Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Walking, talking, living...

I've entered baby world: fully-fledged in parenthood, immersed with infant interaction and now nifty in nappy changing. I first started a baby blog just to jot down the hilarious experiences I found myself having. Unbeknown to me at the time; every parent was blogging about the humdrum of their daily lives. Not only that, but there were awards for these blogs, and some parents were even making a lucrative living out them – well, OK getting by, by reviewing products and events.

Over a glass of red one evening, a friend and I swore we would never be one of those mothers - you know the ones that only talk about the contents of their baby's nappy (especially to friends who don’t have children). Then one day I found myself explaining to a friend's boyfriend – over lunch no less – about a 'poop' disaster that had happened that morning. After realising what I was doing, I cut myself short and apologised profusely. 
I've got to keep reminding myself of ‘that promise’ because I was indeed that very person; I would get agitated when my friends with children would disclose information about their child’s nocturnal nuisances. Switching off, I would be thinking to myself: ‘Yes, I had a lovely holiday, thanks for asking how I am.'

Now I’m mingling (OK, conversing on twitter) with the yummy mummies and I kind of feel like I've been pigeonholed into a new social group that I’m not sure I’m quite comfortable with. Have I turned into a walking, talking, living, blogging mummy cliché? I don't make jam, I don't sew and I certainly don't do domestic bliss. I still want to jet around the world, get sloshed on spritzers, own a villa in Ibiza – and on top of that I have high ambitions with my career. The difference now is my child has given me even more of a drive to be successful; to give him a better life.

If I’m honest, I cringe at the regular gushing baby updates through social media. Even I’m not interested that ‘Phoebe has not eaten her porridge for breakfast’ that morning, or ‘Archie has just been potty trained’ with added photo for effect. Aren’t we already living in world over-saturated with online sharing; one where we have all become a bit narcissistic, without our children’s lives also being documented in a timeline? And don’t get me started on all the parental acronyms that only those-in-the-know, know.

I once went to visit my sister in Los Angeles where we took my new niece to a baby group of some description. It was one of those groups where you have to join in and sing and perform animatedly – very LA. I was absolutely bewildered and felt like an awkward teenager (I was in my early 20s) and that day, I made a mental note to myself to never turn into a happy-clappy parent.

Yet here I am singing 'Head, shoulders, knees and toes' at 6am and I absolutely love it. I’m joined to every gurgling group around and coffee with friends comes with a slice of cake and is a necessary part of the week to discuss our darling’s developments. Without realising, I’m now part of the buggy-brigade and words like ‘Babyccino’ will no doubt become a normal part of my vocab. 
I am so grateful and feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have our beautiful, healthy baby boy. I’ve never felt love like it – I want to kamikaze anyone who may potentially put him in danger. Have I changed? Of course I blimin' have; my whole outlook has changed and I have a new empathy and respect for every parent on the planet. Our son comes first in our little family and I’m usually last. At the very least, I’m so busy being a new mum I microwave my forgotten cold cup of tea about seven times a day. 

Yet despite all this, I still don’t want to be part of the baby blogging world that has become so trendy (passé?). Not that I think there is anything wrong with it. In fact, I think for parents out there who need it; having an online support network, especially for people who may not have one in the ‘real-world’ – and who are experiencing difficulties from the mild ‘Argh! I’m having a moment’ to the more serious post-natal depression – it is essential. 
I have learnt that having a baby is all consuming, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of only talking about our bundle of joy at times. I'll find a balance, I'm still determined to be successful and make a difference in this world. At the moment I’m a bit in the middle (I’ve always been known to sit on the fence): I’m not quite ready for an all-nighter sans baby but after nine months I’m just about ready to discuss non-related baby babble. Besides, I wouldn’t want to inflict all-night babysitting on anyone right now as our son enjoys his habitual nightly awakenings and cuddles too much.

My next challenge is going back to work next week, part-time mind; the best of both? We'll see I hope so. As for this new yummy mummy social group – maybe it's inevitable – just please, please don't talk to me about recipes, or knitting, or cupcakes…

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