It’s been just shy of two months since we’ve become a family of five – we welcomed Little Miss Moody late August, and life has been one big love-bubble since. Giggles Magoo and Little Mate cannot take their eyes, hands or heart away from their little sister, and man, my heart swells every time she cracks a smile for them.
Of course we’ve had the broken nights, the extraordinary amount of washing a new baby seems to bring (especially for the family that does cloth nappies) and the neglect the bigger two kids swear we give them now our attention is taken up by the Littlest Love or the never-ending jobs we seem to have to do to make sure we keep functioning…I promise we aren’t neglecting them, not matter what they say!
All that said, we’ve also had those moments where we’ve aced parenting. And those are the ones that I will hold dear until my memory no longer works. The middle of the night or morning cuddles from all three, the laughter as we spend time in the backyard or the crowded nappy-change mat as we all peer down, drinking in her new-ness. But, it is chaos. Crazy chaos. The house is a constant bomb site, a noise testing zone and temper-testing space (for all of us) as we navigate our new rhythm.
One rare, quiet feed with Little Miss Moody, I found myself sitting there, brainstorming strategies to try and control the chaos, really resenting the mess, the noise and the frustration. Think ridiculous schedules and chore-lists for all of us, not allowing for sleep, play or any sense of family time. I don’t know where the epiphany came from, but from somewhere deep inside my brain I remembered that I had dreamed of us becoming a family of five. I had craved the chaos a third would bring and knew exactly what we’d be in for (growing up in a household of 4 kids, I knew EXACTLY what was coming). Somewhere along the way, I’d become distracted, losing sight of that dream. I’d grown into a giant, controlling Mumma – raised voice, impatience and rushed to do everything.
Now, you’re probably sitting there saying “Geeeeez love, give yourself a break, you’ve just birthed a newbie. Chill out”. And I’d have to say I felt that way for a fair while too, and possibly hid behind it for a little longer than I should. Sitting there, on the couch for that feeding session, I questioned when exactly is the time that does it not become ok; when does the yelling/idle threats of chucking things in the bin/extreme desire not to be late become normalised? The epiphany told me now is the time – enough is enough, or I could at least try to do better at leading the family through the chaos, not surrendering to the easy route. I could accept the state of chaos we find ourselves in and work with it, rather than against it.
I am grateful for the chance I had to (again) reflect on me and the kind of parent I want to be – boundary setting, but kind and able to work with the kids to accept the boundary; Helping each one to recognise their hurt/anger and working with them to soothe it, rather than resent them for it and expect they get over it immediately.
Anyways, last week marked the return to work for Grimace, and as school also returned from the October School Hols, it also marked a return to school/preschool drop offs and pick ups for me. I’m not going to lie, I was slightly daunted about how we were going to go. After day one, I had my little epiphany (there you go, it was the old school drop off regime that reminded me), I made the promise to consciously accept the chaos, and voila, the next few days were still chaotic, but with a sense of connectedness. We weren’t late, we weren’t at all yelly and we were able to live relatively harmoniously. The boys even played well together for hours. I was one happy mumma! I should also say, the baby was sleeping well at night – so that also helped.
Enter Saturday night, preliminary finals for the football night – I had promised Giggles Magoo he could watch his beloved footy team try and get into the grand final (they did!). Unfortunately it meant a late night for the kids, which we all knows equals crazy and ratty kids the next day. You can rest easy in the knowledge that I am human, and yesterday was by no means our happiest day as a family of five, despite my new-acceptance of crazy chaos. But, today is a new day and I have given myself grace; a chance to accept yesterday’s incidents of bad language, aggression, cupboard and wall drawing on, and remember that we are all human, all trying to do our (tired) best.
After the double drop offs this morning, I had a lovely coffee with my mountain-dwelling sister and felt renewed and reconnected. When I got home, I felt the urge to get creative in the kitchen – something that makes me truly happy. I could have put the house or mount-clothes away, but instead I prepped dinner (Pumpkin & Goats Cheese pie), made some museli bars and also had enough time to make some veggie sausage-style rolls for lunchboxes (again, thank you sleeping baby!!). All the while accepting the house in it’s current war-like state, and looking forward to welcoming my little cherubs back home this afternoon.
One happy mumma-of-three over here x