At 3pm yesterday you would have found me in Tesco car park leaning against the boot of my car eating a cake.
It wasn’t ideal, I felt a bit on show, like people were looking at me wondering why on earth I was leaning against the boot of my car stuffing my face with a bakewell tart.
Then I realised that I was in the parent and child parking zone.
Anyone there would just know it was because I was starving and couldn’t let my kids see me eating because then they would want some which would not only mean I would have to divide it into three but would also result in them not eating their dinner.
And as I stood there I found myself reflecting on my life as parent, more specifically my life on a parent to two.
Before Tiger arrived parenting Cherry was a breeze, she thrived on having my one on one attention. She was so grown up for her age and we could have conversations about all kinds of things. It was all laughter, kisses and cuddles. It was basically like the honeymoon phase of a relationship.
I never got cross, I never shouted, I had no reason to. When I saw parents trying to wrestle their screaming children into pushchairs or trying to stop their toddlers having tantrums in the supermarket I couldn’t relate because I had never had to deal with it. If I asked her to do something she would smile sweetly and say ‘yes mummy’.
Regular readers of my blog will know that Tiger’s arrival brought a swift end to the honeymoon phase and I was thrown right into the deep end of parenting two children, even more so because little miss ‘yes’ became little miss ‘no’.
Four months into parenting two children I wrote about how I had struggled to balance my love between them and now nearly 18 months into it it’s not even something I think about anymore. Life with two children is so normal and thankfully Cherry and Tiger have now become great friends. Seeing them play and enjoy each other’s company makes me feel a bit less guilty about losing the special relationship that Cherry and I used to have, of course we are still super close but it will never be the way it was when it was just the two of us.
The supermarket is always a place that makes me reflect on myself as a parent, it’s full of mums with children. You see the ones with just one child pushing the trolley and making funny faces to make their baby laugh, it all seems calm and relaxed and then you see the parents with more than one child. There is no funny face pulling at the baby because the attention is on trying to stop the oldest child wreak havoc up the aisles. ‘NO you can’t have another toy, don’t run off when I’m not looking, do you really need a wee or are you just wanting to check out the toilets?’
When I was a mum of one I used to look at these mums and think how I would never be like that. I would NEVER snap at my kids in the middle of the supermarket but sometimes
a lot of the time I do.
Maybe there are people out there with more patience than me who can stay calm with a screaming baby and a small child going crazy because they want a toy they already have at home but I’m not one of them.
I find it hard to enjoy those moments.
I’m not sure if that’s a terrible thing to say or not, I guess I always feel like if I’m not enjoying it ALL then I’m doing something wrong.
Then as I watched a mum pushing a stroller along with a child trying to tear the straps off and screaming so loudly that all the childless people were either laughing in disbelief or shaking their heads in disapproval (obviously as someone with children myself I just pretended like I couldn’t hear anything), I saw in her face how she wasn’t enjoying anything about that moment.
I suddenly realised that it’s okay to not always find being a mum enjoyable. It’s okay to spend the last three hours of the afternoon dreaming about the glass of wine you will be pouring that
It’s okay to just do the best you can.
And I’m so thankful that even on the most stressful days there will ALWAYS be a moment that makes it all okay, a moment so enjoyable that despite it only lasting for a few minutes it still makes all the hard work worth it.
A moment where I become an outsider watching my two children in their own little world. When Cherry is leading Tiger to the other room to pack for their ‘holiday’ or when I find Tiger cuddled against Cherry listening to her babble on to him about absolute nonsense. Those moments are what it’s all about.
So how would I describe parenting two children?
HARD, HARD, HARD but totally worth it.