Sometimes I wonder why I ever had children. And by sometimes I specifically mean after I’ve had a shit nights sleep, have worked for 11 hours (with other children), and haven’t eaten for over 3 hours (which is a problem right now seeing as I’m loading for a race). Anyway, I’m happy to admit that when I pictured children in my future life I just imagined they would slot right in, that life wouldn’t change all that much, that it would be easy. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Having children is like being made to run up a mountain at 9am after being out until 3am drinking tequila. Believe me, having done that, it’s the same. Here’s why;
It is ALWAYS noisy when they are around. Even when there is just one of them. Which is fine, because when it come to kids silence is your enemy. Silence means they’ve escaped, or are plotting world domination, or have flushed the fish down the toilet and are frantically trying to retrieve it. Having said that, I don’t like noise. Especially when its the type of noise that basically equates to just being asked the same question over and over again – ‘Can i sit in the front’, ‘Can I have a biscuit?’, ‘Can I sleep in your bed?’. Seriously – if they were just quiet for two seconds they’d hear the answer. ‘No. Because I said so.’ (Sometimes I wonder if I’m turning into my mum)
Lack of Sleep
I’m a morning person. Always have been. Don’t really like to nap either, yeah i’m one of those ‘once I’m up I’m up’ people. And because I’m riding solo I have to just grin and bare it even after a disturbed night. But it’s rubbish. Sleep is amazing, I love sleep. And children, well they rob sleep for years. Granted, most of the time all 3 of the dictators sleep through but there are times when one of them will wake up. Like the other night, #3 woke up coughing at 11pm. It took me a good 10 minutes to twig that it was her that was awake, and then another 10 minutes to work out what the hell to do with her given that it is so infrequent that she wakes during the night. In the end I gave her a cuddle and resorted to the god send that is the fisher price singing sea horse and went back to bed. Anyway, as soon as that baby is born you immediately give up all rights to a full nights sleep, for a little while at least. If you could bank sleep to use at a future date then I would be in definite favor of that, except you can’t. So suck it up sunshine we’re all in this together.
Oh they don’t warn you about the attitude do they? Well they do. But we don’t listen. It starts sooooooo early. Even the toddler has an attitude. Hell hath no fury like a toddler that isn’t allowed to carry a chicken around Asda. It’s like they deliberately have a ‘lets demonstrate mums lack of authority’ quota to fill each day. Normally I can control my reaction, ‘keep calm Sarah, don’t shout, she just wants a reaction’. But then that doesn’t work and going batshit is the only card left to play which works but is followed by ‘well you don’t need to shout at me’. And this is why someone made wine.
Lack of Freedom
This is a hard one to get used to. In fact I’m not sure you do get used to it. I’m 8 years in and it’s still annoying when I can’t do something right that second because one of the children is asleep or whatever. But it’s also something you can’t appreciate until its gone I reckon. Pre-children we would waste weekends slobbing about watching TV and eating rubbish and maybe going to the cinema or to see friends. These days I would give anything to just hop out of bed with no solid time scale and the ability to go wherever, whenever.
Having said all that. It’s certainly not the worst thing to ever happen to me. In fact, it is most definitely the best thing, or the three best things. And here’s why;
This is as much the love I have for them as the love they have for me. But they literally just make everything better. Even when there has been no sleep, and a long day at work, and the house is a mess and there’s no wine because I drank it all the night before. When I tuck them in at night and they hug me and tell me that they love me, well that just about makes me feel guilty for loosing my shit an hour previously. Because to them it doesn’t matter if I’m tired or hungry or rushed off my feet with everything else. I am Mum (and Dad is Dad for #1 and #2) and we are their ‘home’. #1 announced the other day that she wants to be just like me when she grows up (please god can we skip ages 14-20) and that was enough to make me remember that I am one of the very lucky ones. It is all worth it.
I have met my best friends though having children. And the children have met their best friends because of that. We are bonded by something stronger than the odd tequila shot. Only your mum friends know what its like to scrub baby shite out from under your finger nails, or what the weekly shop with children feels like hungover and on no sleep. If you don’t have yourself some good mum pals then go find some. You’ll need them as much as they will need you.
Watching Them Grow
This is my favorite thing for I am the first to admit that I don’t really like the ‘baby’ bit. It’s short and shit and they don’t do anything except eat and cry and not sleep. Once they get to the stroppy toddler bit though? Well now the fun begins! #1 is like a mini version of me. And that’s fine. It would also be fine if she wasn’t but for now she is all about the Golf and mini OCR’s and being the coolest tomboy around. She’s coming camping with me this weekend while I race and I a genuinely excited to have her involved with it all. Its ok to say not to wish time away but its also really exciting to think about what we will be able to do in a year, or 5 years etc, when the toddler is bigger and as independent as the other two are now. We make plans, of things we want to do and where we want to go and it is so exciting. We are everything to each other. We might not be the ‘standard’ 2 adults and 2 kids family that is typical but we are a family. I can’t wait to see how they grow and what they like and don’t like. And as long as they don’t throw any parties or kiss any boys then life will continue to be just fine…