One of my colleagues bought me a great present when I went on maternity leave - she said she wanted to get something for me, not the babba-to-be, and piped for a magazine subscription.
Inside that mag there's a feature called "Hey, it's OK if.." which inspired me to put together a newborn mum-focused one. For all the things you learn and all the guilty secrets that go on behind the closed front door on those sleepless, cuddle-packed first few weeks - here is the collective wisdom of mums revealing all:
Hey, it's OK if...
“Your ‘pillow talk’ with your other half – which was never that dirty but sometimes got sexy – is now only about poo. Seriously – is it black? Green? Mustard yellow? Seedy? Watery? Mucousy? The contents of your baby’s nappy basically becomes your only topic of conversation.”
“You spend whole days contorting your face into the ugliest it goes, or singing Baa Baa Black Sheep 42 times in a row, just to get a smile out of your baby... Then feel a bit put out when she grins like a loon at the door handle.”
“You feel seriously jealous of your commitment-free friends' partying/boozing/fun times – especially when you look at all their pics plastered over Facebook during a 3am feed. But then when someone invites you out, and your parents even offer to babysit, you say no... because you’ve realised you'd prefer to have an early night under the duvet. No, defintely not doing that. Just precious, precious sleep.”
“You end up in a situation like I've just gone through - whilst stuck in traffic, desperate for the loo but with an edgy newborn who made me too scared to stop and get the babe out of the car in case it Sets Him Off, I had to pull over and pee on a nappy.. Yes, they are very absorbent, luckily..”
“You feel kinda scared by your baby boy's bits – I had to Google Image to see if mine's looked right. But then, when changing his nappy, I ended up being forced to change all of his clothes (and wash the wall), about six times a day. Because no one told me tiny boys always wee on the changing table, unless you do the penis-pointing-down trick or drape their bits in kitchen roll to avoid A Pee-nami.”
“You once (OK, more than once) forget you've got a baby. Nothing major – I was once at a restaurant, our babe was snoozing in her pram for the whole meal, and I was a few steps from the door before remembering AHH I’ve a newborn and I’m a parent and Proper Grown Up now. I sprinted back to the table and felt serious parental guilt – but then I thought, hey, if David Cameron can do it with a gazillion security guards...”
“You leave your other half in charge for a few evenings. I’ve just done that with my husband and our three-year-old and 10-week-old twins – I went out with friends and had a giggle and remembered what it's like to be sociable (and not talk about your babies!)... And when I got home and was told by my husband (who is normally out all day) about how busy he’s been with feeding, sterilising bottles, changing and getting them all to sleep... I said, 'yes but I do it every day - and I did enjoy my eve off by the way!'”
“You only change out of your pyjamas in the evening, to put new ones on. You justify this by saying that wearing clothes would only mean removing them every hour when they were coated in sick/wee/poop/milk. And so it's OK to invest in really nice pyjamas.”
“When you do wear clothes, you opt for the same patterned t-shirt/jumper.. for weeks on end ... because it hides all kind of muck. And you're super grateful that baby sick doesn't show when it's dried. When said top is in the wash, you don't leave the house.”
“You become a hermit, fervently screening phonecalls and/or creeping to the window to look through a peephole and see who's at the door, because you have NO desire to sit with snoring friends ‘dropping in’ or pokey-nosed relatives. Unless they bring food or cleaning equipment. Then they can come in.”
“You totally change your mind about the length of your maternity leave. I always thought I would go back to work full time after 6-9 months. Instead I reluctantly returned after 15 months’ off - and only for 22 hours a week. I love work, and still work exceptionally hard, but my outlook on work changed drastically and I wasn't anticipating it at all.”
“When your baby wees on your bed, instead of being disgusted you actually reckon it's a good thing ... because you were a bit worried about their hydration and now you feel fully reassured..”
“On the weekend, when you hear your other half-open the bedroom door (from the lounge where he has been kindly entertaining a grizzly baby since 5am) you freeze, do deep breathing, and pretend to still be asleep 'til he leaves.. Then you play Words With Friends on your phone, enjoying the quiet and justifying it by counting how many times you got up in the night.”
"You love to wear earplugs..."
“You've worked out that babies are the best social excuse. Frenemy's wedding invite lands? 'So sorry, it's just too tricky with the baby right now.. I wouldn't want her crying during your vows...' Crap party? 'I need to go home to relieve the babysitter/grandma. So sorry...'”
“You secretly love the fact that breastfeeding a) gets you out of a zillion household tasks. Washing up? Oh I have to feed the baby. Laundry? But she/he's hungry... and b) gives you a chance to catch up on your favourite Netflix show.”
“You're terrified of stopping breastfeeding because it means no longer justifying that afternoon Dairy Milk with the thought 'I need the extra 500 cals..'"
“You're still wondering if you can pass off your extra stomach rolls as 'baby weight'... when your "baby" is starting secondary school.”