When our twins arrived I gave new meaning to the term ‘stay at home mum’.
Four children in five and a half years is by no means a record, but it is an achievement. The older they get and the easier they are to juggle, I realise just how crazy the early days were.
Due to a big size difference initially, our twins didn’t stay on the same routine for many months. One needed more sleep, one needed longer to feed etc so there could be days that I constantly had one of the twins in my arms. Or one was asleep so it was difficult to leave the house.
Upon reflection on this cold rainy day I could think of nothing better than cuddling a beautiful baby all day. But at the time it was monotonous. It was draining and I found it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Especially if you don’t have older children, as it is difficult to really comprehend what people mean when they constantly tell you that time goes by so fast.
I mean seriously some days a slow stroll by myself to the letterbox and a breath of fresh air was an outing.
Seriously. I knew it at the time and I laughed at myself in a way that only a severely sleep deprived, deliriously exhausted zombie could.
I tried to see the humour in it, without feeling sorry for myself. More often than not, someone else would join me on my 10 metre walk.
“Where are you going?”
“Can I come?”
“Are you leaving?”
They would ask curiously. Suspiciously.
When the twins were very young if I really had to go somewhere that involved washing my hair or leaving the house while the kids were still awake, I needed two ‘babysitters’. By this I mean, my Mum and/or Shane plus our au pair. Crazy I know.
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I am not joking. This sounds very high maintenance but I can assure you, I am no Beyonce. The twins were a handful; so getting them fed and settled to sleep required at least one person’s full attention. Throw in a three year old mucking about and a 5 year old who understood that I would not be there to tuck him in that night and the result was not a calm and dignified exit from our house.
Stay at home mum
Stay at home mum
The older boys would chant.
So, like so many Mums, I felt that it had to be really worth it to go out at night. The hours of pre planning, fast tracking dinner, hoping like anything that they would follow their best bedtime routine. No accidents. No fights. No extra logistical nightmares that would delay my stealth like exit from the house. Please, not tonight.
Pretending to look calm and nonchalant while secretly checking my watch. Putting my pyjamas back on after showering, so no child noticed something was up.
My outfit discreetly laid out by the back door like a superhero’s costume ready for a quick change back into my former life.
I try to take it as a compliment but unfortunately none of my kids have been the types to freely let me have much of a life of my own. They especially loathe when I go out at night. I have reluctantly driven out of our driveway so many times watching upset children pleading at the back door. My Mum saying ‘“just go, they will be fine” and texting me a little white lie five minutes later that they were all good. Hmmmm.
What always surprised me when I did leave the house in the twilight hours was HOW MANY PEOPLE were out and about.
Holy crap, look at these people!
Slowly walking down the street. Holding hands. Exercising on a balmy evening. Casually chatting on a street corner with all the time in the world. Fish and chips by the beach. Walking dogs. Drinking in beer gardens..…
I would stare out of the passenger seat window in amazement. WHO were these people?
My wonder was always tinged with jealousy. Tinged with nostalgia. “Most of them probably aren’t even appreciating what they are doing“, I would think bitterly to myself.
Like an escapee, I relished my outings. I was a ticking time bomb, knowing the freedom wouldn’t last.
Not quite Cinderella, but always waiting for the stroke of midnight. I had a new appreciation for talking to interesting adults. For drinking champagne. For feeling like ME again. A more appreciative me. Wow I could get used to this.
But what goes up must come down. As we know, it’s all fun and games until we have to wake up and be a parent at 6am.
It takes until you are half way across the bedroom before the pounding starts. Jumping that quickly out of bed to investigate a cry was not such a good idea this morning. Hangovers with young children are slow, torturous events that nothing can fix. You may as well be standing at the start of a marathon obstacle course when you start thinking of the day ahead. Fast forward this day, PLEASE.
You climb back into bed and close your eyes for just a minute. Maybe today will be the day they decide to sleep in. Maybe if I’m quiet enough, they won’t want my attention.
Maybe just maybe, after a strong coffee, this headache will fade away. Not likely.
Just as I thought that I was going to get away with slowly drifting back to sleep, one of the older boys climbs into bed and says…
“Why didn’t you stay at home Mum?”
Do you have to sneak out of the house when you go out? Please SHARE your experiences below.