I was thinking about this lately, what I have learnt, what I was told to expect and what I completely didn't expect at all, prior to becoming a mum.
Things I was told
* You will NEVER have any time to yourself AT ALL.
Well.....I disagree. Your sanity time is much reduced of course, but if you have a supportive husband/partner/friends/family/reliable babysitter, you can still find SOME time. Maybe not as much as you would like, but really? Would you have expected otherwise? I admit, I still didn't really leave him with anyone, even hubby really, prior to 6 months, but the offers were always there, I just chose not to take them and he was one of the "refuse the bottle" type babies so wasn't a huge option anyway!
I know my husband (an avid Xboxer) was told time and time again, "oh when baby comes, you won't have ANY time for Xboxing"... His reply from day one (and even now, 2 years later) is "I actually play more now than I did before having kids" Take that non-believers!
*Newborn babies sleep ALL the TIME
Pisht. These people are lucky. Me, I was lucky if Dex slept more than 40 minutes at a time during the day! Things started to improve a little at about 3 months old, but prior to that, nope. He was pretty good at night though, and I would take a good night sleeper over a good day sleeper anytime!
*Breastfeeding doesn't hurt, and if it does, you are doing it wrong.
Now I know the wife of the person who told me this (so yes, it was a male who informed me) will be reading, and I hope she has a giggle at this memory. Both of us were about to become mums for the first time. She was 4 months or so ahead of me and quickly learnt post-birth, that this is not the case. You can take all the lessons and read all the books in the world, but that baby hasn't taken said lessons, and he/she can't read yet, so it's still a learning curve. For most it takes patience, gritted teeth, more patience and I know in my case, more than a couple of tears before it becomes easier for both of you.
* You will be stuck at home and never get to go out
I guess there is some truth in this. It is generally EASIER, and requires a lot less preparation to just stay home. But you need a little bit of time away from the hum drum of home life. Even if it's just to go to the supermarket or do some odd jobs.The housework may not get done so easily, but at least you will all get a bit of a break and reduce some of that cabin fever that we all know. (especially when you have toddlers!! But that's a story for another day) I try these days to have at least 2 home days during the week, and 3 outings (although I wouldn't say they are kid outings, more supermarket, odd jobs etc. Am working on that though.)
Things I had to learn for myself
* Being on time suddenly doesn't always matter so much, and you don't get too worked up when you aren't 5 minutes early somewhere.
Before having Dexter, I was completely anal about this. If I wasn't at least 5 minutes early getting to something, I would stress myself out no end. It took me at least 6 months, if not a year to let go of this one. Try your best to be on time, if you are a couple of minutes late, the world most likely will not go up in a cloud of dust. And if it did, I guess the fact you were late is a little irrelevant anyway.
*The house will not always be tidy.
Ah yes. This one. I have just now, 2 years down the track, started to get some kind of grip on regular housework. Now there are a few reasons/excuses for this, but to be honest, many days it was just plain laziness/facebook addiction. There will always be days when it just isn't happening, and that's ok. Again, do what you realistically can, and provided your child is happy, fed and in a clean nappy, it's a successful day. My minimum I try and get done is dishes, washing, sweep the floor and pick up toys. Anything else is a bonus! Again, luckily I have an understanding and supportive husband who knows I try my best. (What he tells his friends and workmates though, I don't know)
*People will always give you advice. Listen and accept it graciously and it's up to you if you use it or not.
This can be an awkward one. I mentioned to a couple of close relatives prior to Dex being born that we weren't keen to have advice (or more so, instruction) shoved down our throats. This by a few was taken as, we don't want any help, we don't want any visitors and basically leave us to it. You certainly can't get it right everytime! Anyway what I was told by others, and what I found was easiest, was to listen to the advice given, remember that they are trying to help, no matter whether it comes across that way or not, and in the end, you know what works for your baby, no one else, so you know (or you will learn), what works and what doesn't.
*Being a mum is more rewarding and enjoyable than I could ever have expected.
Cheesy, yes. Cliche, quite possibly. I don't care. We have been having some rough times with Dexter lately, he's hit that "terrible twos" stage in a big way, and with me being 28 weeks pregnant with more than a couple of pregnancy related pains and aches going on, he has figured out mummy can't catch him if he runs away. So a few rough days, definitely, but on the whole, there is nothing at all I would change for it. And with #2 coming in January, I know I am in for a whole new shock again!
Stay tuned for part two of this, what I have learnt and what I was told about having a toddler....