Smack the mother

“How are you finding being a mum?” I get this question a lot. Understandably. It’s totally meant as a polite something to say.

I should respond, in kind, with a depthless: “It’s lovely, thank you.” Sleep deprivation seems to have stripped me of my manners. Baby brain has made me too honest.

Someone asked me this on Saturday at a wedding in Suffolk. I paused. “I think I better answer that in a couple of months,” I replied.

Then I decided that sounded too ominous so expanded: “It’s good but difficult and frustrating.” That last word seemed to surprise her.

Actually, the intensity of the frustration I feel surprises me. I so looked forward to having this baby as you’d know from listening to me yack on here.

And I love her, utterly, completely, so clearly. I even like her. She’s cute, funny and looks at the world with such focus.

I also knew that these first few months were going to hard work. In many ways, it’s not as hard as I expected. Though demanding, she’s not really a fussy baby. My relationship with Laurence seems to be in tact and I get far more sleep than I could have anticipated.

So it’s a bit of a mystery to me as to why I feel so much of the time like I’m barely coping. But it’s even more of a mystery as to why this doesn’t seem true for the other new mums I’m meeting.

Are they putting a brave face on it? Are they genuinely finding life with baby thoroughly doable? Should I smack the next mother who exults in how easy her baby is as if it’s a personal accomplishment?

Image: Annie Wong