15th October 2019

The ‘isn’t it ironic’ guide to motherhood

Never mind ‘ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife’, being a mum is all about those ‘ironic’, a.k.a. desperate, situations when nothing seems to be running smoothly, says Rachel Tompkins… 

Just-out-the-door Poonami

We’ve all been there, you’ve spent all morning getting yourself and the baby ready enough to be able to step outside, and the minute you do, a poonami strikes. If you’re lucky it’ll be contained inside the nappy. Although inevitably it’s big, moist and menacing enough to seep out the sides, down their legs, and for the really unlucky few, up their backs. Although that’s usually only when you’ve got a suitably special occasion that you’re late for – such as baptism, wedding or lunch date with Insta-queen friend whose baby always looks pristine.

Nappy-bag nightmare

You’re out and your baby needs changing. First, you take their nappy off and use one hand to pin their squirming body to a minuscule fold-out changing mat. Then, with a contortionist-worthy move, you use the other hand to reach into your changing bag for the baby wipes. Frantic scrabble around yields five nappies, two tubs of Sudocrem, but no wipes. Frantic scrabble turns into desperate sweating scrabble, and you still fail to locate wipes, while instead unearthing a pair of toddler socks, covered in sand and stuck to half-chewed raisins. There’s only one thing for it…

Milk machine madness

There must be something about breastfeeding that makes you live in constant fear that your baby isn’t getting enough milk, and that you need to get a stock of the stuff stored-up in the freezer ‘just in case’. With my first child, I had justification for needing some in stock because I had a wedding in Sen Remo to go to when he was seven months old.

I must-have spent hours attached to a breast pump with that rhythmic groaning sound of the machine echoing around the house as I desperately tried to drain every little drop into the ‘milk bank’. Luckily, it went ok and I had pints of the stuff in storage with weeks to go until the big-day. Only for the freezer to unceremoniously stop working and all the milk to defrost.

My poor husband broke the news to me like there was a bereavement in the family. A bereavement of my boobs there nearly was after the frenzied pumping that ensued…

Sleep at last

From the minute you become a mum you’re obsessed with sleep – the baby’s and yours. Every baby book on Amazon seems to be working towards that hallowed ground of ‘sleeping through’. Some mothers are blessed with babies that sleep through from early on. Others, and I like to tell myself these are the majority, simply aren’t. So when my first child slept through at about eight months, I was absolutely over the moon. But while he didn’t have any nocturnal stirrings, I certainly did. Re-wiring my sleep cycle after all those months was a whole different ball game.

Talk the talk

Another obsession of us parents is our child’s speech. That well-documented first word, their increasing vocabulary, those cute little mispronunciations that make everyone laugh. What no-one tells you when you’re intent on articulating every last word to your baby in the hope that they’ll repeat one back to you, is just DON’T!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, because when they do actually start talking there’ll be days when you’re seriously thinking about investing in a decent pair of earplugs (or a gag but that’s not very PC…).

Pushy playdates

Everyone wants their child to have friends. Cue playdates!

In my experience these seem to go in stages. When your baby’s very young they couldn’t care less who’s rolling around under a baby-gym next to them. When they’re toddlers they spend the whole time fighting over one toy, and when they’re old enough to know about technology they love nothing more than sitting in silence watching a screen. Makes you wonder why you bother really…


@RachTompkins @mushmums

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