In some crazy twist of fate, or perhaps it wasn’t a twist, just fates funny old course, I don’t know, thats not my point, but either way I now find myself to have joined the ranks of SAHM to two beautiful babies. Ok neither are technically babies anymore but in the grand scheme of things they’re still very young. I have a busy one, two year old combo with a grand total of 11 months (and a day) between them.
I started my maternity leave with my first child back in August 2014 and haven’t done a days paid work since. I have in a actual fact worked harder over the last two and a bit years than all my days in the legal offices, and I used to take people to Court and shit. Yet no one is paying me to keep two humans alive.
Anyway in the early days of the one two year combo, life was hard. I don’t just mean god this mum shit is tough, it was a different experience. Premature poorly baby in the hospital, almost one year old at home, 30 mile round trips to the hospital daily, breast pumps, hormones, beg borrow and stealing from anyone and everyone for babysitters so I could get to the hospital without the tiny snotty one year old taking her poorly germs in, and oh boy the guilt. It continued in this vain for quite some time.
When the boy did come home things were obviously easier but I quickly realised my day to day became about survival. Well no one my dearest and oldest friends came to stay with us for a weekend and she was like a rabbit in headlights at our day and it was her who pointed out that I was in survival mode.
I remember when we first brought Toby home and Mr Tammy had to go back to work. TO MY DISGUST. How unreasonable. He works for himself so I was all ‘you can be off for ya know, ever’ to his mind it was very much ‘GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE’. Ha no ok it probably wasn’t (it might be now) but he did have to go back to work as if he didn’t run his business no one would and we wouldn’t have food, so I accepted the fact I would be in the house on my own with a one year old and now 7 week old baby. I was bricking it. How on earth was I going to sit for 40 minutes and feed with a starting to walk one year old tottering about need my attention, for a) her enjoyment but b) her actual safety? To be fair we did get through it, the babies were fed and the ‘big’ girl only fell off the sofa once, so all in all we survived that experience.
Going out was a different matter. Going out scared me. I am a big believer in finding parenting easier whilst out of the house, now. Then, not so much. Getting anywhere at a sensible time was near on ridiculous. The thought of feeding two very small people in public made me want to cry and going to baby groups made me feel like everyone was whispering ‘that’s her, the one who had another baby, already’ quickly followed by ‘oh god she must be mad‘ I would then feel I needed to be on my parenting A-GAME for the remainder of the session. OK so in all honesty I doubt anyone gave a shit or even noticed we’d entered the room but that was how my hormonal tired and mad self felt at the time.
So those first few months were tough, they were spent largely awake, in the confines of the house (it was winter, which didn’t help) nursing a sick baby to health (which was harder than I imagined), generally making it from sun up to sun down in a way that everyone was at least semi happy but I would just take fed and watered at that time.
Things started to get easier, as baby 2 started going longer between feeds, when actual food started to be introduced and I didn’t have to clear up the vomit that inevitably followed a feed. Mr Tammy and I started embarking on child free afternoons whilst grandparents dedicated their services, we went abroad, we tried our best to tackle life head on and start living it.
For the most part it worked but when on my own doing my general SAHM duties, life was still very much about getting through the day, and night, in whatever fashion we deemed fit. Fancy days out and well thought out activities and crafts still were not happening and I feared my sanity and guilt threshold.
That was until the summer hit, well after Menorca Gate, the holiday to end all holidays. I realised that actually we are no longer just surviving, I was no longer dreading weekly hospital and health visitor appointments where I would feel like I am failing my son. I and my babies were sleeping through the night, my daughter no longer pointed and yelled at things she wanted but tried to tell me. Mr Tammy and I were having care free afternoons or Saturday nights out, sometimes with babies sometime without, Saturday nights were generally without – for the record. I finally felt comfortable in public, like I could actual parent these two small people without the fear of judgement. Don’t get me wrong we still have public meltdowns from us all but they are manageable and I no longer care. We can eat out in a restaurant, I can take both kids on a day trip on my own successfully and feel like they have been stimulated and entertained and I feel like I am winning. Hell we even bake at times. We get a fair amount of attention but it’s mostly because I have two borderline albino blondy kids who love be fussed over and the general public can’t help but strike up this conversation:
Stranger: ‘are they twins?’
Me: ‘no, theres 11months between them, so nearly haha’
Stranger: ‘oh wow you’ve got your hands full then’
Stranger: ‘They’ve got such white blond hair, and wow such beautiful eyes, is it one of each?’
Me: **hold back internal desire to throw something
‘Yeah boy and girl’
Stranger: ‘Oh well thats just lovely’
I have this conversation about 3 times a day, usually if we’re sat eating somewhere. Its usually followed by questions about whether I intend to procreate again and how I don’t need to as I have one of each now, OK thanks then.
Anyway what is great about this is not the same conversation I have time and time again but the fact I am out in public eating lunch, on our day out with my young entourage. We are actually living now, we are having fun, life is much less about survival.