I recently read a fantastic letter by Clare over at Mudpie Fridays where she wrote a letter to herself before she had her children. I love this idea, and as it wasn’t that long ago since the children came home, I have quite vivid memories of how I thought life was going to be. However, it turns out the dream is a little different to the reality.
Dear Slightly Idealistic Me
You have just found out that, after almost 3 years of trying, you are finally going to be a mother. You are beyond excited! Your first thought in the morning is ‘I wonder what the children are doing today?’. You and Mr N spend almost every waking hour thinking about the kids, wondering what they are like, planning their bedrooms and daydreaming about life to come. I’m very sorry to pop your bubble, but things aren’t going to be as you expected – let me just explain how things really are for you.
The Dream: You have told everyone how much fun you are going to have doing lots of arts and crafts with the children. The cupboard is stocked up with paints, pencils, paper in all colours and several arty type books. You know, you just know, that they are going to want to spend hours sat at the table, drawing and designing beautiful pieces of art you will put up on the wall with pride!
The Reality: Your just turned 3 year old little boy really would prefer to play with cars on the floor rather than with paints. He’s happy to sit and draw a line or two on a piece of paper, for all of 10 seconds, but really really doesn’t want to do anymore than that. His little hands haven’t developed enough to hold a pencil or paintbrush for long and he REALLY doesn’t want you to help! Ever! As for your 5 year old daughter. Well, she will sit and colour, but really she wants to run and jump and move. Sitting is not for her right now!
The Dream: The children will toddle off to bed every night at the time of your choosing, and stay asleep for at least 12 hours so you can get some quality sleep in. You’re pretty sure that at 3 and 5 children sleep though the night – don’t they?
The Reality: What on earth were you thinking? The children were understandably distressed about moving into a new house with people they didn’t know. They had new beds, new rooms, they weren’t in together and they didn’t know what was going on. Little Sir spent the first year waking several times a night for all manner of reasons – and really he just wanted to be with you and not alone. If you did this again, you’d definitely just take him into your bed or get into bed with him for reassurance. It wasn’t until they were 4 and 6 that they finally slept through.
The Dream: You had planned so many days out. Off to fairgrounds, theme parks, woodland walks and exploring cities. The children were going to soak up all the culture and ask intelligent questions about everything, coming home and wanting to fill in a scrap book about what they have been up to.
The Reality: Not even close! 3 and 5 are very very very little. You hadn’t realised how very little they were – neither of them were at their chronological age, and they definitely weren’t ready for long cultural days out. They wanted play parks, or soft play or animals. Anything else? Not interested. As for scrapbooking – seriously what were you thinking? Even at 4 and 6 they look at you with slight pity in their eyes when you suggest it!
So, dear slightly insane old me, you had your dreams and they absolutely didn’t pan out. BUT – you didn’t realise how much love you would feel for your gorgeous kids. How much you are desperate for morning to come so you can hold them close and listen to their hopes and dreams (normally around toys they want!). How much the feel of a little hand in yours fills you with the most incredible feeling. Nope, things didn’t pan out as you expected – but you know what?
It turns out that the reality is so so SO much better than the dream! With love from your future self x