I don’t want to brag but my heart is full at this moment and so I will: This year was good to me.
I became a Mom again. It was difficult, the change of doubling our little flock but hell, it was worth it.
The year was brimming: Joy, sadness, pain, elation, and struggle. Each feeling attached to the other, fluid.
Moments when I cried so hard from joy and then times when I cried and screamed and lost my shit. Usually on a three year old. <– Cringe.
As always my small people are the teachers, really, and I am the student. This time I was anticipating their teachings:
He taught me: Whatever You Do, I Can Do Better
My little guy is one of those spirited children you read about. He’s sensitive, stubborn, wildly imaginative, and needs 2-3 hours of active play per day.
When he was first born I learned that he’s a mirror for me. When he was a babe I learned that if I cried, he’d cry. If I was happy, he’d be happy. And that has been our life.
With the addition of a new baby in the house he took his “I’m a mirror, Mama” game next level and if I cried, he’d wail. If I’d scream, he’d howl. And if I lost my temper, well, he’d explode.
Being the wonderful mirror that he is he’s now adopting even more of my poor habits like, ahem, losing his temper or his latest: Using stupid as his most loved adjective.
Yes, I know to not sweat the small stuff ‘cuz he doesn’t know what stupid means and it doesn’t probably matter but it still makes me want to be better. And that’s hard.
I don’t care what you say, parenting is 80% operations.
WIth one little person to tow around I was unstoppable. And I was on time. We went everywhere and he slept anywhere.
The reality now is that I will absolutely without a doubt break into a light sweat rounding the children up to leave the house.
Imagine if you just need milk and you have to sweat just to get out the door for it?
You get into this twisted dynamic because like, it is so fucking hard to leave the house but on the other hand if you don’t then you will be unshowered and without adult conversation for an undeterminable amount of time and this is a questionable life choice.
To go places you need rigid time management skills and deep levels of personal drive – motivation, ‘cuz you need to go places.
And then the other 20%: Emotional Intelligence.
This is the gravy of good parenting because like, if you can’t handle your own shit neither will your kids and then you’re THAT family.
Being emotionally intelligent means you can recognize your own emotions on the fly (like, wait — I’m feeling really defensive right now) and two, controlling them (like, ok, maybe we should put a pin in this conversation until I am ready to not be such a defensive jerk.)
Controlling your own emotions is like a high stakes game of roulette. You’re trying so hard not to go off but then there’s a three year old at your table whose mission in life is for you to lose your shit and they know all your tells and they also know exactly how to get under your skin because they have worked their whole life for this moment to ruin you.
If you have a three year old you know I am not just being dramatic about this roulette analogy. If you don’t, well, YOU’LL SEE.
Your Marriage Needs to Survive. Again.
If the first kid rocked your marriage at least a little bit then two is going to be a reasonable sized tsunami.
There is very little alone time and thus very little together time because the children are around all the time because there are two of you and two of them and they need you all-the-fucking-time.
I try so hard not to Mother my husband, too, and I try to remember to be a friend and wife because he needs me, too.
It does boil down to accountability and partnering through the operations, logistics, and supply chain issues of running a household, but if you’re not having fun together then I don’t know what.
I thankfully married a very (very !!) funny man and so I have someone trying to make me laugh on the regular and I try and make him laugh, too, because isn’t this all hilarious in long shot (but of course a crisis up close?) Psst — Charlie Chaplin basically said that bit about long shot, not me.
So maybe focusing on being friends with your partner is a good way to survive the huge fucking wave of two children coming at you.
Self-care > everything
Mom’s need stimuli, too. We need to be alone and have hobbies and interests and take time to think about things other than Mom things.
But, this isn’t as easy with two. I have found ways to stimulate my brain like listening to music at home when the kids are playing instead of the theme song to Paw Patrol being the household soundtrack.
Or, cooking something divine ‘cuz we’re home all day and I may as well make something dope.
It’s just impossible to pour from an empty cup and so you need to find ways to fill yourself up: friendship, hobbies, interests, alone time, wine, food, more wine, cookies.
It’s been such a year and it ain’t over yet. The year and the learning.