So at the point when I feel my body can’t stretch any more, my feet can’t possibly get any bigger and the tiredness surely is at a peak, I am waving goodbye to the office job for another year.
It’s a weird feeling this time round – last time I was finishing the end of a contract so wasn’t going back to the same role, I was leaving London life, I somehow needed to complete on our new house between the start of maternity leave and my due date and I had literally no idea how much my world was about to change. This time however, I know I will be back to the same job in a year, I know (to some extent) what is about to happen...both in terms of the small being about to once again change our world and of course labour. Is ignorance bliss? Will it be quicker this time? Might this one just fall out with a big sneeze?!
I had all too easily forgotten about Mother Nature’s cruelty towards the end of a pregnancy though – the lack of sleep. Why? WHY?? When she knows you are about to spend the next few months in some sort of bizarre sleep deprived haze – not knowing what time it is, what your name is and of course, which bloody boob you last fed from. (How come we can never remember this? I mean, it’s a 50/50 shot!). And yet knowing that this is what our life is going to be like, for the final few weeks of pregnancy she snatches away our sleep like an evil cartoon baddie. The combination of 5 toilet trips per night, the inability to roll over without a forklift truck and the fact that it’s SO HOT, sleep is something I look forward to so much for most of my evening (/day) and then like a slightly tepid Sauv Blanc on hot summer’s day, it is always totally underwhelming, unpalatable and simply doesn’t hit the spot. Gah!
In these last few weeks while I have struggled physically and emotionally, I have been lucky enough to have my nearest and dearests to help me out. My husband, who holds down a pretty incredible job, then takes the reins at home without a complaint. Even when I want to pick a fight for no reason whatsoever. My lovely friends who have spoilt me rotten over the last few weeks with visits, massages, reflexology and entertaining Molly when they come over – invaluable. And my parents who are pretty much moving in next week to help while Molly’s childminder is on holiday. I know – incredibly lucky.
To be honest though – I am DONE. But as I keep telling myself (and am told by so many) – these last few weeks are precious. I MUST make the most of them and must enjoy them as much as possible. I remember telling myself this last time round. But you get to the point where you are ready. Eviction notice in hand you are just about ready to go in there and retrieve it yourself. I don’t CARE that this is my last week or two of having the ‘easiness’ of one child. I don’t CARE that I am about to enter a wilderness of tiredness. I. Don’t. Care. There is an ENORMOUS human residing in my body, draining my energy while simultaneously creating this puffy angry woman who I think at the end of the day, everyone would probably be happier for her to just bugger off as well. My daily stretch mark check is becoming obsessive “If he comes out now they wouldn’t be too bad, but in a week’s time…what’s THAT going to look like?” And as this thought goes through my head, I swear to God another one just appeared. *Quickly applies another layer of expensive (and pointless?) lotion to one’s entire body*.
So in these last days of being a family of 3, I am thinking about what life is about to hold for us. I certainly feel apprehensive about this year and coping with two children. Childcare hours are being dropped to two days a week so that’s three whole days on my own with two. I have no doubt that this is manageable – I’ve seen people do it. I know people who have done it and do it, but still, my mind wanders, wondering how these days will be filled, how I will split my time and if my daughter will ever forgive me for bringing this other child into our lives.
With that in mind, here are the things that I believe are going to keep me afloat this year…
When I was a child I was oblivious to the fact I had friends that were my friends mainly because they were the children of the mothers that my mother wanted to hang out with. But now…now I TOTALLY get it. There are certainly children Molly sees way more than others because mummy wants to have a cup of tea and a natter with their mum’s…like every Friday. We keep saying “Oh look at them, best buddies!”
We have no interest whether they ACTUALLY are – and anyway, they are two and they seem to get excited when they see each other so that’ll do for now. These people have been and will undoubtedly be my lifeline this year. They are the ones going through this with me and whether it’s a whatsapp convo in the middle of the night about sore nipples or just that little push you need to get dressed and get out of the house, I cannot be more thankful for getting to do this all over again with them!
I actually dread the day when I am forced into a relationship with someone I would rather not for the sake of my child’s friendships. Maybe I’ll brief her before she starts to forge them. “Molly, you can be friends with anyone you like, providing their mother is fun, sarcastic, interesting, intelligent and most importantly understands that if we are meeting up past 2pm on any day of the week, it is fine to open a bottle.”
We have always been close, but having Molly has brought us closer together for sure. I know it's a cliché, but you definitely feel a new found respect for your mother the day you become one. From knowing the agony of labour to the limitless love you feel for your child and of course that new constant fear that something might happen to them. You are thinking about them ALL THE TIME. Even when they are safe in your arms, you are thinking about their future and what lies ahead for them. And I know that this is how my mother still feels about me and how I will continue to feel about my children forever. My mum and I speak every day. More than once. We ALWAYS have something to talk about. So this year will be no different – actually, maybe it will – we may need to substitute some phone calls with sleepovers.
When I started this blog, I was keen to make sure that along with my readers, I remember the importance of that sense of self and individuality. I can only imagine how much harder this is going to be to achieve with two, so I am going to really try and do one thing every week just for me. Painting my nails, seeing a friend, going for a swim, dinner with my husband, writing. It might not be for long at the start, but it will be so important for my sanity. A chance to catch my breath and clear my head.
And I mean GOOD wine. Trying to get through maternity leave with two children without it is something that I don’t even want to imagine. Because let’s be honest, when you have a screaming toddler having a tantrum on one side and your newborn has just sh*t through their 5th outfit of the day on the other, a (large) glass of Cote de Provence will certainly take the edge off.
Cheers to you. x