the "Mum Specific" points… But i still totally get it! The lack of time to do anything other than parent always gets to me but I wouldn't change it for the world. #TriumphantTales

    • Nicole

      Thank you Neil. Yes, I feel the same… some days I'm just parenting and have no time or energy to do stuff for myself or my blog; it's draining. But I wouldn't want it any other way!!! That's parenting summed up:)

    • Nicole

      Well said Laura. It's exhilarating and exasperating at the same time:) But we wouldn't change it for the world…

  2. Jaki

    Yes, yes, yes! To all of these. I don't think there is a parent out there that won't relate to this. And nothing prepares you for any of it. Loved this post. Thank you for sharing this with #TriumphantTales, I hope you can join me again on Tuesday 🙂

    • Nicole

      Thanks for that lovely comment Jaki, glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for making it the Featured Blogger post of the week:)

  3. Gemma - Mummy's Waisted

    I'm the world's most impatient person! But at times, I have all the patience in the world – when I see one of my children really trying hard to master something, and their joy at achieving it. I can be found sitting on my hands sometimes though #itsok

    • Nicole

      Haha, I totally get that. Like them putting on their socks and shoes – arghhhh they take forever but I am (mostly) patient:)

  4. Samm

    I can certainly identify with the lack of sleep and losing my identity. Becoming a first time mum is a really difficult transition to make and not being able to just go out when you want, or feel like that interesting funny person who used to entertain a room of colleagues or recognise your own body are all symptoms. I think it can with some effort and support get better, though, and even through the crippling tiredness you've got to show up for yourself.

    • Nicole

      So beautifully put… and so true. Motherhood is absolutely wonderful, but oh my god does it turn your life upside down! However, it gets better with time and experience…

  5. Jayne

    Brilliant post, I always try to remember that the good times make up for the bad times! #itsok

    • Nicole

      Absolutely… they do!!! The hugs and kisses melt away all the tantrums and tiredness.

    • Nicole

      You bet! Carrying a gazillion things and multi-tasking… I didn't know my mind and hands were capable of doing so much all at one time!

  6. Kate

    Number 3 and 5 on the downs are the biggest challenges for me and one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. #itsok

    • Nicole

      True. It is frightening, going from being an individual to just someone's mum; from a busy career woman to a nappy-changing, milk-giving machine. And you are right Kate, blogging does help us stay-at-home-mums get back some part of our selves, and regain our identities.

  7. Enda Sheppard

    I have to agree with others here … the patience things sure ain't easy!!! But luckily the rewards do come … sometimes!!! #itsok

  8. Enda Sheppard

    Have to agree with some here: the patience thing sure isn't easy!! But the rewards are greart … sometimes! Great post #itsok

    • Nicole

      Thank you. So true, parenting tests every ounce of our patience, but is so worth it when the cuddles and kisses and little moments that make us so proud come about…

  9. Martina

    So true! I rediscovered my inner child after I had kids. I look at things so much more closely, ask 'why' and even skip. And I don't really mind when they call me at night for a bad dream, or a wet bed, or because they're scared – I know that when they're bigger they won't need me. and that makes me a bit sad already! #itsok

    • Nicole

      Spot on Martina! I too jump around with my son in dried Autumn leaves – we love it;)
      And I love it when he comes and sleeps with us some nights because after a few years, he won't want to even come into our room:( Thanks for joining us for the #itsok linky

  10. charlotte

    Reading this through makes me realise just how much we bloody rock! I love seeing the magic through my children's eyes so much, so true that you see the joy of a flower etc through your toddlers eyes #itsok

    • Nicole

      Thank you Charlotte, and yes we mums really rock!!! And on days we don't, #itsok because we're still doing the best we can:)

  11. Noleen Miller

    Patience is definitely not my strongest point but with all the downs – the ups are so much more rewarding. I wouldn't trade parenting for anything. Having a child is such a blessing #itsok

    • Nicole

      Agree 100 per cent. As exhausting and sometimes monotonous as it gets, I wouldn't trade it in for anything else ever!

  12. Rachel ~ Kids, Cuddles and Muddy Puddles

    Pretty much sums up motherhood! And yes, you definitely learn patience! Loss of "me" time is probably the only thing I really miss. The early morning snuggles and lack of personal space is made up for with the reciprocation of your children's unconditional love. A lovely post. #itsok

  13. Daydreams of a mum

    I Think pride is a massive one , like nothing you've ever felt!!! Also spoiler alert. ..when small girl is at daddy's and there are just the teens home…. SLEEP RETURNS!!!!! #itsok

    • Nicole

      Hahahaha, will have to wait for the sleep returns stage (yawwwwn)

  14. Helena

    There are so many ups and downs to parenting and you've identified a great number of them. I think that some of the downs may be people's ups to and vice versa. For example, I love being woken by my girls at 8 am #itsok

    • Nicole

      Hahaha, there, I beg to differ lol. I treasure my morning sleep;)
      But I get what you're saying, waking up next to our babies/ toddlers or having them kiss you first thing in the morning(or jump on you!!!) is pretty special too.

  15. Caffeinated mom

    I have to agree with everything! I think I miss the sleep the most and not feeling like a zombie but in the end it is all worth it when you see that smile.

    • Nicole

      Yes, all the sleepless nights and exhaustion are so worth it in the end! Thanks for reading xo

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