Monday, 27 February 2017

The Six Words Every Mother Needs To Hear

I just need to sleep.

That was, undeniably, the main thought running through my head in the first few months after my eldest, Little O, was born. That, and ‘what the hell have I done’, ‘where did I put the sodding Sudocrem’ and wondering when my downstairs would stop feeling like the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.

It won’t be like this forever. That was what my mother-in-law said to me. It will get better.

I can’t remember exactly when she first said it. I can only assume it was on one of the many occasions I sat slumped at her kitchen table, face planted on the granite, coffee mug in hand.



It became my mantra. I repeated it to myself as I wore the bedroom carpet down, rocking a colicky baby in the early morning darkness. I told it to myself when an explosive poop meant a hasty retreat from the garden centre/supermarket/post office/all of the above. I remembered it when the midwife peered with a stern eye at his growth chart. And when I sat in Costa Coffee, forlornly staring at the empty zip pocket where the clean breast pads should be, as milk slowly seeped through my top. And – a personal favourite - when my childless friends checked into the pub or theatre or Spain on Facebook.

It won’t be like this forever.

As my baby grew and the issues of posseting and poop and leaky boobs morphed into those of teething, food allergies and separation anxiety, I again reminded myself that it was only temporary. I would get through it. It would pass, eventually, and slowly I would reclaim some of my life back.

And it was true. The sleepless nights gradually reduced until he finally slept through and a nap routine developed. I switched to formula, for his sake as well as my own, which meant family members could take a turn at feeding. His awareness of the world around him increased. He could play, so I could play with him. He learned to walk, so we explored the garden. His attention span grew, we began to enjoy stories together.

It won’t be like this forever.


Before I knew it, he wasn’t a baby any more. No longer could I carry the length of his delicate body along one arm. The tiny, grasping fingers learned to draw. The soft fontanelle which once pulsed beneath soft baby skin and feathery hair disappeared, now protected by bone.

It won’t be like this forever.

His chubby frog legs straightened out and now wiggled and kicked to escape the change mat. That tiny mouth that searched instinctively for milk now prefers ice cream and sausages and orange squash. The wide eyes that watched my face intently will now happily glue themselves to the telly at any given opportunity.

It won’t be like this forever.


The head that could snooze (and for a time would only snooze) on my shoulder will now rarely do the same, save for the post-swimming car-to-house transfer and the odd late evening at Nana and Grandads. The days when it was still just me and him, with no little brother vying for my attention, when he had me, all of me, and didn’t have to share. Those days are fewer and a rare treat now.

And I know, in just a few years, he won’t come running to me for cuddles. He won’t need my help to dress, to make lunch, to go out and visit friends. The tantrums will transition to sulks and my kisses at the school gate will be greeted with a shrug and an ‘Oh, Muuuum…’

Soon I’ll be the one vying for his attention, and yearning for those bittersweet years of nappies and midnight lullabies when I told myself - it won’t be like this forever.


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21 comments:

  1. Oh this is so true. I have to remind myself this. Treasure every moment of motherhood every second is wonderful, even if at the time it doesn't feel like it!

    #BigPinkLink

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  2. Aww this made me tear up a little! I'm sat with a sleeping toddler on me reading a few blogs. This just makes me want to stop and cuddle that little bit longer.... or I'll transfer to cot and get a cuppa tea! #candidcuddles

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  3. Exactly my thoughts today as I ordered my baby's first school uniform for her and wanted to cry for the tiny doll she once was who fit on my chest perfectly.

    Laura C

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  4. I love this post, so true. I had the same mantra! Now by boys are no longer babies, they are 3.5 and nearly 2 so I know that I will be chasing them round for attention in the not too distant future and I will long for the days when they were my babies. #Dreamteam

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  5. I love this post. So emotional... Bittersweet is the perfect word for the first few years - there are sleepless nights and sacrifices and nappies galore and tantrums, but there are also precious moments, firsts, cuddles and lots of kisses.
    Words I will also remember when the day's not going so great ... thanks!
    #candidcuddles

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  6. Beautiful, honest and emotional post, six words that in the early days you really need to hear but as they get older you don't want to hear. Last night was a rough night with our littlest and I kept telling myself it won't be like this forever but also secretly relished in the extra baby cuddles as I know they won't always require my cuddles to settle them. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

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  7. Aww I love this - it was so tough in those early weeks but your mantra is spot on. Now she's a toddler, I long for those newborn days again! Beautiful post. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam x

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  8. Ya that's so true - no period of your baby's live will be like that forever. Each phase can feel so long while you are in it but then it's gone by in a flash they are a year then all of a sudden starting school. This is a lovely heartfelt post, thank you for sharing it with us at #candidcuddles xx

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  9. It doesn't get easier - it just gets different : advice I was given that I think was spot on. Our child still does not sleep but we lay with him on his bed rather than try and rock his 14.5kg body. Got me thinking, which is great as I am pregnant! #bestandworst

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  10. My youngest is 3 weeks old so I'm in the throes of it all again but the trouble is I do want it to be like this forever - they're growing too quickly! #bestandworst

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  11. I think in those very early days all new parents need this to be their mantra as it is so hard! But you are right..we miss the baby stage when it's over, although I did recently write about how I won't be missing all of it once my baby is grown up!xx #bestandworst

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  12. Ahh! This is so true. This is beautifully written.
    You really need to cherish those early years, they grow up far too fast.
    #bestandworst

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  13. I try not to even think this second time around as I know I will miss parts of my little second baby girl so much. I feel I have already forgotten so much of my first. Lovely post and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

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  14. Aw, this is beautiful. My son will be 8 next month and I don't know where the time has gone, I miss those baby cuddles x
    #SharingtheBlogLove

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  15. I used to hate it when people said to me: this too shall pass. I felt like it was undervaluing the struggle I was experiencing. But as time has gone on, I have seen the value and truth in it. It's also really helpful to apply to the good bits, drink it in because this too shall pass. i also enjoy the alternative version: this too shall pass-it will pass like a kidney stone- but it will pass :) #sharethebloglove

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  16. I think each stage has its pros and cons. #SharingtheBlogLove

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  17. This is such a lovely, honest post. I remember telling myself the same thing through the baby days, I found it a real struggle to get through. But although it seems unending at the time, it really is over in a flash. My son will be 3 next month and that seems impossible to me - surely it was just a few months ago he insisted on sleeping only on me? Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  18. Ohhhh no this is heartbreaking! I keep saying I'm going to make her stay in her Moses basket beside me until she's 10. I'm guilty of sometimes wishing time away, but I don't ever want my baby not to be my baby. Thank you for the reminder of how fast it all flies by #blogstravaganza

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  19. What lovely writing and so true. I completely agree, it's not forever, and then it's all change. This is also at tee forefront of my mind with less than 3 months til Baby #2's arrival - a huge change and I want to appreciate every moment with H on her own before its all changed. #bestandworst

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  20. For the past year I've also been telling myself that 'it won't be like this forever', then almost over night my youngest turned into a toddler and now I find myself wondering where the time has gone. It doesn't seem like it at the time but the months fly by! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

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  21. This is beautiful and very true. Most things are a phase and at the time it doesn't feel like a phase, it feels like it will never end. But it does. Sometimes a good thing and sometimes bitter sweet. My youngest is heading toward 3 and there are so many things I will miss as she gets older. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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