To the mum I thought I was going to be.

Usually people write to their 16 year olds selves but honestly I don’t think I have anything to say to my 16 year old self that I would like.

My 16 year old self would think I was boring, old and uncool.

I don’t mind she’s a dick who spends the next 5 years only being able to see out of one eye because she keeps losing her contact lenses.

At 16 I’d rather not know that Morrissey turns out to be an idiot, I’d have to wait 26 years to see Kate Bush live and I dumped both a comedian and a magician before deciding to settle down and have children with a man who works in IT.

The only good news I have for me at 16 is that I did eventually get massive breasts.

(Obvs. I’ll leave out the fun bits about them being lumpy, erupting in milky explosions at inopportune moments before eventually disappearing.)

Instead of boring my 16 year old self to death I decided to write to a version of me who would be interested in what I have to say.

Me 5 years ago.

Me before children.

Mainly because I’ll be stoked to find out that I did eventually get to be a mum.

But not the mum I thought I’d be.

Remember her?

The mum you imagined yourself being before the reality of parenting kicked in?

You know the one.

The mum who had all her babies firsts saved in a special box.

Instead of the mum who screams every time she opens her jewellery box to find two shrivelled umbilical cords slowly disintegrating amongst the earrings.

The mum who framed the baby pictures instead of forgetting to download them off her so-called smart phone which she dropped down a toilet drunk.

Not so smart now are we Samsung?

The mum who made the footprint pottery.

Rather than the mum who has actual footprints on the walls, the television and the windows.

(I could wipe them off but I’m still trying to work out how the hell they got there.)

The mum who didn’t come home from her first post baby night hammered on red wine, throw up into the cutlery drawer then have to be forcibly banned from breastfeeding.

THAT never happened.

Yeah you know her.

The mum you thought you’d be before you realised that being a mum is waay too much hard work and actually just keeping children alive, clean, fed and dressed is enough of a job to be getting on with thank you very much.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I’m a bad mum.

I’m just not what I expected.

I don’t think anyone is what I expected.

They would be exhausted.

I’m not actually going to write a letter instead I’m going to email myself back in time with a link to my blog.

There’s definitely an app for that.

Thinking about it I write most of my blog with her in mind.

It’s not that I want to crush her dreams of a perfect life with perfectly dressed children eating perfectly healthy home made food.

I just want to let her know that none of that shit happens and life is still fucking brilliant.

Oh and one other thing: If you are going to throw up in the kitchen the cutlery drawer is literally the worst place to do it.

It’s right next to both the bin AND the sink you dozy cow.

I’d love to know if anyone actually became the mum they thought they were going to be?

20 thoughts on “To the mum I thought I was going to be.

  1. To the Mummy I thought I’d be….

    1.. Your child doesn’t have a neat collection of traditional wooden toys on a shelf in her nursery. She has an annoying range of plastic noisy bits of crap. All. Over. The. House.

    2. You will not exercise while she is sleeping. You will cry and then fall asleep yourself.

    3. Your child will not eat your home-made vegetable crap. She will throw it on the floor piece by piece and demand Twiglets.

    4. You hate Upsy Daisy.

    5. You hate Upsy Daisy. Seriously.

    6. Remember when you wanted her to wear all the colours of the rainbow so she wouldn’t have an annoying pink fetish. Yeah, well, everyone mistakes her for a boy and you want to punch them in the face. Plus, she’ll probably still develop and annoying pink fetish just like you did, you idiot.

    7. Your mother-in-law suddenly thinks she is your GOD. Every time you see her she plies you with hideous items of baby clothing that you feel forced to dress your child in and then tells you that you’re doing everything wrong.

    8. You never get to finish a job in one go. This was meant to be a top 10. Good luck!

  2. Hell no …. I was going to write a book on my maternity leave not spend the whole time worrying that the baby wouldn’t sleep, eat or stop being sick!

    • Oh Heather, thank.you for writing that! I feel qualified to carry on, now that I know that I may never reach the perfection I envisaged and they will stay alive, to at least 30, anyway…

      • Oh, believe me, Zoë, there were many times I didn’t think he’d survive to the end of the day. let alone to nearly 30 😉

        Turns out that benign neglect can be a perfectly valid parenting style….in fact, my health has taken a dive since he was little, and he now lives with me and is my main carer. I couldn’t wish for a better son, really I couldn’t.

        Good luck, and don’t beat yourself up about perfection too much 🙂

  3. Eehbah, God, how you make me laugh! The cutlery drawer, hysterical! You’re a woman after my own heart.
    Yeah, having kids is nothing like you expected, more work than anything I’ve ever done, but also better than I could possibly have imagined. But I remember the blinding exhaustion of having a child with colic who NEVER SLEPT, which meant I never slept, and how one morning as I was rubbing cream on my face I realized that my face was covered with diaper rash cream and that I HADN’T NOTICED until my entire face was slathered with it. Luckily no one rang the door bell at that moment or I would probably have been carted away for a nice little rest in a room with padded walls.
    Keep up the great writing. You’re one of my faves!

  4. Oh I wish, I really do wish I was the Mum I thought I would be. But no, I am far too exhausted to be that woman. Like you say, I a not doing the worst job ever, it’s just not the play dough making, vegetable growing, breast feeding til school Mum I thought I would be.
    Thanks for making that ok.

  5. I made two rather crap baby books for my daughters, but not for my son – because our camera was dying slowly when he was little. I did manage to bring all their placentas home and plant them under child-appointed trees in the garden. Although one (placenta) was left in a motel fridge and had to be delivered via bus to our home 3 1/2 hours drive away. They all spent a quiet time in our freezer before said planting days, on which I defrosted them in the microwave. Sadly I think mums spend far too much time trying to be better than their mums…

  6. I’m 40+ weeks pregnant and already not the perfect mum I imagined.

    Walking radiently, drinking smoothies, nesting and handcrafting dear little baby things?
    Waddling, inhaling decaff frappacinos and cake, chucking the Cif wipes at husband (muttering about “I can’t reach the corners of the shower unit you do it”) and getting my elbows into the bargain bucket at the H&M sale.

    Mind you my little ‘bean’ was supposed to slip out elegantly on my due date in Yoga water birth stylee not have me keeping the curry and pineapple industry in £££ for weeks after!

    Onwards and upwards..! 🙂

  7. I’m managing to be the mum I wanted to be but that’s because I wanted to be the sort of mum you are! I’m the subfertile daughter of a subfertile mother and I had the full helicopter-parent, everything to be perfect type upbringing 30-odd years before it became fashionable and it was shit. I was determined that if I did have my own kids that they would get benign neglect with natural consequences – wear what you like, eat what you like (aka baby led weaning) feel free to rampage through the house because we spent all the money for decent furniture on the IVF. I even planned to have twins so any tendencies to control freakery would be stamped out by the sheer volume of stuff to do. Boy, did that strategy work.

    It’s been a blast actually and it’s been great in blowing out all the protestant work ethic poo that I was brought up with – the struggle to be perfect. Yesterday I was playing Skyrim during their afternoon nap and when the wee one woke up she came to see what I was doing. She was all like “that’s an elephant! There’s a fox!” and I realised that in a couple of years time we can get them started on Minecraft and then basically our parenting job is over other than suppying dinner and remembering to buy them bigger shoes once in a while. And that is actually fine! My favourite things as an under-10 were the swing park and playing computer games with my dad, but I still racked up a degree and a PhD.

    I hope this comment doesn’t come over too insufferably smug. I’m not that smug. I haven’t done any exercise since 2011. Sometimes I go out of the house looking so scruffy that the family support lady at the toddlers’ group asks me if I’m OK. And I have had the same stain on the front of my work jacket for a month.

      • I mean it! I go on Mumsnet every once in a while and someone will be like “how do I get my child to stop playing Minecraft all day” and I’m thinking, wait, your kid is spending the entire day learning how to design things with digital lego, and that’s a bad thing?

  8. So relieved to find I’m not the only one with a revolting bit of umbilical cord still loitering around. Not actually sure where our bit is- it just randomly turns up now and then. Disgusting, but I can’t quite bring myself to bin it!

  9. Ha, ha brilliant read. My 10 year old is making sock puppets tomorrow at school and the teacher said that they have to bring in new socks so I bought a pack of five. I told my daughter to take the whole pack in in-case someone didn’t have any and she said “don’t be silly mum everyone will be able to afford a pair of new socks” . Well I told her it isn’t always the case because I was always the child who never brought stuff into school as my parents either couldn’t afford it/didn’t have it or basically couldn’t be bothered!!! I am the mum I wanted to be – giving and caring!

  10. As a teacher I kinda thought I would be the Mum that goes “Oh lets go and collect leaves and make a collage and discuss all sorts of things about Autumn and let me teach you my child in fact I will home school you and you will be a genius” In reality? I’ve taught them nowt bar walking and talking but I think that maybe nature? I shall claim it though. Being a Mum is rock hard. Fun (sometimes) but rock hard xxx

  11. I didn’t think that I would try to bribe and literally BEG a ten month old child… A also said I would never give her food to keep her quiet… cheese and biscuits work wonders!
    I also steal my child’s bottom cream to put on my spots – amazing stuff!

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