I saw a mouse the other morning. Eek!
My two kids (age six and almost three) were busily having breakfast, digging into their cereal when I caught the cheeky little fellow in the corner of my eye scooting across the gangway.
I had visions in my head of what I felt like doing; hopping up on the nearest chair with the two kids in tow…screaming, causing a SCENE. In fairness to my almost 3-year-old, his screams would probably have been in delight. To my surprise, I reacted very well. I completely ignored it. If I had been in the kitchen alone I would definitely have been up on that chair. It made me stop and think about how I have changed, and how motherhood has taught me not to always act on impulse.
I didn’t want my kids to witness my fear. I wanted to protect them from it. This was a big deal for me. I was thinking of them. I was being responsible!
After making a mental note to buy a mouse trap, I started thinking how childish I was myself, before having children. Like many of my friends, I was a late starter. I had my first at the tender age of 35.
Our first born arrived in the big snow of December 2010, a 7Ib perfect bundle of joy. It was the height of the swine flu epidemic hysteria and the hospitals were in lock down. Dramatic beginnings! How innocent I was to the changes afoot in the coming years!
I left home at 19 and that gave me a good 16 years of pretty much doing what I wanted, whenever I wanted. Routine was out the window for a good chunk of that time. I was one of those noncommittal, last minute I-will-see-how-I-feel flakey types. This was going to be a shock. The new boss in town turned out to be a girl and we called her Stella. After about 12 months of what I like to call the gooey-eyed phase, passed; that dream like, sleep deprived nutter period, when your Facebook page becomes literally plastered with hundreds of baby photos. “Isn’t she the most beautiful baby in the world?!” (even though she is covered in cradle cap).
Cut to 18 months and maternity leave is SO over. Also, there is teething, tears and tantrums, more sleep deprivation. There are demands being made that you that you feel are completely unreasonable. But you muddle through somehow.
I remember my mother harping on and on about the importance of routine (thankfully). Gradually the message sank in and everything started to get easier. That’s when I started to entertain the idea of doing it all over again. Cut to September 2016. For some strange reason, I thought I would try having a natural birth this time. I had an epidural with my first. Second time around I thought,’I will see how I go…’ In the end, I was screaming for an epidural but it was too late. I’m not quite sure where I found the strength for that final push. Tom was 10Ibs. I remember there was a team of medics in the room and one of the staff commenting,“Jaysus, look at the size of his head! Back up on the rollercoaster of emotions again throwing sibling rivalry into the mix.
Right now I just feel very lucky. I have two healthy, beautiful children. I am still learning as a mother, I don’t think I will ever stop. I’ve learned that getting through all the hard parts, all the little daily battles, is actually turning me into a confident, responsible adult - something I was never sure I would become. I remember thinking; how did my sisters, who were a good few years ahead of me, get through it - and how was I so unthinking before I had kids, never offering to help much?
But I realise now, it is only through having kids of my own that I really understand how much work is involved in child rearing and how important it is to have help and support from other women who are in the same position. After all, as that old chestnut saying goes,’it takes a whole village to raise a child.’