Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bridging the gap between mums and not-yet-mums

I fought and won against the frump on Sunday; successfully getting all dolled up for a wonderful girls lunch by the harbour involving fruity wine, fresh seafood, people watching, good conversation and... no baby. The only way to top my happiness would be if the boys had found babysitters for the night, chartered one of those fancy boats bobbing at the pier where we were lunching, and beckoned us on board with bottles of champagne!

I love my beautiful bubba, but it was utter bliss to my soul to have that little break from him.

The girly group was a combo of mums and not-yet-mums, and even though the mums in the group were quick to exclaim how wonderful it was to be childfree, it wasn't long before we were chatting openly about our little ones. It was at this point I noticed a familiar look in the eyes of the not-yet-mums. A look that I hadn't experienced since pre-pregnancy. A look that says it all - "is it really that bad?!"

Were we talking about the endless crying or the sleepless nights or the cheeky personalities that cannot be tamed? I can't remember, but either way, that glum look from the not-yet-mums was probably justified.

This wasn't the first time I've found myself adding to the perceived negativity of parenting more and more lately. Why do I do it? Quite simply, I've come to realise that mums have to laugh at ourselves, laugh at our babies and laugh at life's challenges to get through it all. As a mum, nothing takes our cares away more than hearing how another mum dealt with an explosive nappy in the supermarket, and then sharing a similarly funny story about finding a newly mobile baby about to swallow a piece of sodden cardboard bitten from one of his favourite books.

That being said, it does bother me and here's the reason why.

I remember what it was like to look to the future through rose tinted glasses with many a romantic vision about becoming a mother, and how quickly those happy visions would dissipate when I'd hear those "funny" stories that would, quite frankly, freak me out. I resented some of the mothers that would openly share what could only be described as horror stories. In actual fact, had I not been so intent on having children, some of those stories could have put me off completely. The reality is, more and more young couples are choosing lifestyle over families for this very reason.

After discovering all of the beauty and happiness of being a mum firsthand, Latte Mum was born out of a desire to share more positive and uplifting stories that might tip the scales back into a real and balanced position. I feel very strongly about this and hate to think I'm contributing to feelings of horror in any future parents.

Picture taken from free Google images
So, in an attempt to reclaim some balance on the scales and bridge the gap between us, here's what I want to say to both sides...

To the mums (myself included):
Newsflash - it wasn't socially acceptable to talk in public about bodily fluids, horror medical situations or bedroom antics before you were a mum, and nothing's changed! The couple at the table next to you don't want to hear it, and neither do your pre-parent girlfriends (you know, the ones that saw you for a couple of months post-baby but have mysteriously stopped calling)! I'm a massive fan of Mothers Groups and connecting with other parents as I think it's essential to share ideas, gain advice and support, we just need to be more mindful of who else is in earshot. I'm sure in your sleepy state you're keen to give a reality check to those yet to step into parenthood, but why can't they keep their rose tinted glasses on for a little longer? Anyway, when the time comes they'll no doubt get through their own unique parenting experience in the same way you have - step by step, day by day.

To the not-yet-mums:
Take any parenting horror stories you hear with a grain of salt. The "negative" stories you're hearing are mostly funny to us, and it's unlikely anything is being said to you with the intention of putting you off parenthood. Truth be told, becoming a mum is incredible, life changing, uplifting and joyful - and most mums will agree with me. For every sleepless night, there's a thousand smiles, giggles, hugs and beautiful moments that erase any negativity in a heartbeat - you will find out soon enough.

*Do you have any words of advice or pointers for mums and not-yet-mums to keep in mind?

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