This morning I sent the following photo to one of my Mother’s Groups. ‘Look at how well I am rocking this day.’ A content baby, a busy toddler, hot drink and even a cookie. How good am I?
Truth be told, the coffee wasn’t finished, the baby rolled over, vomited all over herself and started howling, the toddler took the opportunity (while my hands were full with Maisie) to run around the table with a near dripping paintbrush, then proceeded to go and “wash his hands in the kitchen” while I was quickly packing up the paint stuff and smashed a glass all over the kitchen floor.
All within fifteen minutes of this photo being taken I had gone from having a content baby to an unsettled one, a toddler who was happily painting to one who was now covered in paint and crying because I had yelled at him to freeze when I heard the smash, and a kitchen floor with shards of glass all over the place despite vacuuming it twice.
Calm, peaceful and content one minute and chaotic, loud and hectic the next. A perfect summary of life with kids.
Before I had kids I used to wonder what was so hard about being a stay at home mum. What do you mean you haven’t had time to shower? What do you mean you haven’t had the chance to vacuum in days? Aren’t you at home like all the time?
Before I had kids I was such a better stay at home mum than I actually am. I do not say that because I think I am bad at my job, I know I am very good at my job, excellent in fact. I need no one to tell me I am a good mother or wife, I simply say it because my preconceived ideas of how I would be a mum are so different to how I actually am one. For someone who was never going to be controlled by their children, I take orders from a two year old constantly, he is my ruler. For someone who was only going to feed their children healthy home made snacks, I openly bribe my child with chocolate. For someone who was always going to have floors so clean you can eat off, I haven’t mopped in weeks and the phrase ‘building immunity’ is used a few too many times in our household.
Every new mum will you tell you some days are hard. I love my kids and I love being a mum more than anything but oh my god some days are hard. Some days I miss the time where I went to work and only had ideas on how I would parent rather than actually working out how to do it. I don’t know what I am doing half the time. How am I meant to know what I am doing? I haven’t done this before! I have never had to stop a two year old from drawing on the walls while breastfeeding a baby at the same time. I have never had to have conversations about why lunch should be eaten rather than being made in to a sludge in your cup for you to drink.
Half the time I have no idea what I am doing but I just have to go with it. I think that is what being a parent is; not knowing what you are doing but just acting like you do so they don’t get suspicious and do what you say.
I have found being a parent is all about adaptability and crowd control. You don’t get up in the morning and know how your day will go, you get up in the morning with a very vague idea of how your day might go and you hope for the best. On the good days, everything will go smoothly, there will be no breakdowns, the shopping/cleaning/errands will get done and there may even be a bonus trip to the park or bike ride in there somewhere. On the other days there will be tantrum after tantrum, food will be picked at, maybe even thrown, chairs will be knocked over and you may or may not shower, you definitely won’t brush you hair or finish a cup of coffee and you will probably yell or raise your voice, not because you want to or because you are angry, but out of sheer frustration and fatigue.
This morning I yelled at Leo. Maisie was crying. Leo was crying and I yelled.
Today is a hard day, well it can’t be that hard because both my babies are sleeping simultaneously and I have had time to take refuge and write this so lets just call it a hard morning. I am thankful that in our house everything resets after nap time. No matter how feral and crazy things got this morning there is peace in the fact that the slate is cleared after a nap (and if not Disney make wonderful movies to mesmerize toddlers).
Everyone has bad days in their work, whether you are a mum or not, everyone has had one of those days where you wish you had just stayed home instead. So I guess I’m writing this to all the mums out there who are having a hard day, you aren’t the only one, that fleeting feeling of missing your old life, there is no shame in that. There are way more great days than hard ones and for the hard ones just remember, coffee is wonderful and babies take the best selfies.