Why being a Mummy Bride is Hard Work
I’ve never been one to do things in the correct order. Impulsive and excitable in equal measure, I grasp opportunities when presented and go with my gut. When I first met my husband on a crowded bus halfway through my Australian backpacking adventure, and spent the following 6 months traveling the world with him, I knew he was the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
Not really, I didn’t think that at all.
I actually thought – ‘he’s hot,’ followed by – ‘he’s fun,’ followed by – ‘let’s just see how this goes’. And that last sentence is something that has run through my head for nearly eleven years now.
That’s the secret of our success, we never set anything in stone. We plan a few months ahead, have a rough idea of the direction we are going in (preferably the same one) and then ‘see how it goes’. Which is how we ended up owning a house, having two kids and emigrating to another country before we got around to marriage.
When he proposed to me our youngest was only 4 months old. It was a wonderfully romantic evening, complete with sea views, swaying palms, a fancy dinner and a big diamond ring presented on one knee. I’d never been all that fussed about marriage, but after becoming a mum to two girls it bothered me more and more that they and their dad shared a surname that I didn’t have. I hated being pregnant and having work colleagues stare at my empty ring finger asking if the baby was planned (yes, people still do that) and I would stress about the legalities and what would happen financially if we broke up or one of us died. Basically, I wanted to put a ring on it.
Now, any sane person with two kids under three and a minimal budget would have taken the easy route. Maybe have a small, quiet and uncomplicated wedding – or choose one simple venue that would cater to all our needs. Nope, not me. What the average person does in their life I multiply tenfold. And that’s how I spent 18 months planning a hugely ambitious wedding day (chapel in the mountains, lunch in a hacienda and partying all night on the beach), driving my fiance mad and nearly having a breakdown juggling a full time job and two very young children.
The day was beautiful, of course it was, I was marrying the man I love. It was also special to have my kids by my side witnessing the love between their parents.
… BUT …
This was the reality:
– No one wanted to look after the kids the night before (I needed my beauty sleep) and I ended up with a very tired and grumpy mum and mother-in-law on my wedding day who had been babysitting one each.
– I couldn’t relax getting ready as I didn’t know where my two toddlers were.
– Instead of walking down the aisle to my children scattering petals, the eldest dropped the flower basket and delayed my entrance because she wanted to tidy up the mess.
– My 18 month old cried as I entered the chapel and I had to hold her as I walked down the aisle, her lurid neon dummy not once leaving her mouth (why hadn’t I found a pretty pink one)?
– The wedding day was spent with me asking people to take our children off our hands for a bit while we had pictures taken, cut the cake, went to the loo… and of course the girls just wanted to be with their mummy and daddy (mainly mummy who was wearing the pretty dress).
– Every wedding photo is of me with an exhausted grumpy kid hanging off me.
– The last dance was planned for the beach in the evening, but resulted in my husband and I swaying on the spot with a sniveling, sweaty, sandy child in each of our arms.
This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t insisted on planning the kind of wedding day that childless people plan. Had I just opted for an informal affair in a field with plenty of room for kids to run around, hired a wedding planner and a kid’s entertainer/nanny then I would have been a lot more relaxed and the girls wouldn’t have been hanging off the train of my dress the entire time.
It really bothered me on the day. It annoyed me that I didn’t get to be the effortless princess I wanted to be. I was upset because for that one big day I wanted to be carefree, laughing in every photo, not worrying about a thing and getting legless with my mates. But with two small kids in tow that didn’t happen.
Now, years later, when I look back at the photos I remember it all differently. And I think two things – ‘my babies were so tiny and adorable back then, what was my problem?’ and – ‘I’m so glad I got to spend the most important day of my life with the three most important people in my life’.
So maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Maybe being a Mummy Bride CAN be done… just make sure one of your bridesmaids is also a professional nanny!