IN CONVERSATION WITH OVER HEAVEN’S HILL
Earlier in the month I featured in the ‘In Conversation With’ series run by Geraldine Walsh on her gorgeous award-winning family and parenting blog, Over Heaven’s Hill. In it I’m talking pregnancy, parenting and life before kids. Geraldine’s questions gave me a lot to think about and a welcome opportunity to sit back and reflect a bit on my experiences of having babies and attempting to parent them so far. Here’s a little peak at some of my interview answers…
Did you enjoy being pregnant?
I really enjoyed being pregnant the first time around. The second and third time, not so much. I felt tired. I looked tired. I was neither radiant nor glowing! I think pregnancies get progressively more difficult because the demands on you are increasing all the time. With your first pregnancy, taking care of yourself is your number one priority but obviously when you have other kids in the mix, as you well know, that changes and you are trying to juggle staying awake with changing nappies, coordinating play-dates, cooking meals, working, etc. I guess it didn’t help that I was older each time too! It’s a lot easier to indulge yourself and enjoy the first pregnancy, isn’t it?
What was the hardest part about being pregnant?
The overwhelming tiredness is what I remember most. And the heartburn. Man, the heartburn! Like many mums, I don’t think I really knew what it was until I was pregnant. I would get very anxious coming to the end of a bottle of Gaviscon (it had to be liquid – the tablets didn’t even put a dent in it) and I even remember sending my poor other half out at around 11pm one night to find a chemist in the city for fear that the remainder of my bottle wouldn’t see me through the night. Pregnancy definitely brought out my inner drama queen!
What do you miss about your life before you had kids?
I miss sleep. I really miss sleep. And obviously I miss the freedom of just flying by the seat of your pants. Like every other parent on the planet, we had no appreciation for our freedom pre-kids and totally took it for granted. You don’t really have any concept of the responsibility involved in being a parent until you are there, in the thick of it. How could you really, I guess? But the time is flying and before we know it they won’t need us the way they do now and so I remind myself all the time to stop and smell the roses. The next phase will obviously bring on a whole new set of challenges but at least we will be able to have a lie-in and a hair-cut in peace!
What’s the one thing you would have done differently as a parent?
I think I would have read less baby books with my first and listened to my own instincts more. When you have your first child, everyone has all sorts of advice and recommendations for you, don’t they? People tell you to do this and do that. I probably became a little too hung up on routine with my first. I was consulting books that were telling me when my baby should be eating and sleeping. I think I felt that I needed some sort of manual, which of course, in reality, doesn’t exist. When I think about it now, I realise that I wasted a lot of effort and head-space on it. With my second and third babies, I had learned to trust my own gut and more importantly, to trust my baby’s cues. I think I had become a little more intuitive and confident so we went with the flow. We had no routine whatsoever but life was so much easier and everyone was happier. ‘Read the baby, not the book’ was probably the best piece of advice I got.
What is the one thing you never had that you want for your kids?
To be honest, we were very lucky growing up. There wasn’t much that we wanted and didn’t get. It’s not that we were spoiled, I just think we were easily pleased! Though I did always want one of those Mr Frosty slush puppie makers and I never got my hands on one! Clearly my folks had the good sense to recognise how badly that would turn out for our yellow velvet couch back in 1987.
I always loved the sound of a camping holiday as a kid but we never went. With our own kids we have had two camping holidays in Italy and Spain so far and we are total converts. We’ll go on another one this year. European campsites really are fantastic and they tick all the boxes for a family holiday.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW…
If you’d like to read the rest of the interview – yes, the full version has even more of my sage wisdom and groundbreaking parenting insights – then read the original post on Geraldine’s blog. You might enjoy hearing from some of the other guests in the series who undoubtedly have infinitely more wisdom and insight than I do.
I always love reading your comments. What do you miss most about life before kids? Did anyone’s parents actually get them a Mr Frosty? I may need to live vicariously though your memories so do share!