When I became a mother for weeks I would hear lots of stock phrases that people would wheel out when they saw you and your baby for the first time. Thye weren’t as personal as the standard teeth gritting pregnancy phrases such as; your big aren’t you? Your bumps too small, no? Can I touch your bump (whilst touching said bump), or perhaps ‘have you heard about that women who gave birth to a cat?’, or the always useful ‘my labour was 99 hours long!’, most of which you cannot tolerate by 36 weeks pregnant.
New born phrases include gems such as ‘are they sleeping through?’, ‘was he a good boy last night?’, ‘is he fussy?’, ‘sometimes it’s good to let them cry a bit!’ – to which my responses were the following – ‘I’m breastfeeding (pull wry face), he has no concept of good or bad, surely being fussy is a conscious choice, and no, just no! Well, I lie a bit. Infact these were my internal responses, I actually kept most of my thoughts and opinions to myself, because when you have not slept soundly since August 2016, you don’t even want to think about opening the flood gates. So I did as most new mums do, I had stock answers, forced smiles and would change the subject tout suit.
There was one phrase however that always stuck in my mind and that would leave me dumfounded for an answer. I would even look to Mr B to see if he could fathom an response, usually to be met by the same blank expression I was feeling inside. Such was the question, that when I didn’t feel this way I would ask Mr B in private if we were bad parents, if we didn’t have the bond we were supposed to have? It would always stick in my mind long after great aunt whatsit had left our nest, it would always get me to thinking about what it really meant. Now I assume this feeling will come with time, I assume this will become true at some point, but when someone would ask us, these new shiny parents, when they would look to us and say the heavy phrase – ‘I bet you can’t remember what life was like before can you?’ But do you know what, what made us feel a little guilty – The answer was YES! Yes we can, we can remember, we remember the time before, the time before he was born, before we were parents, it was different, we were different. But my god I can remember.
I remember the weekends, I remember when they felt different to the weekdays, when tea and toast in bed was the easy option. When getting up past 10am didn’t leave me with cold shivers. I remember the baths, not shared with food covered babies, not rushed or hushed. I remember hot tea and warm bacon. I remember the fuzzy hum of a hangover, and the day ahead, nothing to do, plans to be made, text friends to meet up. Popping out, popping out! Just popping – that beautiful British phrase, to pop out, quickly. Do you remember that? When you just go, and then come back – real quick, not planned, just popped. I remember booking holidays, flights, destinations, no thought, just whipping out the credit card and going for it. I remember sunbathing, beach or back garden, oh how I loved to sunbathe. Money, when we had some, time when that was aplenty, exercise when it wasn’t a chore, yoga, so so spoilt by time for yoga. Dancing – tables, bars, clubs, fields – oh my dancing how I remember. And how could I forget, how could I not include the best of all the things I remember the most, something we spend half of our life’s doing, the sanctuary of life, the act in life that we cannot live without, literally… SLEEP. I remember it, I feel it, if I close my eyes its still there, staring right back at me in the dark, oh sleep, how fondly i remember thee.
So no – great aunt whatsit, I’m sorry but I do remember life before the baby, I remember it and I treasure the memories, but like all great times, those things had to come to an end, and now the not sleeping is the new sleep, I dance to nursery rhymes and the oakey cokey, I eat his left overs, and I sit in the shade. I remember those times, but I don’t miss them, because I know, deep down, I will miss these times more than anything that came before.
— Home With The Buckley’s – Instagram obsessed – Parenting, Family and Lifestyle Blog—
— Sharing our journey while we navigate the first year of parenthood, as we try to renovate our home on a limited budget and attempt to see the happy in the everyday. Parents to one little boy various chickens and a beloved cat, living in a small town in the south of England. DIY addicts, terrible gardeners, always tidying, forever making a mess. —