Having a baby is certainly an emotional roller coaster. There's dizzying highs and crippling lows. Like anything in life, we deal with each end of the spectrum depending on our coping strategies and support network. We have endless support during pregnancy, intensely through labour and birth, then our partners have time off work when the baby is born. Heck family couldn't stay away even if they tried! Friends visit endlessly, the food and flowers roll in on the daily.
The magical pregnancy, birth and newborn stage is so fleeting. The same can be said about the huge amount of support. The overwhelming joyous feelings begin to fade and real life kicks in. This is my life now - TWO kids! Ian recently went back to work after 6 weeks at home. I know, I was spoilt as many women don't get that much time with their husbands home. The first two weeks were great, I kept thinking 'he's not back at work til December!' As time went by I thought hmmm....still a week or so. Then the night before I felt kind of sick and wondered if I would cope.
The next morning as Ol & I stood waving goodbye I told myself 'You will cope, and you know why? Because you don't have a choice!' What are you going to do? Go to bed and cry? Ring Ian and make him come home?! Run away?!! As tempting as those options are, I've had to find coping strategies to deal with two kids on my own. You know what? I've found the ultimate! Surrender. It sounds easy...because it is! Honestly you need to try it. An example of when I find it really effective is the cluster feeds or witching hours.
The dreaded cluster feeds! All.damn.evening! My nipples feel like they are going to DROP OFF, surely theres no milk left in there?! The first time round I would have cried, been annoyed, tried to put Oli down and he would have cried endlessly and it would just be shit. These days I just tell myself. 'I surrender, I'm surrendering to this and accepting it. Going with the (milk!) flow so to speak. So I sit with my boobs out all evening, phone in hand, and cup of tea close. If I'm at peace with the idea of feeding until she's happy then its a much less stressful time for everyone.
I find I use this strategy the most with Oli. Today for example, we were reading the junk mail and he threw them all over the lounge room and ripped them all up. I easily could have told him off and got flustered picking them up. You know what I did instead? Yup, surrendered! Took a breath and thought who cares? Honestly, this is such an insignificant tiny thing, why get upset? It will only make me feel crap. It's the same scenario with him rifling through the cupboard. Instead of telling him off for pulling out all the baked beans, AGAIN! I turn it around and think 'whats the worst that can happen here? A bit of mess or a bruised toe? Then I tell him to go hide them all in his bedroom - hey at least 1 minute of peace!
There really is no point getting worked up which I so often do, even over the most trivial things. I see Ian doing it too and say 'Give him a break he's just a little boy!' Then the next second I'm the one shouting! It's so hard when you are utterly exhausted and overwhelmed by the constant screaming, crying or the worst -whinging!!
I wish someone had told me to just chill out. It really doesn't matter. The mess, the exploring through cupboards, pulling all the nappies out or getting head to toe dirty. It's not worth getting upset over, let them be kids and just let it slide. At the end of the day we are both growing and learning. Oli is a two year old boy and I'm a two year old mum. Both so new to the world, trying to find our feet, trying to figure out who we are. All I know is that taking a breath, ignoring the mess and surrendering to the small stuff is making the home alone time that little bit easier.
Easier until it's 6pm on a 40 degree day with no naps, crying babies and I've been stuck inside for 12 hours with two feral children. In that case you can bet your bottom dollar thats me on the front deck with an insane toddler at my feet, crying baby in one arm, wine in the other just waiting for that SECOND that Ian turns the corner onto our street and maybe - just maybe, a tear of joy runs down my cheek because its over! Daddy is hoooooome! This mama is CLOCKING OFF!