Being Here, Doing This: Bringing Up Leo
By Simrat Ghuman
Some may call it adventurous, others reckless, but at the grand old age of 30, I was ready for change. After being in employment for nearly ten years, I ditched a job in the heart of London, with cool colleagues, somewhat sane hours and a pay packet for a 24x7 job with no pay, no vacation and a temperamental boss who makes insane demands on my physical and emotional faculties; while my mental faculties slowly rot away due to lack of sleep.
This tiny boss or tyrant, is my little 8 month old baby, Leo, aka my life and soul. Am I a wreck at the end of most days? Oh, yes. Would I ever go back to my old life? Heck, no. Welcome to a sometimes funny, sometimes cynical and always honest blog about what I make of everything that parenthood throws at me. Those of you with children will easily relate, and those of you without, well, why don’t you pull up a chair and have a chuckle at my expense?
What I Am and Am Not
Please rest assured that I’m not a holier-than-thou earth-mother type making each baby meal from scratch with organic ingredients and fairy dust, analysing my baby’s poo and logging the input and output faithfully into baby-development apps. I haven’t read a single pregnancy, baby-rearing, baby-food-recipe book. If you detect a note of pride there, you’d be spot-on.
Neither am I a super-motivated type who was back in the gym half an hour after birth and now has rock hard abs to show for it. My weight was back to normal in 3 months but my stomach is delightfully squishy and looks like someone’s slipped a large water balloon under the skin. My perpetual excuse — I’m breastfeeding, dammit, need the nutrients! — obviously doesn’t help.
So I’m just your normal, new-ish mama who’s doing all the right and wrong things and insists on blogging about it all because motherhood feels like a brand new thing that’s happened just to me(!), as opposed to having existed since the dawn of time.
The Nub of Things
They say kids are like farts, you can only tolerate your own… and that’s what I thought I’d be — a tolerating mother, a strict, no-nonsense type who’d lay down the rules and routines early on, but I had no idea how madly I’d love the little tyke and how demanding this tyke would be. Just when I’m thinking hey this is all right, I’m at the top of my game, Leo throws a curve ball aimed at that halo of mine: he will keep me up all night, he will bawl his way through a posh restaurant lunch, he will vomit on freshly washed sheets after I’ve just bathed him (all first world problems, I’m fully aware, thanks!).
All parents know this already, but let me put it out there anyway. Motherhood is like getting into the army where they break you before putting you back together again, their way. Or diving head first into a cult or a religion; you have to let go of all ego, your stubbornness, your whims and fancies, pretty much all your sense of self, whatever makes you you, and dance to a different drumbeat altogether — at least till the kids are a bit older. And that’s what’s weird about it; it sounds awfully demanding, and it is, but it’s also by far the best thing that’s happened to me, warts and all.
(The author is a former TV journo and currently the Head of Communications and Marketing at Anthemis Group in London. She became Mama to baby Leo in April 2015. She started this blog as an outlet for the intense, roller-coaster experience that pregnancy and motherhood entail. And for recording the journey with as much humour — black mostly — as she can cram in. Oh and dispensing free gyan as she ticks the been there, done that milestones.)
(This story was first published on The Quint.com.)