I remember having our first child - a big, bouncing 11lb (yes you read it right ELEVEN pounds!) boy and bringing him home and getting on with the whole challenge of parenting. He was a very content child (not a great sleeper but we won't go there) and he was mellow and obedient and easy going. I'd read all the parenting books (no Google then - just Penelope Leach and a few others) and I was patting myself on the back for a job well done and looking pityingly at those mothers who just weren't as good at the whole motherhood gig as I was.
Then.......along came our daughter! She took Penelope Leach and ate her for dinner! I spent my entire time in the hospital with her in my arms. The nurses would walk in and say "Mrs Le Cras you're always holding that baby" and I would just nod numbly and keep rocking her. She was happy as long as she was right in the middle of everything - no putting her down to get the dishes done or the washing hung out - I became very adept at one handed housework. She didn't sleep much either - I remember many an evening of pram rocking or bottom patting. She also managed to get quite sick for a few months and generally took everything I'd taken for granted about parenting and threw it out the window. I wanted to go around to all those parents I'd smugly disapproved of and apologize!
We moved to a semi-rural block of land when our children were little and they had plenty of room to run around and climb trees and get dirty. Our son managed to do all of that and still look much the same as when he got dressed that morning, our daughter always looked like she'd been dragged backwards through a construction site! I did pretty well with my mothering role during this time - I'd found a book called "The Strong Willed Child" by James Dobson that helped with parenting our free spirited daughter and not allowing her to rule the
Then came the Primary school years, I always think of them as the eye of the cyclone between toddler-dom and teens. You still have enough bluff to keep them in line and if they're busy enough they aren't all that interested in pushing the boundaries too often. Our kids were good at school and had friends and generally cruised through this part of life. My complacency level elevated and I was feeling like I might be ready to be nominated for a mother of the year award - although there were a several moments I will skip over that my children could bring up to show why the nomination never came!
So my advice to all new mums (not that I give advice because I hated getting it) would be that, no matter how much you'd like it to, a + b never equals c. Our kids came with remarkably different personalities and we just loved them and gave them boundaries, and prayed for them really hard. The resilience of youth is always on their side and covers a multitude of parental mishaps!