“Sleep now!” they said, cautioning that soon I’d be so exhausted, even my bones would feel tired. New parenthood was described as deeply frustrating and often, maddeningly mundane. Life with a newborn sounded more like going into battle than nurturing a new life.
“It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do,” warned one mother. “But also the most rewarding,” reassured another.
Of course, the advice I received wasn’t all negative. The mums and dads who’d gone before me also made promises of overwhelming, all-consuming love; a love unlike anything I’d ever felt before.
And they were right. I’m not able to adequately put words around how I feel about my little boy.
But there was one thing that everyone failed to mention. And for me, it has been the defining aspect of parenthood.
That’s it. Everyone forgot to tell me that parenting is really good fun.
It’s fun and it’s funny. Parenting is smile-so-hard-it-hurts, laugh-out-loud, roll-on-the-floor, stitch-in-the-side funny. Since passing the hurdle of those achingly difficult first few weeks, I now smile and laugh more often than I have at any other time in my life.
Six months into being a mum, I’d argue that you can have more fun hanging out with a baby than doing just about anything else (besides, perhaps, the act that created them).
The fun began five weeks into my son’s life, when he smiled at me for the first time. My husband argues it was just a poo-satisfaction smile but I maintain it was more. Because in that moment all those hellish, sleepless nights became slightly less painful. That smile belonged to me. I did that. I made him happy.
A tiny twitch at the corners of my newborn’s lips and I was utterly elated.
By 12 weeks, my son had transformed from a little blob to a little baby and the fun times were bubbling over. There was the first explosive poo, which showered my arms, chest and t-shirt. The kind of event that would have had Pre Motherhood Me in tears but ended with my husband rushing to grab his camera phone to record my embarrassment.
We were both in hysterics, as I handed him the baby and stepped straight into the shower fully clothed.
Once my son reached 16 weeks, my favourite time of the day officially became first thing in the morning. Our baby wakes up with the sun and after a feed is full of gurgles and silliness, ready for a day jam-packed full of playing.