Ok so I’ve been asked on a number of occasions how I’m finding having two under two and therefore thought I’d touch on the subject.
I never thought this was going to be easy, I knew it was going to be a challenge and I’m happy to report that that’s exactly what it is, a challenge. Not one of those daily or monthly hurdles that you dread, try to dodge or forget about but one of the toughest jobs you’ve ever done albeit the most rewarding. One of the biggest surprises for me personally with having two under two is what I’ve learnt about myself and how much we can learn from them (sounds cringy but true).
Before having kids I did things in my own time, on my own terms and managed my expectations accordingly. Since having children I don’t really have my own time, therefore terms of my time don’t really exist and it can be difficult to know what to expect on a daily basis. You can plan until your hearts content but if your toddlers not playing ball or your baby has colic and therefore is screaming relentlessly, sometimes you have to think on your toes and be more flexible with that plan. However…there’s no point being flexible with that plan if its going to be coupled with an enormous amount of stress. I’ve realised that when I’ve reorganised the day to try and suit everyone as best possible, at times I’ve lost the ability to enjoy that flexibility because i’m too caught up with trying to manage these events, the logistics, the meals, the changes of clothes etc, the list goes on. Its not until you get into bed that evening and think back and say to yourself “did I enjoy today?”, that you realise whether or not you truly are thriving or you are in fact ‘coping’ on a daily basis. Now my guess was that I’d have a mixture of the two and I’m still happy with that estimation. Being a Thrive consultant does not mean you become superwoman or ‘supermum’ so to speak. Less than two years ago I’d never even been a mum and honestly had very limited knowledge surrounding the subject. However, by using the Thrive Programme I’ve been able to keep my self esteem high, stay resilient (during the tougher times), maintain perspective (I have found this is key) as well as maintaining a strong ability to not be swayed by the crowd or live in fear of being judged.
Im sure most parents can relate to the social anxiety that comes with having children. I like to think that I don’t have a huge fear of being judged however I hold my hands up to feeling those eyes on me when I’m in company or out and about and either my child has run off and adopted another set of parents, is screaming ‘BANANNA’ at the top of his voice during the entire tesco shop, my baby is screaming uncontrollably whilst I attempt to eat something for the first time that day or heaven forbid I decide to go to the toilet. For those already carrying quite a large amount of social anxiety (linked to self esteem) I would suggest as I have done myself in the past (and only as a short term fix) to just pretend that no one else is in the room and you are alone, with your children. Suddenly the situation is far easier to manage and not only that, you come to realise that you created the anxiety and stress simply through your fear of being judged, not actually due to the matters in hand. Being covered in baby sick with a toddler who’s currently beating his egg sandwhich with the wooden spoon table number really is far easier to manage after all! You might even crack a smile….
Guilt, this is not something I choose to carry nor advise my clients to do so however in managing my expectation I’ve had to come to terms that guilt will be on the agenda from time to time but that that’s ok as long as I let it go just as quickly as I created it. I cant please everyone and if someone is being left to cry I need to maintain perspective, do my best to use as many distraction methods as possible and continue to juggle the two. I tell myself that my child is still loved, is fed, is warm and I’m doing the best job that I can do, even if I feel I’m not (usually more so on the sleep deprived days). With my son being 20 months and my daughter being 3 months, they are close in age however their needs couldn’t be further apart. My son is going through some huge developmental changes, which is just such a wonderful thing to observe however it comes with its mood swings and upsets and on top of this he’s juggling the emotions of having to welcome another small person into the home. I just have to maintain perspective and be sure to remind myself when I watch his bottom lip go because he wanted a cuddle but cant because I’m feeding his sister that this time isn’t forever. In a matter of months she’ll be sitting at the table with him and attempting to share his toys and the more difficult times will be a distant blur. I’ve also recently been able to manage my diary a little better and with the help of childcare I can be sure to have one child for an entire day a week and during that day they have my undivided attention.
I was up in Scotland when heavily pregnant with my second baby and was chatting to a fellow Thrive consultant. He asked me what my goal was and I said I wanted to ‘Thrive’ with two under two. We wrote the goal down as well as all the areas that I needed to work on in order to achieve that goal. I found it interesting that when I really sat and thought about it, at top of my list was my relationship. There’s no point in trying to maintain a happy healthy relationship with the kids if they are witnessing something entirely different between their parents. I wanted us to be on the same page and encourage and support each other. That relationship needs nurturing just as much as the relationship with our children and therefore date nights are still priority as well as 10 minutes every day to talk about what we enjoyed from our day. I know that will sound cringy to some but when you are consumed by the kids and their daily needs, you have to actively remove yourself from the situation, its healthy and no one else will do it for you. In working on ‘us’ and being a team, I truly believe that our children will benefit and we are able to enjoy them even more.
So in short, all seems to be going ok. I wanted to be able to enjoy my time and not just live in hope that it’ll be a good day and I’ll ‘cope’. I think I’m getting there, I’m learning every day and the children seem to be happy (most of the time) which is always a good measure! We promote lots of kisses and cuddles which doesn’t do any of us any harm!
On reflection, I think I probably am the busiest I’ve ever been and on the least amount of sleep I’ve ever had however hand on heart, I would have it no other way. The kids are my absolute world, they feed my motivation to work hard for the family, they have taught me patience, they have taught me to live in the moment, to slow down, to enjoy them, to not read into every tiny issue and most of all what it feels to love something with every fibre in your body. I like to think that they have made me a better person and for that I thank them unconditionally.
Amy Smith – Thrive Consultant
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