And as one does when you have had an hour extra sleep and a little too much time on your hands and things are looking fleetingly particularly good; my mind started to wander…and I was thinking how amazing I’d be from the get go if I were to have kids now. I mean, I know exactly what to expect, I feel completely Zen in my life right now, the teenage years aren’t even such a nightmare like everyone said it would be – I could totally do this whole thing much more efficiently if I had to do it all over again! I had found the winning formula and I was feeling smug enough about it to plan an Agony Aunt column for parenting and an imaginary fourth child!! Colic, reflux, sleep training, tantrums and the teen years – pffft – I had it all covered…in my head of course.
And just as quickly as that thought popped up into my head, the bathroom door boomed with the impact of little fists almost simultaneously with me wanting to b!$ch slap myself back into reality. And there it was…the shrill voices of arguing kids that were missing for a few brief days? Hours? Hours that felt like days? Who really knows…but I felt that all familiar feeling of the life draining out of me and my reflection in the mirror verified that the scowl had returned to my face. Aaaah…the familiarities of parenting.
And when the noise eventually died down, I laughed at myself and wondered what the heck I was even thinking! Before having actual kids I might have had very similar ideas on what a fantastic parent I would be; but once you’re sleep deprived and smelling of vomit and your boobs are the size of your sister’s…and a year down the line you’re saddled with two wailing babies…and next thing you know you’re battling to keep up with a toddler whose energy is triple that of your own, and then the fights – oh the fights – all pleasantries fly out the window and you just try to survive any way you can! And even though I had temporary amnesia in those few moments of silence while setting up fort in the bathroom, I know I wouldn’t have survived even half as gracefully if it wasn’t for the support of my village…my family.
I’d forgotten how many phone calls I made to my family in tears and frustration because I wasn’t quite coping with the day. How many house calls they made to rescue me from the kid who was testing my patience. How many sleepovers they had just so that I could regain my sanity. I’d forgotten about the morning school drop offs when I was in the thick of things with my third baby and the after school pick ups if I was ever delayed somewhere or running late. I forgot how we took turns pushing the pram so that the other can shop…I forgot, briefly, that I didn’t raise them entirely alone. That I had the support of my tribe!
And maybe, in those moments of quiet, I also thought I had escaped passed a lot of those initial struggles, that we’ve moved on to an easier phase…until the very next day I was buckling up for the early morning commute to school and then later on I was strapping and offloading a car seat from my car and carried a sleeping toddler up a flight of stairs…and then it dawned on me that it will never be entirely over because I am part of someone else’s village too <3