When you’re a stay-at-home parent, the days can feel long…really long.
They’re the days when you have no motivation. And the ones you don’t feel like going to the park again. They’re the days when the weather is horrible and you have no choice but to stay inside. They’re the days when your child is bored, sick or tired. And the ones when you’re bored, sick or tired.
At the moment, my days seem long. I’m in the newborn bubble, where sleep is broken and emotions are high. Our Alfie is now 5 weeks old.
My heart couldn’t be fuller in terms of love. Alfie is the rainbow baby we longed for. He’s all we could have hoped for and more.
Then there’s Henry, who will always be the greatest first joy in our lives. He has us laughing daily and continually surprises us with his intelligence and warmth.
But I’ve also been struggling with this newfound motherhood journey. I now know that being a mum of two is nothing like being a mum of one.
The logistics of having two kids is so much harder than I thought
especially when you throw sleep regressions into the mix (and I’m yet to work out how to put one child to bed when the other is screaming!)
It’s the emotional toll that’s come as the greatest surprise though.
I didn’t expect to feel like I was caring for Alfie at the expense of Henry, despite being well aware that I’m not an octopus. It’s been hard accepting that I can’t be fully available to both children at the same time at the moment. Elder siblings have to grow up a little when another baby arrives, but it’s hard to watch them trying to accept that when they’re also still your baby, isn’t it?
I never thought I’d be the mum sitting there thinking I can’t do this and I’m not enough. Deep down I know these things aren’t true. Nonetheless, they’re knee jerk reactions that have gotten past my mind’s resting gatekeeper, which is normally my eternal optimism.
The reality is that the physical and emotional challenges of motherhood can cause stress and angst. These emotions don’t always result in motivation to try harder as stress and angst can in other contexts. Instead, they cause you to have a lower patience threshold and lash out when you wouldn’t normally (sometimes at people who don’t deserve it).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my patience with Henry recently – sometimes warranted, sometimes not.
But I’ve learned that it’s okay to lose my patience. Not just because I’m only human, but also because it’s a behaviour that communicates to my children (and reminds them) where the boundaries are.
It’s the communication with your child that matters in these bad moments – the explanation, the apology, and the cuddle.
It’s the communication with yourself that matters in these moments too – the reflection, the self-awareness, and the forgiveness.
I’ve also learned the importance of not letting a bad moment turn into a bad day. Just because a day starts off badly doesn’t mean that it has to continue badly. Just because patience is lost in one moment doesn’t mean that it can’t be regained a moment later.
When we let our bad moments turn into bad days, we’re putting emotional blinkers on. We’re not just focusing on the negative, we’re manifesting it. Doing so makes us miss out on a hell of a lot of joyful moments, both because we’re not seeing them and because we’re not creating them.
May your days of mixed moments be surmounted by a life of great days!