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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I became a mum four years and three months ago. That makes it five years, almost to the day, since that second pink line, that positive sign that my world had shifted and it was no longer just mine. I’ll try to avoid telling this story in rhyme (I have delusions of being Kate Tempest. Sorry).[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2235″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded”][vc_column_text]Everything they tell you about parenting is true. It’s hard, it’s wonderful, it makes you pull on resources deep within yourself that you didn’t even know you had, it makes you a bit scared to realise how deeply you’re capable of loving, it tests every ounce of your patience. We’ve had our ups – bringing home another baby and watching their relationship grow over time – and our downs – my mental health. There are days when you feel you can conquer the world, and days when you’re that caricature, hiding in the bathroom with a bar of Dairy Milk while your kids watch Hey Duggee like stoned humanities students.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Do I wonder what life would be like without children in it? Yes. Honestly, I do.

Do I long for that alternate life? No. Ok, a little bit. The disposable income bit.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]The simple fact is that becoming a parent is relatively easy. The second pink line emerges (ok, for some this bit’s easy, for others it’s a more arduous journey) and whether we wanted it to or not we all metaphorically crap ourselves a bit. The months pass by as our bellies (and ankles) swell, our expectations get fixed in place, and we’re making plans. Pregnant women are great at planning. Amazing, in fact. “I know,” I thought once while swanning around in a top that can only be described as whale-tent, “we’ll bring the moses basket downstairs every morning and bring it up again at night time and we’ll all get a solid 8 hours.” HAHAHAHA. I planned it and we did it and we argued every day for six weeks. What I’d failed to do was adjust. And there, in a nutshell, is the biggest problem I have with being a parent. Adjusting.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2237″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2206″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_rounded”][vc_column_text]You know when you’re out for a meal with an 18 month old because you’re a fool? You have a few options. You can either:

a) go to the meal and expect your toddler to act like a grown up

b) take all the distractions in the world and expect to spend an hour picking up noodles off the floor

c) adjust your expections of your child’s behaviour – go out somewhere you know they serve chips without having to wait for hours first, and go once it’s clear your child has had enough.

You are the adult and you make the choice. It’s much harder for your child to choose whether that particular broken crayon is the most devastating thing they’ve ever seen.

Here are some of the ongoing problems I face as mum to two very different kids, and the solutions I grasp for (while hiding in the bathroom with a milk tray).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The four walls.

The four walls of our house, to be exact. We live in a cosy two bed semi, and boy do we have to get out of it every single day to stop from each having a mental breakdown. We go to the park, the shops, the library, the off license (ahem). We visit friends and family, run around in fields, go for days out. The result is that we’re all absolutely knackered by the end of most days and it’s all I can do to sit in the bathroom eating Reese’s Pieces.

Letting them go.

Letting them go to nursery or Grandma’s house is like falling off a log. I love my children deeply but I also like to be Caroline again, instead of Mum (which is never mum or mummy, but MUUUUUUUUUMMY!!!!). That’s not the letting go I mean. I mean when George comes home from nursery and says “Frodo* punched me”, and I have to resist the urge to say “You show me this Frodo and I’ll deal with this” or “HE DID WHAT?!” It’s easy to say goodbye to them knowing I’ll see them again at tea time. It’s much harder to say goodbye knowing that they’re discovering they are, and that part of that discovery requires they learn how to socialise. Because socialising is not easy when you’re four and you just want to hide in the bathroom eating minstrels.

*name embellished for the lols.

Saying No.

“George we’re going to Sainsbury’s.”

“Can I have a toy?”

“No. We need milk.”

“I really want a toy.”

“No.”

“Oh but pleeeease.”

“No.”

“It’s not fair.”

“Do you have enough money in your money box?”

“I have fifty one million pounds.”

“Do you?”

“Yes. And I’m going to buy a jelly machine that shoots jelly and when you press a button it also roars like a dinosaur.”

We then get to Sainsburys after much whining, and he discovers that we are, as stated, only buying milk. Throws whole self on floor. I hide in the bathroom, with a bag of Freddos.

Consequences.

George is 4. Effie is 1 and a half. George has learnt not to hit, or bite, or do anything physically intimidating to another child. Effie has learnt that George makes that squeaking sound if she hits or bites him. George has decided that if Effie initiates the hitting and biting session he is justified in retaliating. I must now emerged, besmeared with chocolate, from the bathroom, and lay down some motherflipping consequences. I separate them from their noisy tearful tangle (sadly detangling spray is not made for this, which is a real shame). I ask them in turn what’s happened.

George: shebitmeandwedon’tbitebutthenshehitmeandit’snotfair!

Effie: dinosaur!

I do that explaining thing. I give them both a snack and drag them out of the house. That night, after dinner, I open a beer. And a bag of malteasers.

The hardest part, if I’m really truly honest, is knowing that this doesn’t lastand won’t come again. Effie is our last baby, and while I’m hiding in the bathroom with the Cornettos, I’m also telling myself, all the time, to calm down and enjoy them as much as I can.

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