In a guest post for Still You, freelance writer and soon-to-be mum of two Emma Wood tells us how motherhood has given her superhuman powers.
It’s easy to name the things we lose out on when we become mums: spontaneity, short-term memory, hard-won careers – you know, stuff like that.
But, other than little people, it’s sometimes difficult to see what we gain. After pondering on this for a while I realised that – yes, there are things we undoubtedly lose – but as one door closes another opens to reveal a much greater, more powerful set of skills that will equip us for life. Here’s my top 5 (of many).
1. Extraordinary night-time vision
19 months of managing a ‘challenging sleeper’ means that I have spent many (many) hours perfecting the art of creeping around at night, soundlessly and in the pitch black, locating and administering essentials such as Calpol, water, blankets, a shh-pat or returning an errant Winnie the Pooh. I work with such stealth it’s like I’m not even there. And never, ever have I dared turn on a single light lest I enliven my night-time tyrant.
I hadn’t noticed my night-time vision develop until yesterday when my husband joined me in the nursery at 2am. ‘Pass me that Calpol,’ I whispered, pointing at the dresser. ‘But I can’t see the Calpol; it’s too dark,’ he whined. ‘It’s right in front of your face, you fool!’ I shout-whispered. And as I watched him flounder around it hit me: I can see in the dark. It’s hard to find a silver lining in being kept up all night every night for over a year, so I’ll take amazing night-time vision as my payback thank you very much.
2. I am a Power Hour machine
We’ve all been there: Your little one goes down and you have exactly ONE HOUR to achieve everything you would normally pack into a week. You can practically hear the Countdown theme tune ticking away in your head as you frantically go about your tasks: clean the house, check, make dinner, check, return calls, check, sit down and have a cup of tea, check, fit in a 10 minute power nap, check.
Pre-motherhood I could easily have squandered an hour on Facebook alone but not any more; now I know the real value of time I am an efficient powerhouse (*for that hour only*).
3. I am more resilient and more resourceful than I have ever been
You can’t give them back, or give them away. Your only option as a mum is forwards, always forwards. And as such, we have to find a solution to every problem no matter how perplexing, stressful or downright dirty – and generally we have 10 minutes within which to do it.
Got a screaming naked baby, poo on your hands, dinner bubbling over and someone at the door? You have exactly 3 minutes to find a way to solve that equation and solve it in the right order or end up humiliated on your doorstep or scalding the baby with dinner.
(NB: I would shout ‘just a minute,’ sort baby, invite visitor in, get said visitor to hold baby and then deal with dinner whilst ranting about how everything always happens at once).
4. I am a kinder person
I can’t believe how irate I used to get on my commute pre-motherhood – an elbow in the ribs or a coffee spill on my shoe was enough to send me stratospheric with rage. That all seems like such small fry now, accidents happen and we’re all trying to get along as best we can. Being a mother has made me so much more forgiving (or that could just be sleep deprivation talking, come back to me in a couple of years).
5. I have supersonic hearing
I’ve seen loads of mum do this: A faint wail somewhere in the mosh-pit that is ‘baby and toddler group’ and they’ll declare ‘that’s mine,’ with complete and utter certainty. And they’ll be right.
This transformation must occur sometime during labour because mere minutes afterwards every infinitesimal sound my daughter was as loud as thunder – other people’s babies sounded like pitiful, mewing kittens in comparison. I thought this would fade as she got older but it’s only grown and extended to include shouting and tantrum noises too.
So there you have it, my shiny new set of skills. Together they make me a calmer, more responsive and more productive person. And I’m sure there are more super-powers out there – what are your top five?
Check out more of Emma’s writing here. And catch up with her on Twitter here.