Most civilians wouldn’t know it, but there’s actually a secret underbelly lurking in most parks and playgrounds.
It comprises of a cluster of reasonably young, fairly decent looking moms hiding behind dark glasses and baggy tops feeding newborns beneath trendy breastfeeding wraps and wearing the latest baby carriers while simultaneously trying to wrangle overactive toddlers.
Yes, we know who we are – we are the silent over achievers with wry smiles on our faces, sweat dripping off our bodies from lifting too many kids and sometimes, just sometimes, a tear in our eyes.
We own the term multi-tasking. In fact, we’ve taking the concept to a new level. We swap feeding tips and sleeping tips in the playground while making cynical jokes to each other about “not being awake when the second one was conceived” or “not consenting to conception the second time round” – all the while trying to rock and swaddle the newborn as the toddler attempts a death-defying leap from the highest level of the jungle gym and into our arms
We are trying to be perfect in every aspect of our lives – surviving on little or no sleep by night and slabs of chocolate for energy by day. We don’t employ nannies or cleaners or au pairs. We do it all ourselves for fear of letting go and the incompetency of any outsourced help ( the other day I caught a couple of au pairs in the park sitting on a bench not even watching the children they were supposed to be minding, but instead the one au pair was crying to her friend in Swedish about the problems she was having with her work visa, while her friend nodded with sympathy as she tapped out frantic messages on Facebook in German on her i-Phone!).
At least twice or three times a day ( I mean it, I’ve been keeping count) someone says to me “Jeez, you’ve got your hands full” or “Your back must be killlling you, darling!”. Like I have to be told that, like I didn’t know if for myself already!!) People make me laugh! They have NO IDEA what it means to get through each day for us.
Yes I KNOW I am crazy – my baby boys are exactly 18 months apart (when the anaesthetist came to administer my epidural for the second baby he said he remembered me and that I had been booked in exactly 18 months ago to the day – 24 February 2008 and 24 August 2009 – INSANE).
Simple things like:
- carting both babies in and out the house simultaneously ( I don’t ever leave one in the house alone while I put the other into the car) putting both babies into the car without central locking mind you, or
- changing between 8 and 15 nappies a day (things have calmed down quite considerably but a few months back I was averaging about 8 – 10 ‘number two’s when the second baby was a newborn),
- going grocery shopping with the toddler sitting in the trolley and the newborn in a pouch or babysling, bathing a toddler and a newborn in the same bath (my wrist is killing me 8 months down the track!!) and the list goes on and on!
I reckon I’ve done quite well over the past 2 years, working 3 days a week while I was pregnant with my second baby and now looking after both of them full-time on my own with no daycare or help. Whenever things get too much, like tonight, when the toddler is calling me to come lie with him at 11pm at night, I have to remind myself how truly blessed I am to have such amazing babies, who are such a source of joy and pleasure and make me laugh so much every day.
When we mothers of two bid each other farewell at the end of our time each day at the playground with a smile and sigh of exhaustion, most conversations end with – I hope these kids appreciate this one day!!