Friday, 14 September 2012

A day in the life of a mum

Before I became a mum I had no idea what mums did all day. Especially a mum with a newborn baby.

My close friend Jem was the first of all my friends to marry and have a baby. When we would meet up for coffee I would have a hard time finding questions to ask. I just couldn't get my head into her world. For the first time I felt like there was a huge chasm of difference between us.

A couple of years later I was pregnant. At the time I remember picking up a book which details one woman's daily life with her newborn baby. The book was written with blunt honesty and precise detail - every minute was accounted for and nothing was left for the imagination. "So, this is what mums do all day," I said out loud. "Oh, help me."

As I trawled through this woman's account of her monotonous days involving nappy changes, breast feeding, settling, and cleaning, I worried. I realised. I learnt.

It was a busy day being a mum, a full day. There was no time for boredom and no "me time." Right now, this is my reality.

Having a newborn and a toddler means it's even more crazy and busy. Sometimes I feel like I spend all day wiping bums and feeding my children from the breast or fridge. I can't wait to get my alone time in the toilet or the shower. Some days I am lucky to get two children sleeping at once and I race around the house cleaning and trying to embrace the empty space with "me time." There are also many good things about being a stay at home mum  - play dates with friends, family outings, hours spent playing in the sunshine, and watching my children laugh, grow and change.

Sometimes when I am asked what I do all day, I sugar-coat it, like I am trying to sell my new career or make my life seem interesting and valuable. The reality is that although we have a lot of fun days, many are also hard work!

So, for those who don't know what it's like being a mum, here's a little insight into a day I had recently.

12am - Isabella wakes up screaming. Luke resettles her and Finn stirs and begins crying. I feed him and accidently fall asleep with him in my arms.

2.30am - I wake up and realise two hours have passed and I didn't finish the feed. I start all over, change two nappies and resettle finn. I fall asleep around 4am.

5 am - Isabella wakes up. Luke tries to get her back to bed. I am drifting in and out of sleep but wake to Finn at 5.30am. Isabella is up and not sleeping.

6.30am - I finish feeding Finn and start getting my breakfast.

6.30 - 8.30am - These two hours involve taking Issy to the toilet countless times, making her more breakfast, singing songs to Finn to make him smile, washing up, putting the clothes in the wash, a quick clean of house, get both kids dressed and settle Finn for a nap.

9.00am Isabella and I play a quick game of memory. Luke calls me and Isabella begins screaming for attention. Nothing works. I lose my cool, feel guilty and then we both say sorry. Finn wakes up and I breastfeed him while Isabella hits me over the head with a pillow and pulls my hair.

10.00am I pack the kids up for a quick trip to Grandma's house to drop off a card. Before we go I change Finn's nappy, quickly make some morning tea for Issy and have issues over putting on her shoes and socks.

11.00am Drop into grocery store and grab the essentials. A man asks me if Isabella is my sister. Ha, very funny. He says I look too young to be a parent. I think he is too old to chat me up.

11.30am We arrive at the park and I breastfeed Finn while Issy plays by herself. We then make a trip to the toilet and I watch Issy crawl around on the dirty public toilet floor while I sit on the loo. "Yuck Issy, get up!" While I wash my hands she runs off. I race out of the toilet with the pram but now she is nowhere in sight.

I spot a doberman dog on the loose and two sketchy looking men walking around the park. The park is also right next to the highway.My imagination goes wild with scenarios fit for the 6 o'clock news headlines. I begin to think the worse and start screaming out her name. I then see a flash of colour ahead and there's Isabella racing through the trees. I call out but she won't stop running. Finally she listens and sits down.

"We are going home RIGHT NOW!" I exclaim. Finlay is now crying and Issy sulks as I drag her to the car. I am angry on the outside but inside I am relieved she's okay.

12.30pm. Bedtime books and then settling Issy and Finn for bed. Issy keeps coming out but eventually after a stern word to her she falls asleep. I rock Finn in his cradle for 45 minutes and then he finally falls asleep. I fall asleep for 30 minutes.

3.00 pm. I have 15 minutes to myself where i make lunch and enjoy the peace and quiet.

3.15pm. Isabella wakes. I get her afternoon tea and begin dinner preparation.

4.00 pm Isabella and I play with the blocks and chat.

4.30 pm Finn wakes and I feed him.

5.15 pm Luke comes home and I finish the dinner prep and we have a quick chat while Issy goes to time out for screaming over and over again. Luke baths her and dresses her and they watch a show together on ABC 2.

6.15pm. Finn has lost the plot and won't stop screaming. I breastfeed him again, change his nappy and cuddle him. I then put him in a baby carrier and serve out dinner. He falls asleep in the carrier.

6.30pm. Dinner time - meatloaf - Isabella's new favourite. She keeps asking for more and more. She tries mashed potato for the first time in 18 months. Yay!

7.00 pm. I clean up dinner and Luke puts Issy to bed.

7.15 pm. I feed Finn, bath him and settle him to sleep in his cot.

8.30pm. Luke goes to bed and I begin my blog writing.

10.37pm. Now...I am tired! Wondering how many hours of sleep lay before me. Tomorrow I'll wake up and do it all again.

Sometimes days like this can be so draining. But when I go off to bed at night and check on my two sleeping children, I can only smile. My heart melts for them and my love for them only grows.

Welcome to my daily life.

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