Surviving. Not Thriving

‘Does it get easier? Please tell me it gets easier?’. I’m frantically asking this of almost anyone with more than one child at the moment… I feel as though I’m merely existing with a rambunctious (polite description) three year old and a gorgeous but naturally demanding eight week old. For context the first five weeks were bliss, genuinely lovely, then the newborn bubble burst and real life had to start. I’m overall happy and content but today is a BAD day…some days are. My husband works most afternoons and evenings so bedtime, otherwise known as deviltime, is my time. Thus some days are bad.

Beach, palm trees, sun
Where I’d quite like to be right now…

I’m tired. More tired than I’ve ever been. I feel as though I’m floundering – a tummy bug here, a cold there, a growth spurt here, a wonder week there. Too much CBeebies, guilt about how the big one is coping with everything, piles of washing – washed and unwashed – looming ever higher about the house. I’m a bit lonely – there isn’t the same network of fellow new mothers as there is first time. I’ve got cold feet – literally, someone pooed on my slippers. I don’t go out much yet – thank goodness for online shopping (I’ve even bought my Christmas cards online ). I miss the freedom being the parent of a lone toddler had afforded me. And some days (nights) at the moment if I hear ‘mummy I need you’ either shouted by the three year old or in wailing form from the newborn I feel as though I’m going to combust from the overwhelming feelings of concern, exhaustion, duty, love and frustration.

But then the answers from kind friends come flooding in:
yes, it definitely does get easier’
‘they 1984 you – eventually you come to believe there have always been two and it was never any other way!’
‘surviving is awesome at this stage’.

And I read this blog post from Tammymum who, without argument, had it far harder than me and it gives me hope. Then this article pops up in my Facebook newsfeed that reminds me that I am a new mum despite being a mum already, and it all makes me stop and think that maybe this is all fine and all normal and all new mums are feeling at least some degree of this however many children they have.

Because actually every time anyone asks me if things are easier second time round I say emphatically and truthfully ‘yes’. Which sort of makes me wonder how bloody hard I found things first time round, but it also makes me realise that we’re doing ok. It IS easier second time round, it’s less worrying, the sleep deprivation is easier to cope with and there’s the knowledge (and sadness) that it all passes so quickly.

I’m also doing far more in this ‘fourth trimester’ than I did in my firstborn’s first twelve weeks. I’m writing this for one thing. I’m also baking and crafting and nature trailing in the garden like a fiend with the big one. Yes it’s partly to alleviate the ‘too much CBeebies & not going out’ guilt, but hey at least we’re doing it. I shower everyday – get me. I’m definitely cooking more than I did with my first newborn – we are eating proper food, hurray! As a four we’ve had to attend a few big events and we’re trying to get in the odd lunch or walk or family trip. There have even been tiny little flashes of how fun life could be, of how we might start thriving one day as a family of four.

boy standing at window pointing to leaf curtain (leaves in clingfilm)
An actual crafting success.

So when I’m dizzy wth tiredness, at the end of my tether with the three year old, bemused by the eight week old and I want to clonk my husband for having the audacity to leave the house to go to an enjoyable and childfree job, I’m going to try to remember these small daily achievements, how maybe I’m a notch up from survival afterall.

But also that survival in these early months regardless of how many children is ok, better than ok actually…it’s new parenthood – often a better memory than experience – but a privilege nonetheless.

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10 thoughts on “Surviving. Not Thriving

  1. 😃 I promise it gets easier! Well at least I think. There’s always the odd bad night and crazy days where a lot of what you talk about continues to happen but I suppose we become less sensitive to it. It’s so hard and you sound like you are doing a fantastic job!! Cooking?? Crafting?? Nature trailing? Look at you! You sound like more of a Wonder Woman to me 😉 Keep at it and keep moaning that’s what keeps us sane. But I can totally relate and yes when people ask you if it gets easier although it’s hard you say yes before you can actually pin point the reasons why which does make us think how crazy we must’ve been to have another lol. But it’s all great you are doing fab and yes we all feel like you do and the ones who say they don’t are probably lying 😂 Well done you’ mummy you are marvellous http://www.mummyurmarvellous.com xx

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  2. Yup…all very familiar. My daughter is 7 months. My son is 2.7 years. It gets better, but not always. Some days are just terrible, but then it resets. I also had to be reminded that I was a new mom, and it’s true that sooner than I would have expected, I adjusted. I can’t think or remember life any other way. But, I can. As grueling, I’m happier. I have my life. I have me, which I didn’t have the first time around. And, now my daughter is all smiles, and my son is saying all sorts of things. His latest are expressions of polite civility: “thank you,” “excuse me,” “you’re welcome.” So life goes…

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  3. Hi Lucy, It does get easier. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes it is just about getting on with it and others it is great. Two children is more challenging. We have learnt so much with our first which makes it easier but we tend to expect more of ourselves and we have another child to see to. Hang in there, look after you when possible and be pleased with surviving because I too remember times when that was all I could do. From all accounts, not just my own, our standards need to drop with each subsequent child!! Mine did. Thinking of you. Kirsten

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  4. Aaah Lucy I think you have read my – it’s a lot less about survival post. It does come and when it gets there it’s amazing. This it is tough the demands to occupy another small child with something other than the telly can be a challenge. But you are doing it and you are doing amazingly. Please don’t feel lonely we’re always here. Keep going lovey xx

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  5. The bit about feeling more isolated second time round really struck a chord. I’ve definitely found it almost impossible to gain mum friends second time round (possibly because I was always rushing off to a school pickup)

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  6. I think you sound like you’re doing AMAZINGly well – I only have one child and employ CBeebies quite often and certainly haven’t done any crafts or nature trails 😂 It’s all about finding your feet, you are a new mum again like you say. Give it another few months and you will be fully in the swing of being a mum of 2! You’re fab my love xxx

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  7. Aww Lucy I know exactly how you feel. I have a 3 year old and a 7week old and some days just getting through the day feels impossible. I think you’re doing amazing by baking and crafting and stuff like that and surviving at this point takes more effort than people realise. I am exhausted constantly and also feeling a little lonely..hopefully in a couple months I’ll feel great and you will too 🙂 xx

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    1. Oh Wendy, seven weeks already! Congratulations firstly, but yes it is so hard. I dont think winter helps much. I’m sure we will both feel brighter in time. I think there’s a real gap for second time mums to bond and network like you do as a first time mum. It’s hard to find people at the same stage as you and I know just having a support network around me of similarly sleep deprived mothers helped me a lot! I’m mostlystruggling with my 3 year old, hope you are getting on ok with yours. I think the transition is hard for them, throw in every illness under the sun and some sad family news and my little boy doesnt know whether he’s coming or going. Here if you ever want to chat…we live stupidly close, and i have now mastered leaving the house (with the baby anyway)…if you want to meet up in the new year we could. Take care of yourself x

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