I started chatting to a woman in Boots yesterday. It’s where I usually chat to other mums. The prescription line is long and you can only spend so much time staring at boxes of Anusol before you get bored.
She had 3 boys under 3 years old with her. At the top of the pushchair, in a car seat was a 9 week old scrunchy little newborn. Underneath him in the bottom part of the pushchair was a 7 month old and climbing onto the wheels of the pushchair (and then cleverly distracted by mum letting him read the Boots magazine) was a 2 year old.
If you’re observant you may have noticed that they couldn’t all be hers. The 7 month old wasn’t, but she did have another little boy who was at school.
And here’s the thing – she was happy!! She was no yummy mummy but she was up and dressed and out the house and smiling and happy and even chatting to her friend who also had 2 boys in one pushchair. I’m not saying it’s impossible to be happy with lots of children, just that for me to get out the house at times it’s a real nightmare. I have to time it carefully with naps and just getting the pushchair set up without Roo screaming because I’ve left him alone for 2 minutes is a mission!
Seeing this woman made me realise a couple of things:
1. Mainly my attitude really needs to change. I’ve taken to feeling a bit ‘poor me’ a lot, because my life has changed and everything is a lot more difficult. But if I’m honest, getting up in the morning and being a mum is a way more varied and interesting job than I’ve ever had before and I do enjoy it and it doesmake me happy. So I really can’t grumble!
2. My little boy is not a baby any more! Seeing that newborn and 7 month old side by side made me realise how big my 7 month old actually is! I think I’m probably mollycoddling him a bit too much. Here was this other 7 month old, at the bottom of the pram, older boy’s rucksack swinging in his face, no face to face attention from his caregiver but he was doing just fine!
I looked at him, then glanced at my spoilt 7 month old, in his Uppababy throne which I constantly adjust to make sure he can see out, doesn’t have the sun in his eyes or is reclined when he’s tired.
I often tell friends to use the 3rd child rule ‘Would I do this for my 3rd child’ to stop us feeling bad if we’re not perfect and to just give us a reality check. But here I am- minutely adjusting the recline of Roo’s chair so that he can see my face and also what’s going on around but doesn’t have the glare of those nasty flourescent lights in his eyes. It’s me that needs a reality check! 2 minutes of crying when I set up the pram is really no big deal. I shouldn’t be worrying about it. I also shouldn’t be so concerned that he is getting bored if we don’t manage to make it out the house. Or that I will wake him up if I go to the toilet. Or that he can only go to sleep in pitch black. Or that he won’t cope playing alone while I have a cup of tea. He’s not a newborn any more!
Don’t get me wrong, I do want to do everything I can to make and keep my little boy happy but I think now is the time to start being a bit tougher and not attending to every niggly need.
Perhaps then, when I have 3 children, I will be that happy as well!!