Leo has a big head (literally) and it took him a little while to be able to hold his head up as a baby. I remember starting at our mothers’ group and everyone else’s babies holding their heads up and me worrying that he’d never do it.
Intellectually I knew that he would learn to hold it up, but I was worried because I was a first-time Mum and a Virgo. Jeff (ever the diffuser of worry) bet me $5 that he would learn to hold his head up (easiest $5 he’s ever made).
I made a resolution with myself that I would remember this and never be worried about him meeting another milestone again because otherwise I saw a big worry career stretched out in front of me… I’ve mostly keep to it but there are exceptions 😉
I figure that it can’t be just me who’s worried before, so in the interests of sharing our vulnerabilities rather than just saying how easy/perfect/fun everything is, here are some things I’ve stressed about that have eventually turned out just fine.
Potty training. I read books about it and heard horror stories and then when he was ready it gradually happened.
Leo learning to swim.
Having another baby. How would I manage? How/where/when would the little one sleep?
The big theme of these worries when I look at them is the worry of you or your kid being seen as a failure. Or that you do something that scars your kid, or that they get made fun of, or that your friends/family think you’re not a good parent.
A big factor that can diffuse a lot of those worries is doing stuff in your own (or your kid’s own) time. It sucks when there’s an external force dictating when something needs to happen but that’s modern life I guess. Wherever possible it’s awesome to be able to cut yourself some slack and let things unfold in their own time.
In fact, I am always amazed at how elegantly kids solve all sorts of parental concerns by just being themselves. They are much better at adjusting than adults.
Having Leo come into my life has helped me conquer a lot of my own fears. I’ve learnt to speak out, say ‘no’ when I need to and look after myself. I’ve also learnt to open my eyes under water and jump into a pile of foam blocks at SkyZone.
Friendships have always been a big deal to me. As an only child my friends are the closest I’ll ever come to having siblings.
Here are some ways that having a child has affected my friendships:
I don’t see my friends as much as I’d like to.
I used to keep in touch by talking on the phone, but making a call with kids around is difficult and by the time the kids are asleep I just want to vege out or go to sleep myself.
The best way to see people and actually get an extended time to talk is to have them over or, even better, have them to stay.
Going out at night isn’t as easy as it used to because I’m permanently tired and Clem is still breastfeeding. I also feel guilty about leaving Jeff to get the kids to bed by himself.
I am am both emotionally fulfilled and exhausted by my children. There is a powerful pull to spend time as a family and it’s easy to just stay home.
It takes forever to organise something with a friend because everyone is so busy. If the friend I’m going to catch up with has kids too, then you often have to postpone a date several times before actually going out because someone is always sick or there’s some other family drama.
My childrens’ social engagements and activities dominate the calendar much more than my own.
When I do go out I feel boring and like I don’t have anything interesting to talk about because I’m in Kid Land.
It’s amazing to get to know my friends’ kids, and it warms my heart to see our adult friends playing with our kids. When your kid loves your friend’s kid/s then it’s happy days!
When I do get to have a proper catch up with a friend I don’t take it for granted like I once did. I spent a few happy hours with two girlfriends recently (hello Karmen and Gabby!) and I came home afterwards on cloud nine, feeling so restored.
The best friends are the ones that you can not see for a while and then when you do it’s like not a day has passed.
A dinner out with a friend, or friends, is like a shining star in my calendar. My (often truncated) chats with friends on the phone are a highlight of my week. Tabitha and I rock the 2 minute (e.g. I’m just walking from the carpark into the office) conversation and it’s better than nothing. In fact, a large percentage of my chats with friends are when one of us is in transit somewhere (hello Eszy!)
Some of my pre-kid friendships have fallen by the wayside – but a lot remain, stronger than ever. I am so grateful for them, and also for the new friends I’ve made through having kids.
Let’s raise a cup of cold tea in a toast to friendship. Surely one of the most wonderful things in life.
We are loving this project a lot. It is like our third child. Both Jeff and I have been working on it full-time (with many, many breaks to look after our actual children and Jeff doing paid work) for five months and counting.
If this book is successful I dream of also doing You’re Doing Great, Kid and You’re Doing Great, Toddler. Jeff wisely tells me to take one thing at a time.
But just say that I was thinking a little bit about You’re Doing Great, Kid. I might think of a list of things I see differently after having a kid, for example…
Hiding vegetables – gives a great sense of satisfaction
Bribery – happens. Also called ‘negotiations’
Hummus – makes vegies palatable
Buying in bulk – it’s like I am permanently getting ready for the apocalypse
Kids eating in the car – I used to think ‘why would you do that?!’
Messy, gross cars – see above
Mini vacs – self explanatory
Toys I didn’t play with as a kid because they were ‘boys’ toys’: Lego, paper planes, trains, cars – are actually super fun
Sushi train – food as soon as you walk in the door and it’s like an outing (bonus!)