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One of the greatest things about living next door to your parents, as I do, is that they’re always willing to help out on a practical level: babysitting, lifts to the station, the loan of an emergency egg. And it was on one of these recent trips to the station that I pointed out of the window and said “oooh, look! Nee-naw, nee-naw!”.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise I was in the car with my middle-aged mother and not a 5 year old boy.
Emergency service vehicles are just one of the things you’ll find yourself screeching out the car window at when you’re a mum. See also: horses (“horsies! Clip clop clip clop!”), tractors, or any car more unusual than your bog-standard family hatchback. It’s a gift, a complete and utterly useless gift.
And not the only one you’ll be blessed with upon birthing your first child. In fact, this might happen even earlier than that: I found upon testing positive for my first child that I suddenly learned an entire new language, one that made me reel and cringe with the nonsense of it all.
Yep, it’s the baffling language of the pregnancy and baby messaging boards. A positive pregnancy test was suddenly a BFP (big fat positive), my husband was now DH (dear husband… even if you think he’s not actually that dear on occasion), my period was AF (Aunt Flo) and I no longer had sex, it was BD (baby dance).
Because apparently many of these acronyms pitch us back in the sixties.
Advice was given on MS (morning sickness) IMHO (in my humble opinion), and BF (breastfeeding) or FF (formula feeding) was debated with plenty of HTH (hope this helps). If there had been the rolling eye emoji back in 2009 I would have been using it with abandon.
It wasn’t just the written word that changed for me upon getting pregnant. I was introduced then to the world of baby groups where everyone around me – the women I was expected to become fast friends with just for the fact we’d at some point carried a baby in our tummy – no longer had husbands.
Nope, instead they spoke about their hubbies, a word so sweet it made my back teeth hurt. The first time I heard that word I remember looking around me in shock: I had a baby now, did this mean I had a hubby too? I sincerely hoped not: hubby or DH, it all made my head spin. With nausea.
Suffice to say if anyone ever calls me their wifey I will immediately vomit on their feet. And then divorce them.
Speaking of hubby, you’ll probably stop talking to him for a while. When your first baby arrives, no matter how small the little mewling creature is, it feels like the biggest person you’ve ever met in your life. And this is why it seems appropriate to have all conversations with your spouse either via or about your offspring.
“Has daddy been a naughty boy and left his wet towel on the bed again?” you’ll coo to a clueless 2 month old.
“Does daddy want to go for dinner at the pub on Friday?” you’ll sing to a newborn.
Forget current affairs, politics and debate, if you’re not communicating with your partner through your baby, for the foreseeable all conversations will revolve around the state of your nipples or the colour and texture of a tiny person’s poo.
Swearing is also removed from your family lexicon the first time your three year old sweetly asks you “what’s a bugger, mummy?”. Shit becomes sugar, fuck is fudge nuggets, “oh bottoms” becomes an appropriate response every time you painfully stub your toe.
The C-word becomes an entirely more satisfying expression, only to be used when small people are asleep or literal miles out of earshot. Cursing like a sailor without thought is entirely and sadly a thing of the past – your former colourful curses will be replaced with Ron Burgundy’s outtakes.
Leaving the house on whim is something you’ll also leave behind with your fucks and buggers.
With a new baby it never took me less than three hours to ready ourselves for the outside world, at which point someone had usually soiled their clothes at least once (them) or broken down in stressed-out tears (me). Half the time after getting ready to visit the shops to pick up a pint of milk I would give up half way through, say “for fuck’s sake” (or more likely “for flip’s sake”) and drink my tea black.
Some things just aren’t worth the bother, and back then it was spending half of what used to be my working day trying to squeeze teeny tiny socks on teeny tiny feet.
But get out the house we did, eventually, and seven years on it now only takes us an hour to buy a pint of milk. I still have the stressed out tears, but nobody’s pooed themselves in ages and I no longer take my tea black.
Isn’t motherhood weird grand?
Gorgeous back-in-the-day photos taken by Hayley.