People - parents, and non parents - have lots of opinions on motherhood and how to be successful at it. They love to inform, advise, warn, and downright terrify you with stories of what's to come.
But one thing I never remember being told about is the constant feeling of grief that comes with being a mother. Even when things are going well.
When I'm not on maternity leave, I'm normally at work every day apart from Saturday. I work two jobs and don't get to spend as much time as I would like with my children.
So, as you can imagine, I've been mega excited about spending the whole summer with my eldest before he starts school, and getting to know my lovely newborn.
Fun times, yes?
Tell my bloody emotions that! I have spent a good chunk of the past eight weeks crying. Ugly, snotty sobbing in the privacy of my bedroom or discreet, silent tears behind sunglasses.
What the frig is wrong with me?
I'm literally grieving for my children as they grow before my eyes, and I'm fully aware that it puts me in ungrateful, mad bint category.
Anything sets me off. My eldest asks for an extra big cuddle and says, 'squeeze hard, mummy, don't let go!'. Oh lordy. On go the sunglasses.
My youngest clutches my boob and stares into my eyes while he feeds. Cue me roaring and snotting on his face as I savour this magical moment.
The thing is that they grow ridiculously fast. I cannot comprehend that my tiny little monkey - bum is now a lanky four year old, heading off to the jungle of the primary school playground. I will be a sodding state dropping him off in September.
It's only a matter of time before he doesn't naturally reach for my hand when walking, finds a new bestest friend that isn't mummy, and prefers playing with his pals than baking or dog walking with me.
How long before I become just 'mum'? That precious second syllable discarded as easily as his fleeting, but intense, obsession with Peppa Pig. Will he outgrow me as easily?
I'm fully aware how melodramatic I sound; mum's prerogative. I mean, he's only four. I've got ages until he's a moody, sarcastic teen. But I'm still grieving the rapid changes in our relationship. I'm pushing him to be more and more independent - what school want for him - and at the same time screaming inside, 'slow down, stay a little longer!'
And I know it will continue. Every milestone in their lives will reduce me to tears - not only of grief, but of joy and pride as I see them grow and develop as little (and eventually, big) humans.
And I wouldn't change it. I'll take the grief with the joy. Even if it has made me a right soppy git who can't even listen to ABBA's Slipping Through My Fingers without dissolving into a pathetic mess...