An Apology to all the Mums that went before me…

Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion on, and the hardest thing to do, or so the famous quote goes. Parenting before you’ve even had a child of your own is even easier.

Minimal amounts of telly, endless Pinterest-perfect days of crafts and sensory activities, no junk food to pass their cute little lips, right?! Isn’t this every non-parent’s perfect vision? The only way that they’ll ever bring up any child of their own?!

Oh it’s so easy to say and so difficult to do, isn’t it?! And so I want to apologise. Publicly apologise to all of those Mums that went before me, who I may have silently (or not so silently, among friends) had a tiny bit of judgement towards. I’m so sorry, because this raising children thing is hard!

And I think it starts before you’re even pregnant: just think of all of those child free days you just didn’t appreciate. Going out with friends without the military operation that is organising childcare, beach holidays where you could actually relax, going shopping without the mad dash to get everything before a certain little person gets hungry or bored.

Cancun, Mexico

Oh to be able to relax in peace on a beautiful beach!

I’m so sorry, to all my mum friends that went before me, that tried to tell me to enjoy these simple pleasures before we started a family.

Even when you’re pregnant, before the baby arrives, you have absolutely no clue how this child will affect your lives. How could you?! Up until this point, you’ve solely been responsible for yourself, and perhaps your partner. Many Mums-to-be start to want to rush their baby along towards the end. Yes it’s uncomfy and tiring and you just want to meet that little person that you’ve been baking for nine whole months! And no amount of telling a woman who is miserably uncomfortable towards the end of pregnancy to ‘just enjoy it’ will sink in. We’re all the same, we all think we just know that we’ll feel better once the baby is here.

A very pregnant Mrs Lighty...

A very pregnant Mrs Lighty…

Although I didn’t really feel the need to rush Baby Lighty along, I was still guilty of not heeding my friends’ advice to just enjoy the last few weeks’ of pregnancy. “Put your feet up! Get some rest! Read a book! Drink hot tea!”, they all told me, but did I listen?! No I did not. And now I’ve only managed to finish one book in the past 17 months; a far cry from the Mrs Lighty that would finish one book every 10 days. I distinctly remember Nanny Kersey asking incredulously if I thought I’d have time to harvest the tomatoes I’d planted once Baby Lighty made his appearance, and me thinking “Not enough time to pick a couple of tomatoes?! Don’t be daft!”. But of course she was right. In that dreaded newborn phase, Baby Lighty barely went long enough between feeds for me to go to the loo, let alone do anything else.

And so I’m sorry, dear mothers that went before me, for not heeding your warning.

Then, of course, the baby arrives. Oh how I apologise to all of those mums that went before me! There is nothing that anyone can tell you that will prepare you for how much a baby changes your life. Someone once said to me that the changes a child makes to your life can be likened to throwing a load of balls into the air, seeing where they land and trying to make a new normal from what’s left. That sounds pretty accurate right about now.

Until you’re a mum yourself, there are some things you just can’t comprehend. I’ve had conversations with childless friends in the past about the likes of co-sleeping and breastfeeding, and there are always really strong opinions at play. But until you have a little person of your own, until you know how hard motherhood can be, you just don’t realise that once you are a parent, you do whatever it is that you need to do to get through the day.

Formula tins.

Breast, bottle, co-sleeping, babywearing, weaning, parenting styles…all things that are so easy to have an opinion on and so difficult to do!

I’m sorry to my mum friends that went before me for not understanding why you would complain about how hard it was. I’m sorry for not really understanding how difficult it is to juggle work and childcare. I’m sorry for not understanding that you might not want to be separated from your baby. And most of all I’m so sorry for not being more supportive. I’m sorry for not offering help or at least lunch, rather than just buying cute outfits and showing up at your house not long after you’ve been through the trauma of birth to enjoy baby cuddles. I hope I can make it up to you all in the future somehow.

Because I get it now. This parenting malarkey is hard bloody work. So, Mums, let’s all give ourselves a pat on the back. 

And if you’re reading this and you don’t yet have children, please take note. I know you won’t truly get it, because no one ever does until their own bundle of joy comes along. It is such hard work, but you just can’t comprehend that before you have children. Although don’t let me put you off parenthood either, for despite all the hard work children are bundles of joy: beautiful, rewarding, funny, amazing, frustrating, testing, tantruming bundles of pure joy.

Just do me a favour, Mums-to-be? Drink a hot cup of tea, read a book, enjoy one last holiday as a couple. Go on, for me. You may not understand where I’m coming from right now, but you will. Once your own little bundle comes along, that is, and you suddenly find yourself wanting to apologise to all of the Mums that went before you, too.

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83 thoughts on “An Apology to all the Mums that went before me…”

  1. How true is this? Full of my ‘yeah well I’ll be breastfeeding, we won’t need X,Y and Z’ thoughts and my ‘you let him eat that? full of sugar? off the floor?’ looks I can say I’ve thought about this a million times. I don’t think you can begin to comprehend how hard it is until the first day. Right up to then you think you’re ready. I saw a quote once that said having a baby was like looking both ways before crossing the road and getting hit by an aeroplane.

    1. Haha that’s a hilarious quote!! Mostly because it’s so true!! I’m glad that I’m not the only one that’s felt this way to be honest! Thanks for taking the time to read my post 🙂 #coolmumclub

  2. Brilliant post! Nodded along to every point made. I guess we really don’t ‘get it’ until we experience it first-hand… how physically and emotionally exhausting parenthood is; the effect of continuous sleepless nights; how precious time was and also, how you now feel a love like you’ve never felt before:)

    1. Yep it’s all of those things and more, isn’t it? But that’s so difficult to comprehend before you have kids of your own!! Thanks for taking the time to read my post 🙂 #coolmumclub

  3. Oh I’m so with you on this. I always say to expecting first time mums now that I didn’t listen and they really should just put their feet up and enjoy their maternity leave before their bundle of joy arrives.
    I now know how my holidays pre child annoyed my friends with children, as I look on at those who are still carefree and childfree! #coolmumclub

    1. Oh yes!! How often do you look at a child free couple on holiday and just want to shout at them “ENJOY IT!!”, ha!! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post 🙂 #coolmumclub

  4. Where is a LOVE button when you need one…
    Yes yes yes. I just recently met a friend for dinner with her 6 mo and she looked at me in a totally new way – a way that said ‘NOW I get it, and I can’t believe you have managed to bumble along on all our meet ups sleep deprived, with two children in tow.’
    We learn, we all learn in the end.
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub!

    1. Hahaha…it’s so true isn’t it? I have given my mum friends this knowing look since becoming a mum myself, I know! Thanks for having me on #coolmumclub as always! xxx

  5. This is so so true and superbly written! Absolutely nothing prepared me for what was to come after I gave birth (I was so naive), and the tiredness (oh the tiredness)! I have gone back on so many things I said I would never do, but toddlers are crazy and it’s all about survival! #DreamTeam

    1. Yes me too! I never wanted to use a dummy, I wanted to breastfeed for longer, I wasn’t going to give in to tantrums, I wasn’t going to feed him unhealthy food, I wasn’t going to let him watch too much TV…oh how times change!! Definitely all about survival!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  6. Oh why why why do we always learn the hard way? It’s a lesson to us all really that we must take on board more what others say who are in the know. Maybe motherhood is that final last hard lesson and we’ll accept any good advice about anything after this! #DreamTeam

  7. So true, what you’ve written here. I think this is how it’s supposed to be, to really and truly understand motherhood when it actually becomes reality. We, moms, can give advice to moms-to-be all we want, but somehow the mind of a not-yet mom isn’t quite prepared to absorbe all this not-so-good information about being a mom;). And that’s perfectly fine:)x #DreamTeam

    1. Yes that’s true actually and not something I’d thought about, so thanks for a different perspective. I remember saying to people pre-Baby Lighty when they would comment that something I’d bought for the house or the like wouldn’t be practical once children came along, “well I don’t have children yet, so why shouldn’t I buy it?” and I guess this is the same! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  8. It’s so true. It’s always easy to pass judgement before you really understand how difficult it all is. At the end of the day, all we can do is whatever works. Hopefully one day we will all accept that everyone has their own methods. No judgement needed.

    1. Yes! I am a big fan of doing whatever it is that I need to do to get me through the day! And I think we are all guilty of judgement pre-children but I hope better at no judgement post-children…we can hope at least! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  9. THIS IS SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That first paragraph spoke to me like you wouldn’t believe. Everyone has an opinion on how to parent. The only opinion that matters is yours. #dreamteam

    1. Ha! Don’t they just?! And wouldn’t it be nice if those opinions were kept to themselves?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  10. Brilliant and very wise post. I am always looking back and thinking how little I appreciated the hot cups of tea and weekends away. I wouldn’t change it though #dreamteam

    1. Yes that is true. I think most of us would happily sacrifice our hot cups of tea, and let’s face it we can always pack up baby and take them with us on those weekends away 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. Ha! I know! It’s like when you try to think of what you did with your time pre-children, or what you spent your money on, and come up blank!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  11. It all went by so fast. I blinked and then there was a baby. Now there are four!

    I just want to go back to pre baby days for one week, enjoy me size zero pants size and sleep- the WHOLE TIME!


    1. Oh wow, four babies! Hats off to you! Ah but then would you sleep if you went back for a week pre-baby? Don’t you think we’d be out on the town drinking cocktails until the wee hours and then complaining how tired we were, but not really understanding the true meaning of tiredness? Ah those were the days!! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  12. Oh Nic! I think this is my favourite post of yours yet! I have a couple of child free friends that comment on other people’s parenting skills (or apparent “lack of”) and they always say things like “I’m not a parent but surely they just need to….” I now find myself jumping to the defense of the parent and saying, well yes, but the thing is, when you’ve got tiny people depending on you every minute of your waking (and sleeping) life, it can actually be a bit trickier than it looks. The thing is I know that I used to say exactly the same kind of thing before I had children and I feel so guilty! If it helps though I think I’ve now offended so many none-parents by sticking up for the mums and dads out there that I’ve maybe balanced it out a bit? #DreamTeam xx

    1. Haha, I love your self justification there Dawn!! Aw thanks for saying this is your favourite post of mine, that means a lot as I know you are such a loyal reader (big bloggy thanks!). But yes I do this too. I remember telling a non-mum friend that no, you didn’t always ‘just breastfeed’ because it’s cheaper and yes, sometimes you do let your child sleep in your bed because IT’S THE ONLY WAY YOU’LL GET SOME SLEEP!! Things don’t always work out the way we planned in pre-pregnant perfect parent land, do they?! Hope you’ve enjoyed your first week of guest co-hosting #DreamTeam as much as I have 🙂

  13. This is so true! Your own children are the only thing that will ever truly make you understand. I could never understand why people would dress their children in the same clothes or buy them the same things. Now I have two daughters who are like so alike and want what the other has I get it. It simply stops arguments and tantrums. So sorry to those mums who I used to think ‘those poor children’ of.

    1. Ha! Yes isn’t is just the case that you do whatever you need to do to get through the day and keep yourself sane?! And if that means buying two of the same thing to stop the tantrums, as you say, then you do it!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. I think I may have suggested a bit too much with this post though as I had texts from at least three pregnant friends about it…oops!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. Yes that’s true. You forget what you did with all of your time and what you spent your money on!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

    1. Haha! I don’t think we harvested many (if any!) the first year when Baby Lighty was about 3 months old, but we did this year…mainly because we got Baby Lighty to help us, ha!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  14. I LOVE this! I always say to my friends who have just given birth, remember the days when you used to think you were tired?? God I wish I had made more of those lie-ins!!! I am super jealous of your gorgeous bump by the way, how utterly gorgeous! #dreamteam

    1. Ah thank you. I measured small the whole way through so I had quite a little bump!! Yep, and you get that knowing look from your friends once they understand what it’s REALLY like to have children!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  15. Haha Dawn has definitely evened things out as described in her comment above! You had a blooming amazing bump by the way. A very real and honest post – and it’s hard isn’t it, as you don’t want to sound patronising to non-parents either. I told my heavily pregnant exactly the same thing the other day! Doubt she listened… but I’ll be going round with food next week 🙂 #DreamTeam

    1. Yeah exactly, we’ll make up for it with food and defending fellow parents as Dawn suggests!! Ah thank you, I measured small the whole way through my pregnancy so my bump was always quite neat…I miss it!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  16. So so true. I swear if we really knew what being a parent was going to be like, the human race would die out. I too am guilty of everything you’ve said. Great post #dreamteam

    1. Hmm…I think you’ve probably just hit the nail on the head as to the reason why we don’t know how hard it is before we have children!! Nature’s way of making us procreate!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  17. This is so true. It’s so easy to judge when you aren’t doing it. I always say anyone can be the perfect parent for a feew hours, but doing it day in and day out is hard work #dreamteam

    1. Yes that’s so true, as you don’t really get the full picture if you babysit or go to visit a friend with children for a few hours, do you? Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  18. I adore this post! I have definitely judged moms that came before me, and i know many ofmy non-mom friends judge me today and will someday look back and realize we are simply doing our best to not destroy our children! #DreamTeam

    1. Yes exactly!! As long as they are healthy and not harming anyone else, that’s the main thing!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  19. This is so accurate! It’s as if we forget that a baby is an actual person with thoughts and feelings of their own. Before they are born you imagine being in control. Then they arrive and you have no idea what’s wrong but they are definitely not happy about going along with your plan! I feel quite foolish for not listening to people who told me to just put my feet up now. I doubt new mums ever learn though! #DreamTeam

    1. I think that’s a big part of it, isn’t it, that we want to be in control of our own lives? And then this little person comes along and bam! All is out of kilter!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  20. We all have this moment so don’t worry! It’s so easy to judge when you haven’t been there yourself. I actually get really annoyed now when people who haven’t got kids pass comment. Until you have kids, you have NO idea how your life is going to change. My best friend just had her first and I think she’s still in shock. xx #dreamteam

    1. I was definitely in shock when Baby Lighty was a newborn. And yes I get annoyed about that too. I’ve defended Mums so much on the likes of breastfeeding, bed sharing, babywearing etc etc. But then I guess we all know that we’re doing our best, and hopefully that’s good enough for us? Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  21. Oh goodness this made me laugh, I wrote a similar post myself recently. I have annoying in laws who are about to embark on the journey that is the first baby. They have read so much they think have have it nailed. Little do they know…..

    1. Haha, my in laws probably thought this about me, whoops!! Ping me the link to your post? I’d love to read it 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  22. I here you love! I wanted to breastfeed but I ended up with bottle feeding. Before I was pregnant I was saying that my baby will be not sleeping with us and what I’m doing now when he is waking up in the middle of the night? I’m taking him to our bed. ‘Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion on, and the hardest thing to do’ I should print it and hang it on my wall

    1. Ha! You could hang it in the entrance to your house for all of your non-parent friends to see as they enter!! And yes I was the same, I wanted to breastfeed for longer, I wasn’t going to let him watch too much TV, I wasn’t going to let him eat unhealthy things, I wasn’t going to use a dummy…oh how times change!! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  23. Love this post! I definitely thought I was a great parent before I became a parent ha I have stuck to a lot of what I said I would do, but I have also done a lot of stuff differently. Now when I give “advice” to new parents, I am always so careful how I word it so it doesn’t seem like I’m preaching! I do always tell them to appreciate their baby free days, as lovely as being a parent is, I miss just being about to “pop” out when I want to! Thanks for co-hosting #DreamTeam

  24. I’m really lucky to have a job-mum friend who is so amazing and another who is a fellow mum who too helps me out. I remember once my mum friend turned up with Asda bags and marched straight into my kitchen and started cooking enough dinner for two nights. I nearly cried!!
    I really miss the ease of getting up and going out anywhere without a baby. I’m looking forward to when Ben is old enough to get himself dressed haha

    1. I must admit that I had 3 mum friends come round when I was a complete nervous wreck of a new mum to bring me lunch and give up their own childfree days just to keep me company. Amazing friends!! I hope I can repay them one day 🙂

    1. Yes definitely, and I don’t think we appreciate our own mothers until we are mothers ourselves? Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  25. So so true. And this is it. Forever. For even when they are older and not dependent on us I’ve a feeling we will always be on edge for them. No matter what their age. I’m 35 and my Mum still worries about me!! Great post. #DreamTeam

  26. All so true. You just don’t get it before it actually happens to you and you’re in the throes of the parenting madness! And yes, so easy to have an opinion but so difficult to feel like you’ve made the right parenting calls. Enjoyed reading this. #DreamTeam

    1. Thank you! Yes it’s so hard to know if we’ve done the right thing, isn’t it? But I guess second guessing ourselves is a sign that we’re good mothers… Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  27. I love your post Nic. It’s so true and I did the same. I remember lots of people saying ‘get as much sleep as possible’, and I just poop pooped them saying that was silly, because how are you supposed to do that. But really what they were saying was enjoy your sleep, because it will never EVER be the same again. Thanks so much for being our December guest host for the #DreamTeam xx

    1. Haha! Thank you so much!! Did you get away with your then-boyfriend / now husband not telling you that he told you so once you’d had children, or did he rub it in?! Thanks so much for linking up with #DreamTeam 🙂

  28. Oh yes!!! This is so me too? Ha ha Pinterest?! I’ve hardly gone on it since Kipper came along and I’m a blogger. My step sister is due any day and I wish she would listen and take it a little easier. Thank tou for cohosting #DreamTeam this week xx

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