It is true what they say - becoming a parent does change you, and in ways that you would never have dreamed. So inspired by an idea given to me by Sam - here are some of the biggest and most interesting things I've learnt about myself - and motherhood - over the past 12 months.
1. You Master The Art Of Not Giving A Shit To Perfection - Since becoming a parent I have learnt that I really don't care what people think of me. Yes the vain side of me still likes getting compliments and feeling that I look good, but when it comes to life on a day-to-day basis, I no longer give two hoots. There seems to be the surge of confidence that has come over me since having Eric that means I don't really care about how the world sees me. I know I'm a good mum and a good wife and a good friend and a good person. That's all that matters.
2. You Learn Who Your True Friends Are - When you are a parent every part of your world changes, including your social circles. You no longer have the time to constantly make plans, meet up or travel, and when you do it often needs meticulous planning. You want to be there (and the FOMO is real) but you just can't be. And this means that friendships change and some of them may even disappear. And that's okay. Because it's the ones who stay firmly fixed, the ones who understand that your friendship has evolved into something new and embrace the new hat you wear, they are the ones who really matter.
3. You No Longer Have Time For Playground Games - Pettiness, being catty and holding on to the little things - you just don't want to know about them any more. There are much bigger and more important things to worry about and getting involved in childishness isn't one of them. Playground games and squabbles should stick to wear they belong....next to the hopscotch lines with the rest of the five year olds!
4. You Develop The Ability To Predict The Future - As a mum you have this sixth sense. You can see things happen before the do and avert disaster. I am constantly jumping up to move pieces of paper, books and toys out of Eric's way before he slips, stumbles or trips over them. The same goes for objects I know he's going to be tempted to stick in his mouth or mistake for food. As soon as I enter a room I instinctively scan it and hone in on the hazards and make the space safe or get things out of the way.
5. You Develop This Superpower To Power Through Hangovers - They don't happen as much as they used to, but when there are occasions when I've let my hair down and indulged in one too many glasses of red then the next day I somehow have this ability to just feel okay. Sure I might feel just the tiniest bit fuzzy but overall I seem to avoid the feeling of wanting to curl up in a ball and hibernate with a packet of crisps and a gallon of water. I don't know how it happens but it does, and it shocks me every time.
6. You Realise There's A Lioness Living Inside You You Never Knew Was There - I am so, so over-protective of Eric. Not in a stifling kind of way (I let him be as independent as possible) but in the sense that there is nothing I wouldn't do for him. All I want to do is love him and protect him from harm. I hate seeing him upset or in pain so if there's anything I can do to keep him happy and content, steady and safe then I am going to do it.
7. Talking About Bodily Functions Becomes Second Nature - The first question that normally gets asked when Ryan gets in from work is 'has Eric pooed today?' Talking about poop, wee, reflux and snot just becomes normality when you become a parent. Not just in between mums and dads but in front of anyone. Don't get me wrong I don't just randomly bring up my or my son's toilet habits as a conversation starter, but that prudishness (not that I really ever had that) that is centred around things like that seems to just slip away when you become a parent.
8. Instead Of Adding Things To Your Own Online Shopping Baskets, You Become Obsessed With Buying Things For Baby Instead - I used to love shopping for myself online, but now I'd much rather look at things for Eric. Not that he needs much - he has an enviable wardrobe full of cute clothes and never wants for toys, but it's like a compulsion. No matter how many items of clothing he has, I can always think of something he might need or that 'would be useful to have in stock.' You can't really blame me though - baby clothes are just too bloody cute to resist!
9. No Matter How Little You've Slept, You Still Manage To Act Fully Awake - I don't know if it's just me, but even though Eric is really a really good sleeper, I am not. I'm a light sleep anyway but now it seems like if there is just a tiny grunt or grizzle my eyes pop open and it takes me ages to settle. I even sometimes hear phantom noises and convince myself it's Eric (the other night I mistook a rustling piece of rubbish outside for him crying). This means that sometimes the amount of shut-eye I get is really minimal. However, whether I've had a good night's kip or not, come the morning I am awake and back to being 'Silly Mummy'. Now that Eric is mobile I don't have a choice. He needs chasing, entertaining and to be taken to classes. He doesn't understand if I have zero energy. All he understands is that I'm here, so no matter what, I need to stay full of beans.
10. Life Takes On A Whole New Meaning - Before Baby you live a somewhat 'selfish' life. You can go anywhere you want and do anything you want because all you have to worry about is number one. But when you have a little one everything you do becomes about them. Anytime we want to go somewhere the first thing we think about is if it is Eric-friendly. Weekends we would have spent just lounging about on the sofa and doing nothing are now filled with trips out, nature walks and family coffee dates. Eric is the centre of our universe and we plan everything with him in mind so that he has the best and most exciting time.