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.
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.
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.