When people asked me how I find having two so close together, I lied. I would say it’s, brilliant, easy, amazing. I was scared I would be judged as a ‘bad mum’ if I was honest. Surprisingly the first 4 months really was a lot easier than I had ever imagined and it is amazing but it’s not easy all the time, it’s not a breeze. Going to playgroups, speaking to mummy friends and family they all made it look easy. Other mums didn’t seem to ever struggle with anything, they were all coping annoying well.
Seeing how well other mums were dealing with children, sometimes four children! What! It made me feel like a terrible mum, where was I going wrong? Why wasn’t I gushing and cooing over both of mine all the time. Did these other mums have difficult days where they phoned their partner up and begged them to come? Did their children ever have a tantrum because that colour cup isn’t the right colour? Did they ever have to pretend they can’t hear their child crying while they’re in public because there really is nothing you can do? What are they doing differently? What’s the secret to calm, confident parenting? (quote from Gina Ford – the book definitely didn’t make me a calm, confident parent)
No matter what kind of day we’re having my children do make me so happy, they make me laugh, they make plenty of people laugh! The love Darren and I have for them is unconditional. But I can’t pretend it’s easy, the role of a parent, the responsibilities, everything! It’s not easy! Every day isn’t filled with educational activities, trips out, home-baking and plenty of smiles. Most days are filled with a few crying spells, Peppa, plenty of Peppa Pig, a bribery biscuit, lots of mess and an occasional trip to the park (followed by a tantrum when we have to leave). Our good days are the best and our bad days are the worst. Shit. Really shit.
I can admit this now. It’s hard, frighteningly hard. They have practised the art of synchronised crying, while I practise the art of pretending I can’t hear. They exercise their lungs while the other is sleeping, for no reason. These tears really do come out of nowhere! Then the other one wakes up. While I’m holding my head in my hands pleading with them to fall back to sleep. I work up a sweat pulling the baby off everything she climbs up. She’s quick, I blink and she’s gone she could be by the cat’s food eating the biscuits. I’m chasing the toddler around the house wrestling something off him, then pulling him down off chairs and tables he keeps moving and climbing up on to. He’s clever, he drags the chair to the worktop, climbs up and grabs himself whatever he fancies. A bite out of every apple. The mug tree. Anything that will in no doubt be some form of annoying. This also makes him sneaky.
Every meal time causes me some kind of anxiety. Pleading with the toddler to eat his dinner, please eat your dinner! Just eat your dinner!! Refuses to eat, I threaten to throw dinner in the bin, he stands strong. Dinner is now in the bin. Toddler now wants his dinner. Losing the will to live! Feeding the baby who seems to have a bottomless tummy and enjoys blowing raspberries after every mouthful. Apron anyone? It’s stressful, messy and sometimes wasteful. I play music at meal times, it’s a brilliant therapy.
Going out anywhere with two takes at least an hour to leave the house. At. Least. We have to be prepared with snacks, toys and distractions in the hope of curbing any potential tantrum. Sometimes we can’t avoid it, a tantrum in public is inevitable. That’s when I start offering them to strangers and I’m met with awkward smiles. Takes their mind off the screaming toddler. Our toddler will never sit peacefully in the buggy (ffs) so insists on walking everywhere, until he’s tired (seconds later) and just has to be carried (ffs). Have you tried carrying a toddler while pushing a buggy with a mind of it’s own? It’s embarrassing I look like a drunk mum wobbling around in zig-zag lines behind the buggy that chooses to ram anyone nearby. Just a mess. I’m sweating and I spot one of those mums again. Both children sitting quietly and happily in their buggy while mum can do her shopping in peace. Really, where am I going wrong?! Our buggy itself takes a lot of swearing and time to put together. Going out is hard.
It’s all hard work. Extremely hard and tiring. I’m not enjoying getting up 4 times at least every night to feed a teething grumpy baby, then spending a considerable amount of time lulling them back into sleep. It’s torture. How are these super mums being so, SUPER. But you know what, all of the hard (ffs) moments are worth the other million ‘aww’, ‘aren’t they lovely’ moments, all the laughs they give us and the best cuddles ever.
If you have hard days, horrifically hard days. Or you find yourself overwhelmed at times, don’t be ashamed to be open about it like I was. Don’t be fooled by perfect mums, chances are the honesty will bring them to admit a time where it all became far too much for them to handle. Maybe they’re just better at concealing the hard times? They are hard, nothing will test your patience (what patience?) quite like children. From the moments they arch their backs in refusal to just GET IN THE CARSEAT! Or pulling the cereal out of the cupboard and spreading it round the house, you’re still finding cheerios weeks later. It’s freeing to say ‘yes, last Monday was so shit it brought me to tears’. Other mums tend to get it, they may not always admit it but they get it.
The fact you’re able to take the time and read this, you’re doing a great job! Hang in there, those hard days only last a day and you forget them as soon as they flash their teeth in a big, juicy, kissable smile.