Getting your tiger on – the animalistic side of motherhood.*
“You won’t know yourself” when you become a parent. Things will change – at least that’s what everyone wanted to tell me before I had children.
Our new life as parents has been unpredictable and awesome – and it’s hard to accurately describe how things have changed.
I didn’t get what they meant then. I thought about the advice in a negative sense – as if somehow having children you would lose who you are and I added it to the many unwanted ‘words of wisdom’ that deep down just p****d me off.
But they were right.
I am the same person – but there are multiple facets of me that I had never known before that are now part of a new ‘daily me’. There is a lot more ‘animal’ in the self that I now know.
The ‘animalistic’ side of motherhood seems to be a lesser-documented phenomenon. Here I have used the Chinese horoscope as a starting point.
GET YOUR TIGER ON
There is ferocity within you. Beware the viciousness that hides within as soon as your baby appears to be endangered by someone close to you. You will attack without warning to protect your young if it is perceived that your baby is threatened. Whilst you probably won’t actually ‘attack’ – the fierceness that rushes to the surface is a big surprise the first time it happens.
BE RESOURCEFUL LIKE THE RAT
Losing a full time income makes you resourceful. You will scavenge artfully and you will be surprised with how little you can make do with when ‘push comes to shove’. Your ‘must-haves’ list will be drastically altered but you will not feel like you are doing without. Your perspective changes too much for that.
BE STRONG LIKE AN OX
The strength of a parent should not be underestimated. Carrying baby gear and a baby makes one strong. I recently walked the last (still long) part of a long walk with a 12kg baby on one hip pushing a pram on a gravel road with a dog on a lead on the other hand (and a baby in my belly in front). It had to be done, and though I was tired, I did it.
GET YOUR HORSEY RHYTHMS ON
Rhythmic clip-clopping has nothing on the range of clapping rhythms and bouncey games you will come up with in order to entertain a small grizzlet. And just like horses sleep standing up sometimes, you will function on barely any sleep and wonder how you got there.
DIG LIKE THE RABBIT
You will make your house your ‘hole’ and it will be cosy. Like Alice in Wonderland, the magic that you can make with a few home ingredients in the eyes of your child is never to be underestimated.
BECOME A DRAGON
I have a dragon within on two levels. I will protect my ‘den’ fiercely. If my baby is sleeping and you want to make noise – beware (like the tiger within). I have also become a collector of ‘precious things’ to pile up in my den. One day when the crafty-spirit is peaking – or one rainy day when I need a stash to raid to make fun things with… I have a treasure-trove to dip into on a whim.
SEDUCE LIKE THE SNAKE
Let’s face it – babies alter the dynamics of a couple. When there is a moment, you must seize it. It may not be so romantic, but opportunity knocks…
DIG IN LIKE A GOAT
Just like a goat keeps climbing a hill, I have been determined to ‘solve’ each problem my baby faces. I have checked for one thing and then the next (hungry/tired/too hot…) I have tested my patience wondering why he is ‘still’ crying, but we have got there in the end with perseverance (and lots of cuddles). A recent problem was solved with a pillow case because my son was too hot in his sleep sack – yet he still needed to be covered and ‘contained’ to prevent him from climbing out of bed. It worked (surprisingly!)
BE A MONKEY
Babies learn by copying. Parents have fun with fooling around. Even the most serious person will discover a wonderful monkey within
EMBRACE DOG-LIKE DEVOTION
The love and devotion you feel for you baby sneaks up on you. One minute you are just meeting them, the next minute all you want to do is look at them adoringly and you might even pass their nap times scrolling through the latest photos of them.
WASTE NOT LIKE A PIG
Whilst a pig may not conjure the best image in your head, it is amazing how many lines one crosses as a new mother. I never used to be a fan of leftovers, now I eat all of them.
BE UP WITH THE ROOSTER
There are parts of the day that you may never have been awake for that you will be awake for with a new baby. I never used to be a night person, and apparently I am becoming more of one.
EMBRACE ALL ANIMALS WITHIN
There is a lot of truth in the statement that. ‘Once you have a baby you won’t know yourself’. Instinct rears its head.
Parts of you will be tested, parts of you might fade a little, other parts of you will be more vibrant than ever.
There is just so much ‘more you’ to get to know – and there is a whole animal kingdom within that will make an appearance before you know it.
This post has re-surfaced as I need to remember the importance of listening to instincts and letting go while I wait for my second baby to arrive. Babies don’t do schedules like I want them to….
Over and Outie.
* (Adapted from a piece I wrote around my son’s first birthday – March 2013.)