This post is about being a mum and some of the things that I have learnt in the past nearly two years. Not the things like how to get a toddler to eat their vegetables or how to teach a newborn to self settle but three things that will help your sanity just a little bit. A bit of background on me, I am currently a mother of two, one twenty month old and one seven month old. No we are not crazy nor do we not own a Tv, our family has been in the control of the fertility gods. We had to wait until they decided to help us out in the form of one very good doctor but that’s for a different time.
Here goes in no particular order….
Number one – It’s as hard as you make it. This is something I didn’t realise until I had baby number 2. One thing I remember when we announced we were having number 2 is everyone saying “It’s going to be hard work.” Really? NO!? How can two small people with minds of their own be hard work? “It’ll be fine.” I would respond. I have to admit towards the end of my pregnancy I did have a mini melt down in my mind (I was not going to show my weakness to anyone who was already judging me). It was then that I realised I had two options, let it get the better of me or pull myself together and get on with it. I chose to pull myself together and just expected the worst. If things were a mess then things were a mess. I think expecting the worst made it easier when number two actually arrived. It didn’t even come close to what the worst was that I could imagine. It was actually easier. I had done the hard yards with baby one. There were no surprises. I wasn’t worrying if number two was getting enough milk or he was too warm. I wasn’t constantly googling or reading rubbish. One, I didn’t have time for this and two, I didn’t care what some doctor thought was right. I had learnt from number one if any of these things were happening the baby would let me know. I didn’t have to worry. Plus I realised that the majority of these doctors writing these books only had one child. Yes, they stopped at one. Did they know something everyone else didn’t? It was at that point I decided that they did not have enough experience to tell me how to raise my children.
Number two – Its okay not to have a prize home. When I became a full time stay at home mum when number 1 was born I had this idea that everyone expected that my home should be spotless. I did manage this by busting my arse for a whole year. But when number 2 arrived…I just couldn’t keep up. It started to get me down. I must be a failure as a mother and wife if I cannot keep a spotless house. Then one day I was talking to my mum and she lifted a weight off my shoulders. “It doesn’t have to be spotless, it just has to be clean and tidy.” There is a difference? Yes, there is. “Don’t you remember our house when you were a kid?” she asked. I did. It was always clean. She was constantly mopping, doing washing and making cups of tea. “It was like a bombsite. There was always stuff everywhere.” She answered herself. What!? That’s not what I remember. “That’s it. Your children don’t care about how your house looks just what you are doing. Make sure your floors are clean and they have clean clothes to wear and the rest won’t matter.” This was my light bulb moment. I was staying at home to care for my children not maintain a museum. The next week a friend was over and I was explaining my “light bulb moment”. Oh, she said, I thought it was your husband that expected you to keep a clean house?” What?! Had I given her that impression? I had. My continual ramblings…”Sorry the house isn’t clean. Don’t judge me.” She thought that he expected that of me when it was just me expecting it of me.
That leads me to number three…Kids don’t care. They don’t care if your hair is brushed or what you are wearing. Just as they don’t care if your house is clean they don’t care if you stay home everyday. This was another thing that my mum made me realise while I was worrying unnecessarily. It was the third day in a row we had been at home. I was still trying to find a regular routine with two kids. My mental state was fine, what I mean was I had no “cabin fever” that I had heard many other mums talk about. But I did feel for number one playing with her same toys for the third day in a row. After telling mum about how I felt her words to me were… “Children do not need to go out. They just need to play. They don’t need “toddler time”. I responded…”Yeah but it’s nice to go out. Isn’t it?” Her response was, “Yes, but not every day. Don’t stress yourself out with it. If you don’t go out you don’t go out.” Obvious but true. Kids care about if you will make time for them. If you will sit on the floor and do puzzles or throw a ball. Kids care if you are present. So from that moment being present became my priority. Let’s go make play dough.