What Is It To Be A Mom?

It’s repeatedly telling your child to please not eat the computer mouse cable, to please not sit in the dog food bowl and to stop wiping their macaroni fingers on new couches.

It’s casually referring to their poo’s as ‘chicken korma’pre-gastro for sure’ and ‘bok pellet hard’ with your partner nodding their head in sage agreement.

It’s thinking a lie-in past 5:30 am is a treat

It’s going to the shops, on your own, to buy something or yourself and returning with baby sunblock, nappies and a new toy

It’s yelling ’keep making a noise, I’m coming right back’ as you leave them in the bath to quickly find towels/soap/facecloths/your wine’

It’s understanding what they want, and when they want it, even when they cant say a word

It’s having someone watch you got to the loo – even for a poo – for the rest of your life

It’s wanting them asleep when they’re awake, and then watching them when they sleep willing them to wake up.

It’s not so subtly rolling your eyes when non-parents tell you how busy/stressed/broke they are

It’s secretly being relieved when your child is the bitee and not the biter

It’s the sweet-grab-to-shut-them-up in the middle of the shopping aisle even though you swore you never would

It’s the catching them doing something new and feeling you might burst from pride

It’s repeating the same thing, for hours on end, just to get them to laugh again and again

It’s wondering why you ever thought you were poor when you didn’t have kids

It’s admitting that you can no longer wear white, or anything that costs more than R300

It’s cursing them for the state of your body, while eating more chocolate and staring into your 3rd wine glass

It’s berating yourself for being a working mom and wondering if the guilt will ever really end

It’s the magical limb stretch you do when driving, just to retrieve their dropped dummy/water bottle/tree leaf

It’s the automatic stop, freeze, listen motion you make whenever you hear a small child cry

It’s the promise to yourself that tomorrow you will be stricter, better, more attentive, more aware

It’s the greatest, hardest, best, most fun adventure you will ever go on

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The Baby Stages – Newborn Vs. Not

I can feel my sister in laws eyes on my child, and I know exactly what she’s thinking: “Please don’t ever let my baby get to that age”. She’s thinking that because she has a 3 month old. A 3 month old who lies where she’s placed, mewls instead of shrieks doesn’t grab, tug, pull or play, and still naps for most of the day. As much as it saddens me, I get it. I thought that too when Carter was that age. I used to meet friends for coffee on maternity leave, and while my son slept in pretty much any position he was placed in and would stare at nothing for hours, other (older) babies always seemed exhaustingly busy.

I’ve said it before, but having an almost-8 month old is 100 times harder than having a newborn. It’s also 100 times more rewarding. The old ‘I hope my baby never grows’ up Kate is so relieved he did. However, there’s a small part of me that misses the newborn phase, and here’s why.

Newborn Mess. Sure, when your baby is a tiny infant he or she will undoubtedly vomit, shart or urinate over you. The thing is, it’s never a daily occurrence, and when they’re that small and ingesting only milk nothing really smells. It’s all very innocuous. Mess with a new born means delicately dabbing yourself and your baby with an embroidered, monogrammed cloth.
Baby mess. My son is eating fruit, meat, grains, egg, ants, the dogs feet and every flip flop lying around the house. His turds are Dr Phil worthy S shaped and the smell is no different to a grown mans. Solids entail 30% of the food being ingested by him, and 90% landing on me. (I get that number doesn’t add up, but that’s exactly how much excess food there is after any given mealtime). Crawling means black crusty fingernails, scraped knees and (unless you’re Martha-bloody-Stewart) dust, everywhere. Basically, you will never be clean again. I implore you, if you are OCD like me and thinking about starting a family in 2016 – stop showering for several months to prepare your body for the offensive odour it will permanently emanate once your child turns 6 months. Just to further drive my point home – last week I was changing my sons nappy. Apart from the usual excrement inside, I found a piece of chicken, a squashed wedge of paw paw, a block of cheese and a white slimey suppository shaped biltong stick. Mess with a baby means dabbing yourself with a cloth, then stripping down and hosing both you off with a pressure hose.

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It is NEVER clean.

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Newborn sleep. Oh Lord, is there anything more incredible than a newborn sleep? Sure, they wake up a lot for food but when they’re not drinking they’re pretty much sleeping. Carter could nap anywhere. I took that kid everywhere on maternity leave and he would nap in shopping trolleys, restaurant floors, peoples beds, carry cots, travel cots, car seats, laps, dogs tummies and concrete floors. I used to watch funny videos doing the rounds on Facebook – of parents ninja dropping and rolling to avoid their alert baby noticing them exit the room – and smugly praise myself for being the BEST PARENT EVER.
Baby sleep. I am now that parent dropping and rolling to avoid my baby noticing me exit the room.

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I’m just gonna nap here on dad’s chest. No biggie.
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Watch me whip, watch me nap nap.
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Not even the rancid breath of a hound shall stop me in my sleep mission.

Newborn noise. When not eating or sleeping, a newborn will occasionally grace you with their attention by making one or two adorable grunts and mewls. Heart melting, 1 x new mom would invariably whip out a video camera of sorts to capture said adorableness on video. Even a newborns cry is quiet – I’ve had dogs toys that squeaked louder.
Baby noise. There’s nothing better than your baby’s first laugh and giggle, and when it becomes a guttural belly laugh you think your heart might pop from excitement. Sadly as your baby grows in size, so does his vocal abilities, and according to the unwritten rule book of an almost-8 month old, the best time to screech like a goat on one of those Youtube videos? In a restaurant, in the quiet of a game reserve or anytime between 2 and 4 am.

Newborn stimulation. Feed, burp, rock, sleep. Every now and then you try in vain to get them to grab a toy or make eye contact with a plastic mobile.
Baby stimulation. Things they don’t really love: 200 brightly coloured balls and inflatable ball pit. Coloured spaghetti, water tables, blocks and boards, wind up toys, wind down toys, toys that sing, ring shout and offend. Books, teddies age appropriate overpriced toys or anything from Fischer Price. Things they love: Small insects, jewelry, smartphones, swimming pools and edible boxes. Basically, the more potential an item has of killing them, the more they like it.

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Newborns. Happy as a pig in sink.

My son is almost 8 months, so I know there are moms reading this who are snorting quietly (because they don’t want to wake their 2 year old who just passed out from tantrum induced exhaustion) and thinking ‘Just wait’. I know this, because I’m one of those moms who see your 2 year old throw said tantrum and thinks “please don’t let my child ever get there”. But he will, and when he does I’m going to remember my once-almost-8 month old and just like I did his newborn memories, think just how much easier it all was.

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Older woman aren’t really his thing.
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Carter as a newborn next to his 4 month older baby friend. Clearly not thrilled.
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