couples

Three little words for every stressed-out mum.

From one mum to another, memorise these three little word. Maybe, you know, get them tattooed on your arm…

It gets easier.

That is what I want you to know.

I only just had this realisation. I was at my son’s swimming lesson. I was sitting alone watching him and I was suddenly aware that it was just me.

(JUST ME!)

No one hanging on to my pants, no little legs to chase down the side of the pool.

My daughter – the one who previously was screaming for a feed, writing in pain or projectile-vomiting over my clothes – was at preschool.

My son – who, before, was the one on the side having an I-want-it-now tantrum over a drink, a toy, an itchy label, or just a cloud formation he didn’t like – was at school.

"It gets better. It gets easier. I promise."

I used to be on the verge of tears breastfeeding a newborn, holding a two-year-old by the arm, praying for the 30-minutes to finish and yet dreading the time it would take to get another child dressed, to negotiate the lolly shop, to pack up the pram and to cross a busy road.

I used to be you.

And yet here I am only a few years later and those days seem so very long ago.

So far in the past that I’ve mainly forgotten.

It gets easier.

I remember trying to get three kids to bed all on my own; a hungry newborn, a feverish toddler, a confused preschool boy. I remember wondering how on earth it could be done. I remember the minutes stretching out before me, the hours, the weeks and not knowing if I would survive it. I remember Googling schedules and parenting methods and hanging on to the words of unknown women in mothers' forums like a gospel .

And yet I don’t really remember it that much at all, because it was such a small fragment of time in a stretch so very long.

I remember the thought of getting out of the house with one child, then two, then three was paralysing. Each time was just as difficult, each time just as overwhelming.

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The monumental task to be completed, the paraphernalia, the timing, the schedules to be followed.

"The early years were unimaginably difficult, and yet now I have to strain to remember just how hard it was."

It was almost too much. How on earth did other women do it? How to negotiate the shops with a newborn? Damn, how to just unfold this bloody pram.

It was unimaginably difficult.

And yet now I have to strain to remember just how hard it was.

Time has blurred the anxiety, the anguish, the edges from the memories and I remember them with a smile.

It was all such a tiny portion of my children’s childhood and yet so many thoughts went into each element of it.

It seemed like it would never end. But it does get better. It gets easier. I promise.

"It seemed like it would never end."

Kids start to sleep, and start to walk, and start to do things for themselves. They will finally do what you tell them (mostly) and they will finally begin to listen, and talk back and begin to understand. They will one day dress themselves and pick up their own bags (after much nagging) and stop screaming if the cup is the wrong colour or the biscuit is broken.

The tantrums become something you see other mothers going through and you smile those understanding smiles you give each other that say "I’ve been there too."

My kids are now three, five and seven and what I fear though is that that these upcoming few years might just be the peak. After that, when they become teenagers, I worry it might stop being better, it might not be so easy again.

But until then.

To the mother about to give birth to baby number two who can’t imagine how to cope, or the mother stuck at the corner with a pram and a toddler refusing to walk, I want you to know – it does get easier. I promise.

What advice do you have for new mums?

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