After taking just under a month off blogging, I’m finally back after my mini-hiatus. As you can probably guess, the reason for my absence was because things got a bit hectic and I’ve been busy finding my feet as a new mum of two. Now that things have calmed down – at least for now- I’d like to share a few things I’ve learnt over the past month about how I can personally get through the ups and downs that come with having two children!
Lesson 1: It is possible to eat an entire tin of Cadburys Roses in less than a week.
Being madly rushed off my feet, in the first couple of weeks I was on my own with the children after my partner went back to work, I kept forgetting to eat. It sounds ridiculous, especially if you love food as much as I do, but I was so caught up in making sure that everyone else was fed that I often forgot to feed myself in the process. This resulted in unfortunate pangs of hunger at times when I was in the middle of doing something and had no opportunity to stop and make something proper to eat. Thanks to it being the festive season, many kind relatives had either dropped off or sent treats, including the aforementioned tin of Roses that had been left to perch innocently on the kitchen side. Whenever I was hungry and unable to stop, I’d grab a chocolate out of the tin and scoff it down, enjoying the short term fix it gave me. The term “fix” is not used lightly in this particular situation, because the chocolate shovelling became somewhat of an addiction and I found myself starting to use treats in an attempt to ease the stress I was facing as I tried to find my routine in all the chaos. As it turns out, it doesn’t help at all and serves to add further worry that not only will I be eternally running around a house after two tiny dictators, but also that I’ll have no teeth while I’m doing it.
Lesson 2: Time for myself is essential.
Yes, I have used bold AND italics to highlight how super important this point really is. Whereas time to myself was previously perceived as a bit of a luxury, I came to realise that it is now a necessity if I wish to keep my slowly dwindling sanity.
I didn’t realise what I’d signed up for before the birth of my second child, but between my two boys I ended up working an eighteen hour shift everyday, with my eldest waking up at roughly six in the morning and my youngest staying up drinking and requiring a constant winding until midnight each night. This slowly started to take its toll. I had thought being the mum of a toddler was difficult, but back then I at least had my evenings to myself after he went to bed. I found myself unable to catch a break and slowly went mad with it, until I broke down and told my boyfriend how I was feeling. For some reason, I expected him to tell me that I absolutely Was. Not. Allowed. to have any peace as a mother- it’s part of the contract. I realised how hard I was being on myself when he told me to do what I needed to do and take whatever time it required for me to feel human again. When I expressed my guilt at the idea of taking an hour or two for myself at the weekends and leaving him at home after working through the week, he looked at me strangely and said “They’re my kids too…”
It really was that easy, and ever since this agreement has been put into place I’ve felt a whole lot better. Even if I don’t take the option for some alone time, I know it’s there, and that has done wonders for my coping strategies.
Lesson 3: Stop stressing and things will fall into place.
Without realising, I have fully transitioned into a “Type A” personality, something which I never thought would happen. In the era B. C (before children), I’d been so laid back I’m surprised I didn’t fall over. I never used to stress about anything. Ever. Nothing phased me. You’d think this was a good thing, but actually a little bit of stress about the future can be healthy, as it serves as motivation (something which I seriously lacked).
However, now I seem to have gone to the other end of the spectrum completely and worry about everything. If the washing up doesn’t get done it’s a disaster! The kitchen will pile up and look messy! All the food will go hard and stick to the plates! And what if – God forbid-somebody is hungry and there is nothing clean to eat out of!!! You see the point…
Okay maybe the household chores are not the end of the world, but I did find myself stressing a lot about whether I was doing the “right thing”. Am I spending enough time with my eldest son? Am I stimulating the baby enough? Am I making sure I swop arms when I’m feeding him so he doesn’t end up with a lazy eye (this is something the health visitor genuinely warned me about). It felt like there were not enough hours in the day to get done everything that needed doing AND give the children sufficient attention to avoid the big wollop of “mum guilt” at the end of the day. It got to the point where I started to make myself feel ill, at which point I had to stop, take a good look myself and tell myself to calm down. I injected a little bit of the old Hannah philosophy into my life and decided to see where the day would take me, rather than trying to meticulously plan each and every second of it so I could tick off a mental check list in my head. Since doing this, I’ve felt much happier, and strangely have managed to fit more in. I’m also less of a monster to be around, and have actually had *fun* with my children, instead of just being a walking talking ball of stress.
So there we have it. The three main lessons I have learnt so far. I’m sure there will be many more to come, but I hope I can keep learning from my mistakes and continue feeling like I’m getting one step closer to actually getting a handle on all of this! (You have to dream big)
Thank you for reading, and here’s to (hopefully) some more regular posting as the adventure continues!