So how has this new little bundle of life altered our world: well, in pretty much the same way that any baby affects their nearest and dearest... Some sleepless nights, constant logistical nightmares, anxiety about what he is eating, the occasional worry about his health and of course the wild surges of joy we feel as we see him grow, change and hit those developmental milestones. His smile melts my heart. I am sure that all of this is sounding familiar.
So how do I manage looking after two children, with totally different needs, run a home (I have to admit I'm not the best at that part), take care of a small business and stay sane?
Well to use the analogy my husband used the other day – I am like a swan gliding serenely on the surface of the pond but my legs are paddling furiously under the water! I would say that maintaining your sanity is all about planning and attitude, not necessarily in that order and the leg paddling needs to be strong and focused – no mad flailing legs here!
First off, I must say I do yoga and much as I know this will sound crazy, it really does help.
The physical practice makes me feel good about myself, taking the time to do something for me, is essential for my well being, not to mention how it helps when I am sitting at her swimming lesson with a squirming baby waiting for my daughter to finish her lesson. Those hours I used to spend happily reading are now exhausting and are a true test of my stamina!!!
But it is the philosophy, the attitude and the mental side of my practice that really makes a difference.
My new mantra is " I am gentle, patient and kind" I tell myself this constantly because often I find myself feeling the exact opposite of those things. Still whenever I do mange to be that calm version of myself it always feels better than being "snappy mama". It does help that I have a daughter who seems to naturally embody all three of those qualities with a grace and effortlessness that astounds me – she is a real inspiration, we can learn so much from our children.
The other key members of my support system, play a huge role in helping me to stay calm. My husband and my parents are pivotal in the smooth running of our lives. And here I'd like to elaborate on one of the essential components of this ship sailing smoothly and that is ORGANISATION! With 3 people co-ordinating childcare and running various businesses and figuring out which day is non-uniform day at school, it is a massive achievement that my girl gets to school on time everyday, with the appropriate costume/uniform/non-uniform/p.e./swim kit in tow. Seriously, if you are all achieving just this, it's a cause for celebration as far as I'm concerned. Be proud of yourself mama and be happy when you get most of it right even if you don't get all of it right – I'm constantly striving for perfection and constantly reminding myself that it simply doesn't exist.
Still, I do write lists, I even write lists about the lists I have to write, or I'd just forget! To be fair sometimes the lists are just a way to get things out of my head and down safely on paper. It means I won't forget and then I can really focus on the moment I'm in – it's kind of like a mental de-frag to clear space in my brain, but beware – the lists only work if you actually look at them and then do some of the stuff on them too!
I guess the last thing that keeps me feeling good is Gratitude. I genuinely believe that people would be happier if they just felt a little more grateful. Of course nothing is ever perfect, but finding something to be grateful for in every situation can really help to bring things into perspective, I'm not talking about facetious gratitude, like "oh my baby has colic, but at least I'm not homeless" but really trying to see the bright side of things, (ok maybe there is no bright side to colic – bad example, but you know what I mean). I am the irritating one that seriously felt glad for my morning sickness because it meant I was producing the right hormones for my baby to settle in comfortably!
Yup, that's me, annoyingly cheerful, trying to overcome my controlling nature and accept my myriad of failings, whilst juggling and multi-tasking my way through the world!