18 months of parenting: Expectation vs reality
Being a Mum is the most rewarding, but also the most challenging thing I have ever had to do.
Dougie is just over a year and a half now and no two days are the same. I had an image of what motherhood would be like when I was pregnant, and while some of it was fairly accurate, other visions were way off! Of course every child is different, but I wanted to share a few of my expectations, and what the reality really is…
Expectation: I’ll never sleep properly until Dougie has left home.
Reality: I think the way you sleep changes. I’ve always been such a light sleeper, and Dougie only needs to cough and I’m instantly awake. We had a few months of gloriously good nights, I felt almost smug about how well Dougie slept. Of course, toddlers like to keep you on your toes, so the last few nights have involved minimal sleep, plenty of tears and Dougie taking over our bed…
Expectation: Oh, it will be the cutest thing, our babies and toddlers will babble adoringly to each other, playing with toys and obviously sharing nicely, while I sit with the other mums enjoying a lovely cup of tea and a catch-up.
Reality: The majority of playdates are spent running around after Dougie, making sure he doesn’t break anything/put anything in his mouth/hurt himself…and the tea is always cold. But it is always lovely to spend time with the other toddlers and mums!
Expectation: We’ll have cosy duvet days together if its raining, or we’ll go out for a cultural day trip where his little face will light up in wonder at what I’m showing him…
Reality: I hate rainy days. He gets frustrated when we’re inside for too long, he wants to run around outside and go on the swings. He has no interest in cuddling up on the sofa and books tend to get flung at my head. Cultural day trips at the moment tend to involve the park, trainspotting or our local Tesco. I’ve taken him to a few museums and he beelines for any stairs or ramps he can find, and then will walk up and down them until he is carried away, kicking and screaming when its time to go home. I’m so happy the sun has been making an appearance though, it’s meant we’ve been able to go for little walks together and hang out at the park more which he loves. We’ve even had a couple of days where he’s been able to leave his chunky winter coat and home and just wear his gorgeous new cotton bomber jacket* from Little Pancakes.
Expectation: How bad can they really be…?
Reality: They are awful. While most people tend to throw me sympathetic looks while Dougie flings himself down screaming and crying, it can be pretty mortifying at times. I do try to just ride them out, because I know that while something that may seem insignificant to us may feel like the end of the world to him, but sometimes I get frustrated (which I hate) because I know the only reason I’m saying “No” to him is because I want to protect him, and he doesn’t understand that. He threw a huge tantrum the other day when I wouldn’t let him walk into the road…
Expectation: It would be tough, but I could work for a bit while Dougie plays happily with his toys.
Reality: Hahaha. No. This is just not possible. When he was much younger and slept all the time, then yes this might have happened, but now, there’s no chance. When I’m at home with Dougie, I can’t even consider getting my laptop out to finish some work without him bounding over and bashing the keys. It’s just not possible, though I’m quite pleased because when I’m at home with him I want to be completely present rather than being distracted by work.
Expectation: It would be a lot of mess.
Reality: It is even more mess than I expected. He insists on washing his hands in a yoghurt pot, smearing pasta sauce across his face and over the highchair and flinging porridge at the walls, and once he’s finished, he makes sure I know this by flinging the bowl/plate/cutlery/food remains on the floor. Saying that, it’s pretty cute when he’s happily eating away, especially now he’s confident in feeding himself, and I love it when he tries something new I’ve made – and enjoys it!
My expectations of parenting may be pretty different from the reality, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Have you spent time with toddlers? Can you relate to any of these?
*Little Pancakes kindly gifted me this adorable bomber jacket for Dougie, but all views and opinions are my own.