'Just a mum' Caroline Eyles has given up her 12-year career to become a traditional, stay-at-home housewife. With limited cooking skills, no previous experience with kids and currently learning how to displace dust, she's dumped her P45 into the bin and is winging it with a one-year-old…
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I was all for a natural birth which resulted in an emergency c-section after busting a gut, literally, not to mention a baby and realised life's too short to be scared (or push, ever again.)
I was all for breastfeeding which resulted in a vast amount of compassion for cows, a hatred of anything pump-like and a love of formula, and realising life's too short to do something that leaves you in tears and you don't enjoy.
I was all for baby-led weaning which resulted in a blank face from a hungry baby, until I got out the spoon and realised life's too short to watch and wait for my baby to potentially choke.
I was all for natural homemade purées until I realised a shop sells them, life's too short, full stop.
And finally, I was very much in favour of settling my baby to sleep and very much against the 'crying it out' method, and so for the past few months I have previously spent two hours a night, YES TWO HOURS, having my hair pulled, my nose picked and my ears sung to while I waited for the wide awake monster to fall asleep.
In a bid to be a good mother not leaving my baby to cry, I changed it up a little, sitting on a stool to the side of the cot, facing forward, not looking at her 'but letting her know I was there', and still there, and still there, waiting still, still there, two hours later, while the 'Music of the Night' continued and both my impatience and frustration grew.
Yes, she is my first priority.
I attempted to brainwash myself for the first fresh month of 'no longer conked out by the end of the bottle' - but I had EastEnders on record and this is the only time of day I get to recharge myself in order to have enough energy for you, young lady, so stop stretching for my earring, stray hair or bogey and get your sorry arse to sleep!
One month later...am still waiting...
And with the ultimate fail, I then reluctantly adopted the controlled crying approach which ended up in such a frenzy, I had to go back to round one every night and rock her to sleep in the nursing chair right back at the beginning again, despite my repeated attempts night after night after night.
Two hours wasted.
Now week after week after week, month after nearly now, another month.
Am I conveying the exhaustion enough??
So, finally, with nothing left to try, including a sleep workshop I had already attended at ten weeks and the attempted alternative courses of action already undertaken, for the past four nights, after trying literally everything else, I have had no choice but to employ the only method left that I was vehemently against.
Much like a number of other hopes for motherhood I have had to wave goodbye to, I gave my daughter a kiss goodnight, walked away from her and my original hopes of settling her to sleep and went downstairs and cracked open the wine (muchly needed while listening to the wailing, whimpering or actually in Autumn's case, her going wax lyrical).
Well, night one, the shouting (and please note these lyrics were most certainly interpreted as 'Mother, how dare you, where the bloody hell have you gone when I'm talking to you!' than 'help, I'm panicking please help!!') lasted only a maximum of 16 minutes; the nap the next day was just 5; the second night she went down at just 11 and the nap the following day went down to just 2.
We are now after just four nights on, a couple of sqwarks with a ba ba here and a ba ba there before she settles.
So,yes, while I was previously all for sitting with her all night until she settled, nine months later and in just four days and a grand total of 34 minutes of crocodile tears compared to two months of two hours a night, I'm left thinking, ARE YOU KIDDING ME????
I have since realised that life is once again too short to sit waiting for a watched pot to boil, or a baby who'll do anything for attention, to fall asleep.
I am rapidly learning a good mum is more about doing what works with love and affection, and not continuing what doesn't, (despite the disappointment of previous hopes being dashed) simply so the 'I am Mother Nature' box can get ticked.
Tick this Mother Nature.