T.I.M - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
So after recently having my second baba, its fair to say that our day to day living has been turned upside down and life is well – mental.
Beautiful, bewitching, hard and well yes, insane.
In short I felt compelled to share a wee snippet of daily living as a mother. In a slightly deranged moment of clarity the other week I chuckled to myself as I repeated T.I.M… it was the only thing that would effectively sum up the day I had just had. So ‘THIS IS MOTHERHOOD’ was born… inspired by TIA, an acronym I came to use frequently when I volunteered in Kenya some moons ago and which kept us all smiling even when faced with quite brutal realities day to day, the term ‘THIS IS AFRICA’ would say what we often couldn’t cobble together in words; sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking, sometimes otherworldly.
So here goes, a day in the life of…. A Mama... this mama, or to be exact, a woman, aka me, mother of one new bright and beaming 10-week-old boy and one very lively, inter galactic star dust fuelled nearly 4-year-old.
So, hold on to your hats:
Photo artistry from the talented Leo
Morning; rituals, coffee and melt downs
Yes, I hear you, WTF! To most sane people this is NOT in fact morning and is very much still the middle of the night. Try explaining that to a 3-year-old, and for those who aren’t familiar with the art of reasoning with a toddler, its simple, you can’t. The back story is our first beautiful baba has never really enjoyed the art of sleeping. So, after 3 and a half years of chronic sleep deprivation (that’s on our part – he was as bright as a button), he was just getting to a point of sleeping to a time we could reasonably call morning (anything after 5am) when, bam we went and added a new born brother to the mix. Arrrhh
So, the awesome human that is dad has been taking this grueling hit as I am in bed with baba attached to my boob. However, on this morning, trying to give him a much-needed lie in (again let me explain to those who are maybe unfamiliar, this anything is up to and beyond 7.30AM) I got up.
Breakfast making, baby on boob, and one handed mastery (parents acquire new found skills in one handed wizardry when they have kids… holding a new born while, eating, cooking, putting shoes on, trying to dress another human, or yourself, feeding animals, making a cup of tea, going to the toilet, it’s all been done).
Then some CBeebies time for leo, aka time for me and baba to lie flat and try to pretend that we are still asleep while hey duggee does his oh so weird and wonderful thing in the background (if you have ever seen that programme its like a trippy dream anyway, so floating in and out of consciousness its quite fitting)!
So let me set the scene. we were all about no screens when leo was born. We had read a lot around this and it was something that was part of our family dynamic (insignificant fact, I met Sue Palmer who wrote toxic childhood the night before at a meeting and was a tad star struck). So pre-two years there were no screens. Now when your baba wakes multiple times in the night and calls 4,30am morning – well you can just imagine what that might look like? Suffice to say that me and robin have aged about 10 years in that time – look it up, severe sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Anyway, me and robin as parents have always said to each other and tried to live by; NO judgment. Everyone has to do it their own way, whatever works for them as a family. We have very much decided we NEED CBeebies to function so it is now part of our morning – I am 100% happy and could kiss Duggee..
Attempt to get dressed. Switch on the life support machine (the coffee machine – honestly when this nearly broke I had a heart attack – and again super dad came to the rescue, he is a fixing wizard). Attempt to get anyone else dressed - don’t succeed. Give baba a wee baby steam and facial – in the bouncer while I have a 2-minute shower, interrupted in that time by leo leaving a most fragrant deposit in the toilet. This is Motherhood… you will begin to dream of the day you may go to the toilet on your own uninterrupted. And it will happen, in about 10 years.
Get myself dressed, baba pukes on clean top. Wipe it and move on (3 puke rule, if it isn’t curdled – move on). When you see the pile of washing that amounts daily, you choose to ‘not notice’ the watery pukes (is this too much information??).
Rising panic on my part that no one is dressed other than me, Leo is asking for more breakfast (usually he has 3, I mean 3 adult portions of breakfast). Baba is wet (sick and dribble), both wanting attention, all the while, dad is trying to get ready for work, while holding a baba and listening to the free flow babble coming from Leo – why is it that small humans need to verbalise their constant stream of consciousness. By 8am you feel like your brains been on a deep spin in the washing machine and youve been spat back out. It appears all we are trying to do is make it out the door before 9am for Leos gym class. I wonder, am I expecting too much??!
Email to say gym class is cancelled. Quick context, it is literally Leos favorite class, he asks ‘when is it Wednesday mama’, or hopefully most mornings ‘gym tots today???!!’. So, meltdown ensues at the same time baba wants a feed. Where is my 3rd arm I ask myself again. 2 arms just doesn’t cut it. Funny interlude… some text banter one day between mum and dad resulted in roaring laughter and the new title of ‘Gym Tits’ which we now call Leos gym class! Ah you have to love predictive text – those little golden nuggets keep me going when things get dark.
Leaving the house; Bribery and Poonami’s
I try to think up a new plan while getting baba dressed and settled on a cushion, with Leo bouncing up and down unnervingly close to the 10-week-old precious cargo.
New plan – lets go to the castle around the corner. We can walk there, baba can have a snooze in the sling, ah mama what a genius plan. ‘But I don’t want to go outside, I hate walking, I want to build a rocket.’ So, after some sweet negotiation (Alas, another skill parents unknowingly acquire – the fine art of secret service style negotiation), we are off.
Well I say we are off. It takes us another hour to actually fully leave the building.
Coats on, feed the baba, put the baba down to tackle teeth brushing, mine included, return to find Zen buddha baba has put himself to sleep, utterly bored by the proceedings and drama that descends every time we try to, well, do anything all together.
Put baba in the sling, go get the pram out of the shed while leaving Leo with a dangling carrot, ‘if you put your shoes on you can have a box of raisins, (don’t judge, another thing that went out the window, bribery… this is a formidable trick of the trade and 100% needed in order to maintain my sanity).
SAS training begins for the mama. So after having trained now extensively in post-natal recovery, healing, loving the mama and self-care, I find myself with a baba in the sling front side, and an insanely heavy backpack on my back (wtf is in there!!@??!). Que 2nd meltdown. The bike leo was excited to ride (that had also been a vital part of the bribery plan to get him out of the house), is in fact, wait for it, at the bike shop! Well fuck a duck. After mentally counting my breath, and restraining myself from having an ‘adult tantrum’, I move on, Watch a highly dramatic launch onto the grass from Leo, very angry shouts and some throwing of leaves and twigs. Poor little lamb, so we have a cuddle (no mean feat with another human strapped to your chest), i’m boil in a bag and we’re off, hallelujah! Hail the donkey pram full of more paraphernalia and Leo. Yes, we are using the pram as I suspected, not for the baby, but to avoid serious injury of the mama, me having to carry two humans and a bag would be the end of my shoulders and back.
Real life superhero in the woods
The buddha baba is not happy so we do a swap, baby in the pram, Leo on the skate board (the one I might add that has been the cause of my severely bruised shins). 5 minutes on, baba NOT happy, Im feeling like my own insides are going to explode and we are saved by a lovely woman who senses my strain and comes over to help. She picks up all the crap I dropped while trying to get baba back in the sling and chats to me about her own baba’s. BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE.
A highly important point he