Still so hard…

I remember when the twins were babies and I found everything about our new life completely overwhelming and difficult. I would look to moms of older children with blind hope in my eyes and implore them; it gets easier, doesn’t it? Because they seemed so TOGETHER. So relaxed. So capable.

They never helped. They always laughed and either said “It never gets easier, it just changes.” Or the even more soul-destroying response: “Nope, it gets WORSE.” Though I’d take that ahead of the quizzical look from the mom who didn’t find it difficult to begin with. If you’re one of those parents then you are a far superior human being to me.

I never expected it to be easy. But I NEVER expected it to be this hard.

Have moms always found it this tough? Are we just a generation of whinging, entitled snowflakes?

It’s funny really. The girls have been so challenging the last few weeks that they’ve dampened my broodiness! Small mercies…

Oh well. We’ve all survived another day so I guess I’ve just about passed the Parent Test for today. Though certainly not with Distinction…

Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

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Cluck, cluck, cluck… There goes my logic

A brooding hen. Sitting atop her nest of eggs, doing exactly what nature intended, without question.

Cluck cluck cluck. I decided to have some baby chickens so now I’m having baby chickens, even though I already made loads of the cute little buggers. And guess what? I’ll make loads more in future simply because I feel like it. No worries about mortgage payments, chickcare arrangements and social life for me!

So it happened. Four years after pushing two tiny people out of my body, that same body has gone all hormonal and started screaming to be filled with tiny people again.

My poor husband is having heart palpitations. He is at great pains to point out all the reasons why we should quit while we’re ahead. And he is right. I mean, COMPLETELY right. Here are a myriad of reasons for me to keep the coil in (noting that he balks at the suggestion of a vasectomy):

  1. MONEY. We’re not poor, but almost all of our income goes out on bills. If it weren’t for my mother-in-law helping with childcare, to this day I haven’t been able to work out how we’d have afforded the twins. We have everything we need (how lucky are we? So many in this world don’t even have THAT), but we rarely get to do anything nice.
  2. CHILDCARE. This isn’t mutually exclusive with the money problem; MIL made it very clear from Day 1 that this was a one-time-only offer.
  3. SLEEP. We’ve raised our girls by routine. I became military with it the minute I found out I was having twins. Obviously at least one of them wakes up at least once every night, but in general we’ve got sleep cracked. Do I want to undo it all?
  4. GENERAL STRESS LEVELS. The whinging, whining, screaming and fighting sometimes really gets to me. I often feel overwhelmed. Why add to that?
  5. TRANSPORT. The twin buggy was cumbersome. The Mommy Mobile is clunky. Going from two to three kids means a new car. I like walking, but if I thought two meant needing eyes in the back of my backside, three will be NEXT LEVEL STRESSFUL.
  6. HOLIDAYS. We were hoping to try to afford something out of season next year. But what about the stress of travelling with young kids? Add another baby into the mix. Eesh.
  7. PREGNANCY. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I felt depressed and anxious throughout much of it, let alone physically uncomfortable. Add to that:
  8. CHILDBIRTH. I lost the plot first time round and don’t know how I I’d have managed without the eventual epidural.

There’s something else that over-arches ALL of the above very legitimate reasons why we should stop now:

IT COULD BE TWINS AGAIN.

Let that sink in for a moment.

All of those logistical issues, magnified. Bye bye sanity.

But.

I want a baby.

I want to feel those flutters and kicks inside me. I want to try childbirth again, with an epidural if need be but just to see if I can do it in a less clinical way, on all fours like I wanted to but the midwife wouldn’t let me. In a birthing pool like they wouldn’t let me with twins.

I want to cuddle a newborn again. I want to give breastfeeding a go. I want to try one of those wraparound slings that make you look like an Earth Mother. I want the luxury of a single buggy.

I want to experience that rush of new exhausting love all over again. I want the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and impart wisdom on myself. I want to see the first steps, hear those first words and not give a fuck about the things I was neurotic about first time round. I want to give zero fucks about what other people think.

And I want all this partly because the twins start school in September. SCHOOL! Aren’t they still my babies? What the hell happened? They need me less and less and I want them more and more. What will fill the void? But if I have another, what will fill the void when they grow up?

My head is all over the place. I feel restless and anticipatory.

I once said I never wanted kids. My ovaries laughed at me and spat out two eggs in one ovulation cycle just to spite me. It turned out to be the best mean trick ever played on me, and it changed me forever.

Now I’m the twin mama who wants more.

Effin’ ‘ell I’m BACK [thanks Mum Face]

No-one is ever going to read this… OK, not “no-one” (who said double-negatives are bad??) I’m BLATES going to read it before and after posting to see if it was witty enough (clue: it wasn’t) [PS pretty sure the young folks aren’t saying “blates” anymore].

But anyway, I’ve realised I have an urge to write that I simply can’t ignore anymore. It’s an urge which is somewhat at odds with my fundamental desire for privacy (particularly since I of course no longer have any privacy, thanks to the twins) and also doesn’t necessarily sit well with my basic hatred of social media. I’ve come to the realisation, however, that the catharsis of writing isn’t in the popularity of the finished article but in the act of writing itself. Because by doing this, I’m keeping my creative juices flowing without a) the need for any PVA glue, b) fake enthusiasm and c) the requirement to write factual reports as dictated in my paid employment. In essence, I can write here for the simple reason that I WANT to, and nothing else.

So I won’t be pushing this on Twitter, obligating family and friends to read [God I lie a lot; I’ll definitely obligate SOME including my poor husband] or worrying about improving my bloody stats. Hats off to those of you with the motivation (and time) to do that but it just isn’t me. Attempting to market this blog first time round made me so anxious and disconnected from real life that I have no desire to repeat that… But if I could reach any audience at all for this blog (without putting any effort in whatsoever), it would consist of the following:

  1. The desperate, knackered, shell-shocked new mum – particularly first time Multiple Mama – Googling “how the fuck to cope with twins” bleary-eyed at 3am. Not because I can answer that desperate question but because there is sometimes comfort to be found in knowing you’re not alone. [OK I can answer it: WINE or GIN.]
  2. My girls in 20 years time, when they fit the above description and consequently find a new-found respect for me for the simple fact that they’re still alive because I managed to keep them that way.
  3. My Creative Writing tutor at university, who genuinely believed I could go places and struggled to hide his disappointment when my first proper job after graduating was in audit services (about as uncreative as you can get).
  4. Grace Timothy, author of Mum Face (a book I will now be encouraging all my mum-friends to read) just so she could know how reading her words finally gave me the push I needed to try again with this blogging malarky. Grace knows what it’s like to lose your sense of self and I feel like I lost part of Me the minute I fell pregnant.

So it’s time to try to reconnect. I’ve spent nearly five years feeling like a Pod Person whose old body was taken over, implanted with aliens and left as an empty shell. I don’t mean that as depressingly as it sounds. I mean I was like a piece of clay, waiting to be moulded into my new shape. Or like The Doctor, regenerating from one flawed character to another, equally flawed but in different ways. I liked the old Me, and I got very used to her, but times change and now I’m trying to get used to the new Me. We haven’t quite worked her out yet; we don’t know if she’ll stay, and we’re not sure her outfits are quite as good as the previous incarnation. But we’re willing to give her a chance (plus the old one buggered off so we don’t really have a choice).

Existential crisis, anyone??

PS yes, it’s bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

Bye bye!

After realising how little I blog, how infrequently I check Twitter and how much I prefer reading and commenting on other people’s blogs to writing my own, I’ve decided that this blogging lark isn’t for me. Absolute kudos to those of you who do it religiously, but I just can’t be bothered! I don’t do anything to increase my number of readers, and despite having told a couple of friends and family about imatwinmama, I’m pretty sure none of them actually read my blogs. So what’s the point? To do well at this game, it’s a popularity contest and I’m not interested in that. I’m also not willing to link my identity to this and I think that’s what you need to do in order to really make something fly in this saturated market. There are so many people doing it better than me that I think it’s time to step aside and watch the masters at work!

So on the off-chance that ANYONE is reading this, goodbye!

10 parenting questions I ask myself (aka I have no idea what I’m doing)

I haven’t blogged in a while. What is there to say? Imatwinmama is supposed to be figuring things out with this multiple parenting lark but honestly, I have far more questions than answers. Apart from “Who am I? What day is it?” Here are some of the questions that have plagued me in recent months:

1. Is it ok for the twins to eat peanut butter on toast for most of their meals?

2. Is it bad that I deliberately exposed the twins to chickenpox (and it worked)?

3. Is it bad that I drink alcohol pretty much every night? Talking of which, where’s the wine??

4. Is it normal that I fantasize about my cats – once considered to be my fur babies – mysteriously disappearing and never returning, just so I can get some goddamn peace and quiet (or less hassle) and save money?

5. Why do parents of older children insist on telling me that it never gets easier, it just changes? Can’t they see how effing DEPRESSING that is??

6. When will this end??

7. Why can’t I have more patience? Why do I apply adult norms and values to a 2-year old and then lose my shit when they do what 2-year olds do??

8. When will I be able to take them places on my own, sans buggy, without feeling terrified that they’ll run away from me in opposite directions and something awful will happen to the one I can’t follow?

9. Why do I insist on a clean-as-you-go approach, knowing full well that this means I’m cleaning ALL DAY when it would make more sense to leave the mess and clean up after they’ve gone to bed? Am I a masochist??

10. How is it possible, despite questions 1-9 and many, MANY tear-filled days (them and me), for me to love two human beings SO intensely?

Because that’s the thing isn’t it? It’s so damn hard, and sometimes so unenjoyable, and yet so bloody amazing as well. Parenting means experiencing the spectrum of all emotions in one day, until you flake on the sofa at the end of it all, utterly exhausted, physically and mentally. It’s being climbed up, clambered on, pulled, pushed and dragged all day until you want no human contact (sorry hubby). It’s discovering bruises all over, all unintentional, all battle scars from the crazy day. It’s having hair pulled, clothes bitten, house trashed, nerves shredded…

But it’s also laughter, smiles, singing, dancing, playing, cuddles, endless rewatching of Frozen (getting weirdly emotional at Let it Go), baking, chatting, drawing…

I hate the hard days. But I love the good days. And even the hard days have good bits.

I am immensely lucky. It doesn’t always feel that way, and I’ve never shed so many frustrated tears, but those girls are the best decision I ever made. I just wish I knew what the heck I was doing!!

A-Z of the sucky bits of parenting

Sometimes, social media is awesome. When I’ve had a really bad day with the twins, reading something positive like this can help to remind me how lucky I am. How blessed I feel. And how ultimately, it’s all totally worth it.

But I can’t deny any longer just how HARD I find it being a parent. How there are days where I feel like I really can’t cope. Days where instead, I can quite easily make a list of the A-Z of the times when parenting [toddlers] SUCKS:

A
A is for Attention. “Mommy! Mommy! MommyMommymommymommymommy” It doesn’t matter how frazzled your brain feels; be ready to stand to attention for your Master!

B
B is for Boring. I do feel bad admitting this but I find a lot of parenting mindnumbingly bloody boring! Especially when I’m home with the kids all day. There’s only so many times I can feign enthusiasm for that clever thing they just did.

C
C is for Curiosity. Ok, now I sound really evil don’t I. The wonder of a child’s curiosity! It’s part of the charm! And it really is, but it’s also the reason why those of us in charge have to have eyes in the backs of our heads. Which can be terrifying and exhausting.

D
D is for Drained. I sometimes feel like my children are draining every last drop of everything I have to give. Somehow, I keep going, even when it feels like there’s just nothing left.

E
E is for Expense. Kids cost so much! Even though I have a philosophy of buying second-hand where possible, gratefully accepting hand-me-downs and not spoiling them, I am somehow still completely broke. The cost of nappies and wipes alone is scary!

F
F is for FFS! Because sometimes parenting is so FRUSTRATING! particularly so for a natural control freak like me.

G
G is for Grey Hairs. Parenting causes premature and rapid aging. I look permanently haggard these days.

H
H is for the agony of Hair Cuts. My girls think hair cuts are a form of torture. I also can’t remember the last time I had my own cut, because I apparently don’t matter anymore.

I
I is for Impatient. Little kids don’t do waiting. “Screw your [insert so-called important task here], I want juice NOW!”

J
J is for Jealousy. Speaking just of my experience having twins, they fight over things – including me – ALL the time. It gets exhausting constantly breaking up the fights! They don’t do sharing do they, these selfish little creatures!

K
K is for Knocking things over. Little’uns are so clumsy! Awww, endearing… Until they break something dear to you, or expensive to replace, and then they don’t seem so cute.

L
L is for Late for everything. It is completely impossible to be on time for ANYTHING! There’s always a last-minute emergency or meltdown to deal with. And so much stuff to pack for any trip outside the house. Blah.

M
M is for Mess. This is genuinely one of the most difficult things for me. Hubby and I both like a neat and tidy house. We don’t do clutter and we don’t do dirt. And then these two little whirlwinds came flying into our lives and now I spend most of my time cleaning because I’m just not cool enough relax about it.

N
N is for Noisy. Such little lungs, and yet so much volume! Whether it’s laughing, crying, shouting, screaming or whinging, they only shut up when they’re asleep or watching TV. So I stick them in front of the tele in order to get some peace, but end up feeling guilty then for not being an awesome parent.

O
O is for Overwhelming. Those first few days and nights after we brought them home were ridiculous. I was supposed to fend for these teeny tiny humans for the rest of my life, with no appropriate training or qualifications??! And still now, I have moments of WHAT THE HELL!

P
P is for Potty Training. I’m in denial about the whole thing and the girls are nearly two-and-a-half. I don’t think they’re ready, but well-meaning and annoying people keep pressuring me to do it. So I occasionally sit them on the potty and they get up immediately, refusing to stay. Then I realise how stupid the whole thing is when they don’t even know when they’re wet yet and I go back to my instincts: they’re not ready. I just hope it isn’t a battle!

Q
Q is for Quick. How do they move so fast? That heart-wrenching moment when they pull away from your hand and go hurtling towards the lake at the park. That gut-curdling time they let go of your grip and make a run for it at the supermarket, and for a minute you have no idea where they’ve gone. In Toddler Taming, I read that at this age, children have maximum mobility and minimum sense and that is SO accurate.

R
R is for Relentless, Repetitive and Restricting. The sheer monotony of the days, the way they love to hear you read the same book, or watch the same cartoon over and over and over and over… And the way you no longer have the same level of freedom you used to (though of course, you never appreciated the freedom when you had it. #1stworldproblem I know, but it still makes me feel down sometimes.

S
S is for Stubborn. A toddler’s favourite word is “NO!” and it never fails to amaze me how little control I can have over someone less than half my size.

T
T is for Tantrums. Need I say more???

U
U is for Utterly exhausting. For me, it’s the mental exhaustion I think, rather than physical. Running around after them can be tiring but I know there are many things more physically challenging in this world. Not sure much beats the tiredness associated with parenthood though lol.

V
V is for Vomit. When they’re babies, it’s not so bad as it’s just milk. Once they’re on the solids… My first experience of caring for the twins when they had a sickie bug scarred me for life. Ick.

W
W is for Washing. It’s ENDLESS. Call me Cinderella.

X
X is for Xtra comfy clothing and Xtreme slobathon. All dignity has gone out the window as I live in my onesie and rarely wear make up. It’s not empowering, it’s lazy lol. Ok gimme a break, X was a hard one!

Y
Y is for “Yak!” aka the response to many meals. All that steaming and blending food when weaning made no difference; they still prefer fish fingers and spaghetti hoops ahead of veg.

Z
Z is for Zzzzz or Remember Lie-ins?? Yep, me neither.

The funny thing though? Today was a pretty awful day (there were plenty of tears, most of them not from the kids) and I sat down to write this in a fit of despair.

So why is it I’ve come out of it feeling awesome?? Yes I’m sure it was cathartic but not only that…. I realised that through every letter of the alphabet, I was smiling. Smiling at the memories of the cheeky times. The times that have led to T2 regularly giggling “Cheeky madam!” as I chase her, The times T1 has frowned at me and said “Naughty girl!”

What would my life be without them? Not freedom, but nothing. Nothing at all.

Noise, noise and more noise

Gosh, how I miss those days of quiet
Where my nerves weren’t ripped to shreds
I love my girls with all my heart
But I love it when they’ve gone to bed!

Most of the time I’m barely aware
Of the soundtrack to each crazy day
But now and then I lose the plot
And want to scream, “Go away!”

Whinging, whining, screaming, shouting
Banging, tapping, NOISE
Let’s not even talk about
Those incessant musical toys!

But then there are the noises
That really make me smile;
Singing, laughing, playing, giggling
Make it all worthwhile

A delighted squeal, with arms up high,
“Mommeeeee!” they crowd in for a huddle
Silence is golden, but noise is better
When it means getting lovely cuddles!

One day they’ll be grown
And the noise will be gone
I’ll miss it I’m sure
So for now, carry on!