With Baby Number Two due in just two months' time (ARGH), I've spent a lot of time this weekend sitting back and reflecting, thinking about motherhood and all the things I've learned.
Since having Zayn 16 incredible months ago, I've become a completely new person. Sleep-deprived with eye bags the size of suitcases and a little rough around the edges, maybe, but living life with a baby truly helps you to see the joy in small, simple pleasures.
|With Zayn the day after he was born|
Motherhood has also helped me to appreciate the people I love on a whole different level. I could go on and on about the amazing friends I have, but don't get me started on how wonderful my own mum is. Seriously, there aren't enough superlatives in the world to tell you how great that woman is.
Anyway, here's what I've learned from motherhood - the good, the bad and the ugly.
1) Your Mum IS Super Woman
|My mum with Zayn at 3 months old|
Since having Zayn, I've really started to appreciate just how much my own mum did for me and what she sacrificed. Although she will never know how much I love her, and she would never believe me when I told her just how brilliant she is, there is no woman greater than her on this earth.
2) Trust Your Instincts
The instant you find out you're pregnant, you're bombarded with well-meaning advice. Mums and grandparents especially will be full of tips and comments such as, "No, you don't do it that way - do it like this." I was lectured on everything, from how to wind Zayn (because of course I couldn't work out the best way myself) to what to feed him.
All I can say is this: grin and bear it. No one will ever know your baby like you do, and no two children are ever the same. Trust your instincts and enjoy motherhood how you want to enjoy it. The whole process is a huge learning curve, but one for you and baby to explore together - don't let anyone else upset you, and don't let them stick their beaks in.
3) White is a No-Go
I'm also mourning the loss of my Louboutin shoes, which have been stacked away for "special occasions". Perhaps I'm doing something wrong as I always see VB tottering around in skyscraper heels and immaculate clothing, child in arms. However, jeans, hi-tops and a baby-sick encrusted jumper will probably become your wardrobe staples.
4) Never Forget the Power of a Hug
Just when you were considering hiding in the bedroom and screaming, your little monster will come and give you the biggest, loveliest hug and kiss. And I guarantee that your heart (and bad mood) will quickly melt. Nothing quite beats a cuddle from your own child - and the same goes for baby, too. There's no greater feeling or medicine in the world than a hug from your mum.
In the same way, remember this: a smile from your child makes everything seem a whole lot better.
5) Don't Compare
However hard you try, there will always be a band of mums who like to judge, boast and offer snide digs, such as, "Oh, but MY son could say 'water' while he was still in the womb. And he slept through from birth."
Yep, a lot of mums are naturally competitive and can honestly make you want to curl up in a corner and cry. While it is hard to not compare yourself to these pristine yummy mummies, remember this - no baby or child is as perfect as your own, and you can betcha bottom dollar that these mums aren't telling you the bad bits, either. Maybe your child is the last to walk or talk, and perhaps they don't sleep through. But they're yours, and I guarantee that nothing will ever replace that.
6) Touche Eclat IS Your Best Friend
Just when you think you've finally cracked it and you're sitting smug, thinking your baby is the greatest sleeper ever, they'll throw you a curveball. I promise that, when you least expect it, you'll be given sleepless nights - and they'll make night feeds seem like a piece of cake.
Rather than bemoan it, think of all the chores you can get done in a 24-hour day and stock up on YSL by the bucketload. No mother should be without it - I'd scare Zayn without mine.
7) You'll Never Stop Missing Them
Come the end of certain days, and I am desperate for Zayn to get bathed and into bed. When he's had a strop on and done nothing but moan, I NEED my "me time". However, once he's safely tucked up and snoring softly away, I start to yearn for him. He may have only been asleep for a matter of minutes, but I actually miss him.
Let me tell you this - you will always, always miss your baby or child when they're not there. Even if you don't want to.
8) LOVE Your Body
I adore this image because it's so goddamn true - mothers are tigers, and tigers are pretty darn beautiful, right? Becoming a mum has, weirdly, made me love my body even more - and trust me when I say that I've had women who have said horrible things about me for this alone.
I had never been particularly body-confident, but now...well, I LOVE my body, and I try to embrace that every single day. I get upset when I see women loathing their bodies, or pointing out their stretch marks or "jelly bellies." Why? Your body gave you the most important, incredible thing possible - learn to love it, and reward it for just that. It's an amazing thing.
9) You'll Forever Be Chasing Circles
Just when you get one thing ticked off on your "to do list", I promise that your little monster will have created a dozen others. Your house will forever be a whirlwind of chaos and plastic toys, and your kitchen will never, ever be spotless again. You might want to hold your head in your hands and scream / cry / punch the door, but step back - it's not important. Instead, just enjoy the moment - I promise that it can be done later.
10) You NEED "Me Time" - And Don't Feel Guilty Admitting It
Don't feel guilty about booking in time away from your children, or even your hubbies - I guarantee that you need it, and you'll even be a better mum for it. Whether it's reading, shopping, visiting friends or pampering yourself at the spa, try to enjoy a bit of what you love once a week, and do it on your own.
If All Else Fails - There's Always Wine