10 Things I Now Know As A Mum Of Two
The good, the bad and the ugly - one month into being a mum of two and I've come to realise it's a whole new ball game! Here's why...
As most you may have seen from the baby spam on my Instagram and Facebook page, four weeks ago we welcomed our beautiful little girl, Maia Rose McKay, into the world. She's an absolute joy and lucky for me is feeding really well and sleeping three-hour stretches (well for now anyway!).
Of course I am feeling a bit tired with the broken sleep as a result of night feeds, but I am just so happy and relieved to have her here. I didn't have such a great pregnancy with Maia. I was hospitalised twice with a severe bladder infection, had a debilitating flu for over 6 weeks, was incorrectly diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had to have multiple scans to monitor Maia's growth as their were concerns about her size from the 32-week mark.
All in all it was quite a stressful experience - and couple that with the fact that I run my own businesses, both freelance and creating and commissioning all the content for the website, you have a recipe for emotional disaster. Plus I am a bit of a worrywart so the worry machine went into overdrive - what if I can't cope with two kids? What if my stress levels ruin my milk supply and I can't breastfeed? What if, what if, what if...
But as all my wonderful friends of multiple kids told me, it all works out and they were right! Things do fall into place and once you do have two kids to care for, you actually have so little time to worry about any of the things that once plagued you!
There is no doubt that everyday is a learning curve, and you have to literally take each moment as it comes, but here are the 10 things I now know since becoming a mum of two. I am sure many of you can relate!
1. Nothing Is Sacred
When I finally get the two second window to actually go to the toilet or have a shower, you can bet that Samson, my three-year-old son is right behind me!
And being the inquisitive kid that he is, he needs to know exactly what I am doing "you doing a wee or poo, mum". Just going to the toilet doesn't cut it! Then there's the questions about mummy's Stayfree maternity "nappy" and leaking boobies.
Yes there's locks on the door, but of course you can't lock the door because you must keep an ear out for the sleeping baby, who will most definitely be awoken by her brothers shrieks if he can't get in. And so inadvertently showering and taking a shit (pardon my language) becomes a spectator sport.
2. A Double Pram = Sanity
I thought given that Sammy is in daycare three days that I would wait until the baby is born before deciding on whether or not to buy a double-pram.
I learned very quickly - in fact within hours of being home alone with a super-busy, superhero-obsessed little boy and a newborn - that I would definitely need a mode of transport that catered for both kids!
Being able to get out of the house for the walk is essential for sanity (mostly mine as it keeps Sammy still for at least an hour), but also for Sammy, who has loved our walks since being a newborn himself.
I went for the Silvercross Wave. When I was making my decision it was important that whatever I chose was sturdy yet lightweight enough to go on long walks and easy to collapse and lift for outings to the park or shops and could easily convert from tandem to single. It needed to have a comfortable carry cot for Maia and roomy seat for Samson. The Silvercross Wave had both plus super stylish good looks - a black alloy frame and luxe leatherette finishes.
The cosy thermal-moulded lie flat carry cot attachment complete with soft liner crafted from natural bamboo fabrics and adjustable ventilation system is perfect for keeping baby Maia shielded from the cold on our walks - and the reversible seat for Sammy has multiple positions for reclining, and fully-adjustable handles with five height settings. And for mum? Well it also comes with a cup holder which is very handy for holding my much-needed coffee or a water bottle!
As you can see, we are all pretty stoked with our new ride!
3. Your Food Always Tastes Better
Now don't get me wrong I would give my life for my kids, but please don't try to get between me and my peanut butter toast! As any mum would know between feeds and getting the hubby out the door for work, it's usually taken two hours to actually get around to making breakfast for yourself - which you will no doubt eat standing up!
As the story goes in my house, just as I go to take that first bite, Sammy decides he wants peanut butter toast. No, not his own which I offer to make him, mine. Of course more concerned that he eats, I give it up and make another piece. And yes by the time I finish making my replacement, I see the original piece left discarded on the Spiderman plate. He's not hungry anymore. Ahhh gotta love kids.
4. Getting Out Of The House Is Needs To Be A Highly Organised Operation
Getting out of the house with a child is one thing, but getting out of the house solo with two is a completely new ball game - just a playdate at the park takes a minimum of three hours to actually happen.
I learned quickly that getting ready from head-to-toe at the crack of dawn is the only way I'll actually leave the house looking respectable! And then there's two bags that need packing (I do it the night before otherwise I will forget three million things), two children that need dressing, last minute poo explosions - one in a nappy, one in the toilet and usually happening simultaneously!
Keeping my thoughts on the coffee waiting for me is the only way I make it through.
5. Plant Emergency Nappies In The Car
Given there's double to think about, sometimes my brain can't keep up. I'll go to do one thing, see toys that need tidying on the way and forget all about the first task I was on my way to do!
As a result I almost got caught out with no nappy and a newborn poo explosion situation. Thankfully I had one last nappy in my baby bag, but it was a good reminder to plant emergency nappies in the car, and another pocket of the baby bag just in case I make the same mistake again - which no doubt I will!
6. Some Days You Will Feel Like A Crazy Woman
Nothing tests your patience like a three-year-old testing their boundaries! I affectionately call Sammy my three-anger because one minute he's being the sweetest little boy then all of a sudden he's full of attitude, immune to my yelling and deaf to my threats of being put in the corner.
I never thought I would be "one of those screaming mums", and yet I have to confess sometimes I feel like I am yelling from morning til night!
And now with a newborn hanging off my boob for most of the day it's a lot harder to spring into action as I watch Samson tip all his toys out, terrorise our poor poodles, Rex and Frankie, or raid the freezer for ice blocks at 9am (after the two uneaten breakfasts!) After attempts to remain calm and repeating instructions through gritted teeth it all turns to shit and quickly escalates into yelling and lots of cursing to myself!
Then comes the guilt - you now the one that creeps up on you when you exhaustedly tuck them into bed and they tell you how much they love you?
Yep, the emotional rollercoaster that is motherhood sometimes makes you feel like a crazy person. My good mum friends tell me it's normal, I feel marginally better knowing I am not alone!
7. Put YOU On Your To Do List
There is no doubt having kids changes your whole world in a lot of ways - it's filled my world with love and happiness but it's also so far removed from the days of being in a bustling office, having adult conversation and enjoying child-free lunch dates with colleagues.
It's for this reason I make sure I try and schedule a few things each day that are important to me - a bit of exercise, creating content for See.Need.Want and my 3pm coffee-break. Plus every Friday I try and get out for the house for a playdate with my sister or a friend - it's not childfree, but there's adult conversation, trading of war stories and laughter. And if there is one thing that has certainly become clear in the newborn fog, laughter can sometimes be the best medicine - oh and a glass of red wine!
8. Let It Go, Let It Go
Apologies if you just got that song out of your head, but I have adopted this tune from the Disney movie, Frozen, as my anthem.
As a perfectionist I like to write to do lists for everything - one for the house chores, one for things that need fixing around the house, one for the website, one for my freelance styling business, one for day to day!
The thing I've quickly realised is that I will not get through half as much in a day as I want. When Samson was a newborn not "getting through everything" would really stress me out and send me into a spin. This time round I am trying to keep it in perspective and remind myself if it doesn't get done today, let it go. There's tomorrow, next week or even next month.
Instead I try to look on the positive side of things and celebrate the tasks I do manage to get done - if that is just the washing, bathing the kids and getting dinner on the table then so be it! Some days are super productive and others - like the day I tried to finish this blog - I have a little koala bear called Maia stuck to my chest! Breathe, and just let it go.
9. Do Everything Quickly And Accept Help
No matter what it is - from showering, going to the toilet, putting on my makeup or doing my hair - it must not take longer than five minutes! End of story.
On the flip side to this I have also learned to accept help when I need to share the load. I admit I am really bad at accepting help because it makes me feel like I am incapable and I stress about putting others out.
But I've started to make peace with the fact it's ok to let others lend a hand - be that accepting my mum and sister's offers to help around the house and stock my freezer with meals, accepting dinner and care parcels from my mother-in-law and allowing my cousin to take Sammy off my hands for an hour to play with his cousin. All little acts of kindness that have made a huge difference in these early days juggling two kiddies.
10. There Will Be Tears
Oh yes there are tears - sometimes it's baby Maia's, sometimes it's Sammy's and sometimes it's mine! Riding the highs and lows of motherhood is challenging but also super rewarding. Tears are a necessary and normal part of making it through the ups and downs. Let them flow and remember that tomorrow is always a new day.