A Bit of a Natter – Back to Work, Instagram and a Crapload of Emotions

I feel like there’s a lot of stuff swirling around in my head at the moment and I’m in the mood for writing some of it down… So here we are πŸ˜‚

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Has It Finally Got Easier?

Back when the twiglets were babies, whenever I met a mum with older twins, one of the main questions I’d end up asking was β€˜when will it get easier?’ Always spoken with a slight undertone of crazed desperation, meaning β€˜please tell me it gets f**king easier, please, PLEASE!” 🀣 The other day, as I got the twiglets out of the car and they walked, both sensibly holding my hands, into their playgroup, it suddenly struck me that maybe we were actually there – has it finally got easier?!
Now don’t get me wrong – it’s not easy, not by any means. We have plenty of sh*t days. H still has the most monumentally epic meltdowns, usually over very little, and has been super emotional recently. C is an absolute diva – knows what she wants, is extremely impatient to get it, will trample on anyone in her way (sometimes literally) and god help us all if she doesn’t get what she wants (which she frequently doesn’t because I’m a mean, horrible mummy 🀣) Strong-willed to the extreme. Both can be soooooo naughty – H in a bit of a silly-hyperactive-annoying-little-puppy kind of way, C often in a more calculating push-all-mummys-buttons-until-she-completely-loses-her-sh*t kind of way πŸ˜– And the times when both are at their naughtiest together… well let’s just say you’ll find me mainlining wine of an evening (erm, that’ll be every evening then πŸ™ˆπŸ€ͺ🀣) Since they turned three a couple of weeks ago, C has taken on her threenager role willingly, and seems to have a newly acquired attitude problem. She’s started answering back, defiantly refusing to do what she’s asked, telling me to go away etc. So that’s all thoroughly joyous. And don’t even get me started on potty-training H πŸ™ˆ
And yet… When I think back, to the hazy fog of the newborn days – the tears (them and me), the rollercoaster of emotions, the struggle to breastfeed and then to pump, the guilt, the endless pooey nappies, the extreme sleep deprivation, the crying, just the sheer overwhelmingness (?πŸ€”) of it all… And then a few weeks and months in – the reflux, the wind, the screaming when feeding, still the endless nappies – the relentless conveyor belt of feeding, burping, changing, rocking to sleep, sterilising bottles, washing clothes – over and over. As they got older, the challenges changed. Suddenly they were on the move so I needed eyes in the back of my head 🀣 I’ve said this before but for me, nothing was quite as tough as the newborn period, yet still I’ve always found parenting twins hard. That’s probably an obvious thing to say, and I’m also aware I’m probably sounding very negative here, and I don’t mean to – I love being a mum, even more so being a twin mum and I wouldn’t change a thing (although children who sleep might have been nice 😁) But it’s ok to admit it’s bloody hard, right? Even a few months ago, every outing was so stressful and anxiety-ridden because of H having no sense of danger and just wanting to bolt at every opportunity.
So being able to walk calmly across that car park holding the twiglets’ hands and chatting to them, without stressing, really did make me stop and think. No more lugging two heavy car seats at once, or wearing one baby in a carrier and carrying the other on my hip, or having to get the tank (aka buggy) out just for a 30-second walk from the car as it was the only way to do it safely, or trying to walk them both and instantly regretting it as they tried to do a runner in separate directions in a busy car park… In a way I miss all those times as it signifies how much they’ve now grown up and matured, but I can’t help but appreciate the ease of things like a simple car transfer now.
So yes I still have sh*t days where I feel lonely and down and like I can’t cope, yes I still need to have a rant sometimes when they’ve driven me to the edge, yes the tantrums are something else and the challenges have just changed as they’ve got older… But even still, I think I can finally say that overall, parenting twins has got that little bit easier at age 3 😊
(*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to fully revoke all of this if they’re being absolute turdmonkeys tomorrow πŸ˜‰)

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When You Can’t Protect Your Children From Other Influences

I remember vividly the first time the twiglets came home from nursery and started singing a song that I didn’t know. They were about 19/20 months and hadn’t been going there long – their speech was nothing like it is now, but they were clearly attempting to sing a song and I had no idea what it was. It was such a weird feeling hearing words come from their mouths that I knew for a fact had not been learned from us. That was the moment I realised that it was no longer just me and twin.papa.po (and our close family) who were responsible for shaping their little minds. Up to then, pretty much everything they’d experienced in their lives had been with one or both of us. We were trying to teach them right from wrong, trying to explain things in a way they could make sense of, trying to encourage them to be kind and caring towards others, above all trying to ensure they were happy. All obviously guided by our own views, opinions and experiences and how we wanted to parent our children. So that singing moment felt significant to me because it was when I had the realisation that other people, with different views, opinions and experiences to ours, were now really starting to influence our twiglets.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I actually think it’s good for children to have lots of different influences in their lives as it will hopefully help them to grow into well-rounded and tolerant individuals, understanding that everyone’s equal yet unique etc. The problem is, some of those influences are inevitably not going to be positive or desirable ones, and as much as we want to protect our kids from them, they need to experience these too. One example of a less than positive influence was something that happened when we were on holiday.
We were in a restaurant waiting for dinner and the twiglets were happily jumping on the bouncy castle there. We were sat very close by. A girl of about 4/5 and her older brother joined them and at first it looked very sweet – C and the girl seemed to be making friends and playing together. We soon realised however, that the girl was starting to be pretty bossy. We then heard her saying β€˜I’m prettier than you’ to C 😱 Luckily C couldn’t have given a flying f**k but it made me so sad that she even experienced someone saying that to her – what a horrid thing to randomly say to another child! I did not want her internalising that and starting to believe it or even thinking it was ok and saying it to another child herself. We weren’t sure of the best thing to do – the girl was being a bit rough too, considering C was much smaller than her, although she is quite tough so wasn’t remotely bothered by that either 🀣 The brother did actually pick the girl up on her behaviour at one point and told her she was being too mean. The parents were on the next table and didn’t say anything – maybe they didn’t hear, maybe they didn’t care – I don’t know. Anyway the girl then ordered her brother and C to stand still by the edge while she β€˜performed’ (H had come off for some juice because juice is life in his world πŸ˜‚) C obliged and waited patiently but then when it was her β€˜turn’ the girl gave her about 2 seconds to jump then told her to stop again. We were a bit p*ssed off by now so I was secretly quite proud of C, at two years old, for standing her ground against this much bigger girl and saying β€˜no it’s my turn now, you need to stand there,’ pointing at the side πŸ™ˆπŸ€£ The girl was not happy at being challenged 🀣 We stepped in at that point and told C it was time to come off for some juice and that her dinner would be ready soon. Being the non-confrontational buggers that we are, we didn’t say anything to the girl or her family, but we did explain quietly to C that the girl hadn’t been behaving very nicely or being very kind. And I guess that is what we as parents and carers can do. We may not be able to protect our kiddies from negative influences but what we can do is use those influences – to teach right and wrong and to reinforce our expectations of our children, in effect to show them what not to do I guess. (Back to the little holiday girl quickly… Interestingly, the next child to go on the bouncy castle was a bigger girl and the three of them were bouncing around quite boisterously together. Then the mum of the littler girl suddenly went storming up and shouted at the bigger girl for being too rough with her daughter! Twin.papa.po and I were looking incredulously at each other wanting to scream β€˜POT, KETTLE!!’ The poor girl was basically hounded off and ran back over to her family in tears! In a way I wish I’d had the guts to say something but I know there would have been absolutely no point – the woman clearly would not have heard a word against her daughter and would probably have caused a huge scene πŸ™ˆ (Just a note here that although I’m being a bit flippant, I do try very hard not to ever judge others’ parenting as I know how damaging, unhelpful and often misguided that can be – in this instance it was hard not to but I’m mindful that I don’t know that family’s story – maybe there were reasons behind it, who knows ✌ )
Anyway that incident made me feel some trepidation at the thought of the twigs going to school next year and the fact that we won’t always be around to protect them from things like other kids being mean or even learning of things going on in the news when they get to that level of understanding. How on earth do you explain to young children some of the things happening in the world? I have no answers for that; I guess as with everything, we’ll wing it when the time comes. It’s just a bit sad that it’s already the end of that time in their early lives where we can keep them almost completely safe and protected in our own little family bubble, and maintain that lovely pure innocence they have. I suppose we just have to hope we can instil enough of a strong moral compass in them that they have the confidence to ignore negative influences and take their own path. And hopefully, we’ll get it kind of half right and that’s what they’ll do 😊

Can Being Twins Ever Hold Your Twins Back?

Yesterday I had a parents’ evening-type meeting thingy (there’s probably a better term for it than that 🀣) with Cora’s keyworker at preschool (Henry’s is in a few days time). The only question I really had for her was about how C is getting on socially. I know her speech, understanding and physical development are really good for her age (which they confirmed) but I have been wondering how she is with other children. She’s a very chatty and sociable little girl, and when we go on playdates, she interacts and plays with other kids really nicely. But I just had a feeling that this may not quite be the case at preschool. Every time I collect the twiglets, I ask them who they’ve seen or played with today and they only ever say each other, the other two sets of twins (who we know outside of nursery too) or the grown-ups. They rarely ever mention any other children and a couple of times when I’ve been early to get them, it’s looked as though they were both just playing on their own. I realise this probably isn’t the case all the time and was just a quick snapshot, but just knowing that C can be a bit strong-willed (let’s be honest – a bossy little madam πŸ™ˆ) made me wonder. Looking at all her nursery sheets and forms, with all the bits and bobs highlighted (wow I am using such technical vocab today – you wouldn’t think I’m a bloody teacher πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ˜­), it was clear to see that she is advanced in all areas except for her social and emotional development, which was at the level she should be at for her age, so not a big issue or anything. The keyworker told me that C will happily interact with other children if they’re doing an activity which she wants to do at that particular moment, but her focus is more on what she’s doing – she wouldn’t seek out another child just to play with them, regardless of what they were doing, for example. It’s clear she doesn’t yet have any particular friends as such and one of her next steps/targets is to work on exactly that – making a special friend. Now I don’t really know if this is just a developmental thing and is all very normal for her age? Maybe in a few months or a year or so, she will have matured more and become a little less egocentric (learned that in Psychology innit – knew that degree would come in useful one day 🀣) Then maybe she will have more interest in and form closer attachments with other children. Who knows?
But the other thing the keyworker mentioned is that H and C spend the majority of their time together while they’re at preschool. This is an interesting development because they used to always go their separate ways and have barely anything to do with each other while they were there, or at any playgroup we went to for that matter. I’ve been really celebrating the fact that their relationship seems to have strengthened so much lately – they still beat the crap out of each other at times but they will also sit and play together so nicely and seem to have so much more interest in what the other is up to. It’s so amazing and lovely to see the bond they have with each other, and really sweet if this also continues when they’re at preschool. However, I wouldn’t want this to be at the detriment of them making other friends. It would appear that they are just sticking with the familiarity of each other, rather than making the effort with other children. This may well be a common occurrence for twins – I’m not sure. It makes complete sense to me. Also, the keyworker briefly said about H being quite quiet and C often bossing him about and answering questions on his behalf. These are things which happen at home too and we pull her up on it and get her to wait and let H answer for himself, but she is naturally the more dominant character really, plus H does learn a lot from her in terms of speech etc, so it’s difficult to find a balance.
It’s the first time it’s ever crossed my mind that being twins could possibly be holding my twins back, if that makes sense. That notion makes me really sad as I’ve always just thought that them being twins is the most amazing, special thing so it’s weird to think of it being a negative in any way.
Any other twin mamas ever experienced this? I’m just hopeful that it’s yet another phase. The keyworker said they’re giving the twigs opportunities to be separate at preschool and actively encouraging them to play with other children as well as each other. I’m confident that once they go to school, there will be plenty of opportunities, even if they were to be in the same class – which is unlikely anyway, to make friends and mix with lots of children. And as I said, hopefully as they continue to grow, they will just naturally become more interested in forming relationships with other children. I still want to celebrate the bond they have as it really is such a special thing – they are so lucky to have a readymade friend for life in each other.

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Discipline – WTAF?

Firstly, I’m not even sure whether I like the word β€˜discipline’ really- it just sounds a bit… harsh somehow? Maybe that’s where we’re going wrong πŸ™ˆπŸ€£ But I’m not too sure what else to call it… β€˜trying to teach them not to behave like feral, out-of-control little brats?’ πŸ™ˆ Because to be quite honest, this is what the twiglets behave like a large amount of the time, especially when we’re at home.
Bedtime is a particular favourite. I wrote a post before about the joys of bedtime, but just to recap, we follow a calm, soothing routine every night then as soon as we leave the room, the twigs jump out of bed and start creating merry hell. Preferred merry-hell-creating activities include jumping on their beds and shouting, emptying their toys all over the floor or over the safety gate into the hall, pulling books off the shelves, and a new one last night – pulling the stuffing out of the cushions in the corner so they are no longer usable 😬😩 If we stay in the room, it makes them worse πŸ™ˆ I read a post on a Facebook forum recently (those lovely, non-judgemental platforms of joy! πŸ™„) by a mum whose twins demonstrated quite similar behaviour to the twiglets at bedtime and a lot of the comments from other mums said things like β€˜show them who’s boss’, β€˜we don’t take any crap from ours’ and β€˜ours aren’t allowed out of bed’ etc. I was reading them thinking β€˜that’s great but hoooow do you enforce this?!’ Because now we come to the crux of it… The twiglets just don’t listen to us 😭
See, while the behaviour can be crap, it’s more the lack of listening which worries me. They seem to have absolutely no regard whatsoever for authority – they show no respect towards us as being in charge. It sounds ridiculous talking about two-year-olds having respect as I’m sure they’re probably too young to really learn that yet, but all the children I know seem to listen to their parents, maybe not all the time but at least some of it. Some kids even get upset at being told off as they know they’ve done something wrong or upset their parent or whatever – the twiglets roar with laughter in our faces if we tell them off. I don’t really believe in shouting at them as I don’t think it sets a good example; it’s not really modelling the behaviour you want them to show and I would never want them to actually be scared of us as such. Obviously I fail miserably and end up screaming like a fricking banshee multiple times a day when they drive me up the wall πŸ™ˆ but in theory, we try not to shout 🀣 But you know when they’ve done something really bad and you do raise your voice on those occasions to let them know you really mean business and they’ve been super naughty? And most kids would think β€˜ah crap, we’ve done it now’ and be at least a little bit contrite and sorry? Yeah the twiglets still don’t give a flying f**k – in fact if anything it’s just all the more amusing for them 😭
I do think the twin element has a part to play in the twigs’ behaviour. They certainly egg each other on and encourage each other by laughing hysterically and getting very over-excited together if one is doing something naughty. And on the occasions when we have split them and spent some 1:1 time with each, their behaviour has been drastically different – both much calmer and easier to deal with. However, I can’t blame that entirely because all the other twins I know behave wayyy better than H and C and do actually listen to their parents. When we went round to a friend’s house for a twinnie playdate one time, I noticed the mum didn’t let her twins climb up and stand on the sofa (and definitely not hurl themselves off it like my two do at home πŸ™ˆ) But they absolutely listened to and followed her instructions – I was in awe 😭 H and C just seem completely batsh*t crazy compared to other children – so much more hyperactive and naughty.
I just don’t know where we’ve gone wrong, or if we even have? Maybe they will just grow out of it all and go on to be model citizens and pillars of society (rather than the juvenile delinquents I keep envisaging 😭) We can but hope. But I just can’t help worrying that we’re just not doing the whole β€˜discipline’ thing right πŸ€” I know people would say there’s no right or wrong and what works for one family won’t work for others – similarly, children are all individuals so different things will work. But what if we are just being too soft with them and letting them get away with too much? Maybe we always have and that’s why they don’t listen to us? Maybe they have too much screen time and that’s why they’re little turdmonkeys? Maybe I’m being my usual overthinking self and should just chill the f out and not worry about it (well I’m sure that part is probably true anyway πŸ™ˆπŸ€£) We tried using β€˜time out’ a while ago but it didn’t seem effective at all for us. If one of them is really angry and lashing out, I will give them a sort of time out in their room, but it is more just so they can calm down safely without hurting the other one – it’s not a punishment as such. The only thing which sometimes works is if I can think of an immediate consequence for their behaviour. Sometimes it’s easy to think of one – take away the toy they’re messing about with etc, but depending on the behaviour, it’s sometimes really hard to think of something that’s relevant and will actually bother them enough to stop the naughtiness. They don’t seem to respond very well yet to a consequence that’s in the future – β€˜Santa/the Easter bunny won’t come,’ β€˜you won’t be able to do this/see X’ etc. I try to just distract them sometimes but that can also be difficult when you’re outnumbered and they’re basically ganging up on you πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ
Anyway, I’m completely rambling, but if anyone else has children who don’t/didn’t listen to you, do send any advice my way or let me know what worked for you or whether it just got easier as they got older. For now, I’m just clinging for dear life to the fact that the twigs behave like angels at preschool and actually seem to do what they’re told when it’s not us telling them. At least I know they do have it in them to behave like nice human beings – if that changes, then we really are f**ked πŸ™ˆ

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2018 – Getting some ‘me’ back

I’ve never been particularly hot on New Years Resolutions. Mainly because I find that the more set on achieving something I am, the more likely I am to rebel against myself so that I don’t achieve it – queen of self-sabotage, me πŸ™ˆ For example, I’m not the type of person who can really go β€˜cold turkey β€˜ with things – it just doesn’t generally work for me. So cutting things out completely will just make me really desperately want those things and I won’t be able to stick to it – it’s usually much better for me to make more gradual changes.
So I don’t really tend to make New Years Resolutions as such. Sometimes I don’t particularly do anything differently at all, sometimes I think of one or two little changes I’d like to try to make but I don’t put too much pressure on myself as I’ll be less likely to do them that way (I’m aware that doesn’t really make much sense – I think I may be a little strange). But anyway, for me, I feel that 2018 needs to be the year for me to get some more of myself back. As I haven’t yet returned to work since having the twiglets, I often feel like I’m in an extended version of the maternity leave bubble. It all feels quite temporary if that makes sense? When you’re properly on your official maternity leave, you sort of put things off a bit don’t you? Well I know I did anyway. Like housework for example – when I was in that year of β€˜official’ leave, it didn’t really bother me if the house was a bit of a sh*t-tip or if I had lots of life admin-type crap that I needed to sort out… It felt like I was just in a temporary state of disorder and disorganisation and that once I regained some normality by returning to work, I would get back on top of things a bit better (whether that would actually have been the case or not who knows!) But anyway we soon realised that with double childcare to fork out for and me on a teaching salary, it wasn’t actually going to be financially viable for me to return to work for a while anyway. So we’ve basically continued on in that β€˜bubble’ which almost doesn’t really feel like real life to me because I know it won’t last that much longer. That’s not meant to sound negative by the way – I have loved being at home with my twiglets (despite the amount I whinge about how bloody difficult it can be!) and am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to spend so much time with them, witness all their milestones and have lots of adventures with them.
But 2018 is going to be the year it all changes. The plan has always been for me to return to work when the twiglets turn 3 and get their funded nursery hours. That happens this September πŸ™Š (they turn 3 in July) The fact is, they already attend nursery two days a week anyway, but this is only possible because my mum pays for it for us. We’re really starting to feel the pinch (to say the least) of living on one salary so that’s the main reason I need to go back to work. But there are other reasons. I don’t want to be out of the teaching profession for too long. It’s been three years and already I feel so far removed from the world of education. I don’t want to make it harder for myself to get a job by leaving it too long. Also, while I’ve been a stay-at-home mummy, pretty much everything has been about the twiglets. That’s been absolutely fine so far and how I’ve wanted it to be – they’ve been my full-time job 😁 My priorities completely changed when I had them; their needs come above all else and they always will. I guess that’s how it should be. But I think at some point you have to start doing some things for yourself too. I could totally imagine myself overly worrying about the twigs and overthinking things if I had too much time on my hands. I know all mums worry like mad anyway but that’s why I think it’s good to have other things in your life to focus your attention on, not necessarily work – it could be hobbies or travelling or anything really. I want to ensure that I’m not just living for my children, but for myself as well, especially once they’re at nursery more and then school. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish? I need to feel stimulated and challenged in doing things I enjoy. For this reason, I also want to try to pick some of my hobbies back up. I belong to a local Ladies’ Choir and pre-twiglets I used to attend weekly rehearsals and take part in concerts. Since they were born, I’ve tried three times to get back into going regularly and each time managed a few weeks before life took over or I couldn’t be bothered or lost motivation. I really enjoy singing, not that I’m any good, but it makes me happy so this year I’m going to make a concerted effort to get back into it properly.
I would also like to work on my appearance a little. Again, I’m not going to be going on any crazy strict diets or exercise regimes or anything, as I absolutely wouldn’t stick to them. But, I’ve noticed that since having babies, my wardrobe has become more and more plain and dull. I loooove bright colours and bold prints and I think I’ve lost the confidence to wear them a bit so I’d really like to try to get that back. I’ve also put on a fair amount of weight since having the twiglets and I can’t really continue to use the excuse of β€˜I had twins.’ For one thing, they’re 2Β½ now, and for another, a lot of the weight has gone on after they were born – looking back on photos, it’s clear I was much slimmer straight after having them than I am now! Extended maternity leave, prolonged sleep deprivation and copious amounts of cake are probably to blame πŸ™ˆ For the record, I don’t regret any of the cake πŸ˜‚ I also don’t think I’m horrendously overweight or anything- just a bit bigger than I’m really comfortable with. The main thing really is just that I’d like to be a little healthier and look after myself better. One of my main aims is to get more organised in terms of meal planning and doing a proper weekly food shop. At the moment we sometimes do a β€˜big shop’ but then end up buying bits and bobs here and there, which is uneconomical and also leads to us wasting food. I’m hoping by organising in advance what we’re going to eat for the week we can save money and also eat more healthily. In terms of the twiglets, although we do cook for them a lot and hubby in particular does at the weekends, I’ve still definitely been using microwave toddler meals like Little Dish, which are fab by the way, more than I would really like. I had always intended to cook them fresh food as much as possible, but I find it so hard to keep up with! I’m hoping with a bit of extra organisation, doing more batch cooking and using my new slow cooker, I’ll be able to ensure all of us eat more fresh home-cooked food. The last thing in terms of being a bit healthier is to cut down on alcohol. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I love a good vino πŸ™ˆ Toddlers are stressful and I find a glass or two of wine takes the edge off the a**ehole behaviour and helps me unwind in the evening. Recently however, it’s been nearly every evening and even I know that’s probably a bit too much. So we’re going to try to only drink at the weekends – again, not going to ban myself completely as I know I’ll only want it all the more πŸ™ˆ
Lastly, as well as looking after myself a bit better physically, I think I also need to focus on my mental well-being more. It’s not very often that I take time for myself. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about this and I wholeheartedly agree that self-care shouldn’t just be a luxury, but a necessity. I know for me, just something as simple as having a bath or taking ten minutes to read a book and drink a hot cup of coffee, can make all the difference to my mental state. I feel like I’m on less of a short fuse and have more patience with the twiglets – basically, a better mummy to them. So I’m going to really try to go out with friends a bit more in the evenings, have more date nights with Rob and do a few more little things for myself – and the most important part, I will try my hardest not to feel guilty for it and remember that in the long run, it’s actually better for all of us 😊
So there you go, a boring post about my aims for 2018 πŸ˜‚ I would also like to try to blog more regularly while I can, as I think from September, if I manage to find a job, it will be even harder to fit in. Writing it all down, it sounds like a lot but hopefully it’s achievable. And if not, oh well 😁 The main thing is to be grateful for my gorgeous twiglets, my amazing husband and our friends and family 😊 What are you hoping to achieve this year?

 

Is it bad to need a break from your children sometimes?

So the other day I was reading a post on one of those Facebook parenting forums (jeez people don’t bite their tongues on those things do they?!) This particular one was written by a nursery worker who was bemoaning those β€˜awful’ mums who choose to leave their children in a hellhole of snotty toddlers (aka nursery) even if they’re not working. It described how terrible it was that these mums would drop their poor kids off screaming and crying just so they could go off to Zumba or drink coffee or do the housework. I suddenly realised that I am one of those horrendous mothers they were talking about. I send my little twiglets off to nursery for two days a week and no I’m not working, yes I do go to a Zumba class and do the housework while they’re there and yes Cora does often cry when I drop her off in the mornings πŸ’” There were countless comments on the post from mothers who agreed, stating how much they love their children, or how wanted and longed for they were, maybe after a difficult journey to parenthood, infertility etc – so why on earth would they choose to be apart from them if they didn’t need to be? On the face of it, this made sense and I wondered if I must indeed be an awful mother for not choosing to spend every single possible minute with my, also much loved and long-awaited, babies?
The thing is, for me, when we made the decision back in January to put the twiglets in nursery for a couple of mornings a week, it was a turning point – mainly in terms of my mental state (without wanting to sound too dramatic!) As a side note, I feel I should just point out that I realise nursery isn’t a possibility for a lot of people so we are lucky to have the option to do it – this is actually only because my mum offered to cover the cost – we couldn’t really have afforded double childcare ourselves what with only one salary coming in. Anyway I digress… So we had a few reasons for sending the twigs to nursery. We felt that it would be really good for their development in a number of ways – social, language etc. Also, at that time they were going through a phase of major separation anxiety to the point that Cora would scream until she was sick if we tried to leave her with someone else. We don’t have a huge amount of family around so we felt it would be good for the twigs to become more familiar with being left with other people. Also, I could recognise my own shortcomings in terms of doing messy play/craft activities with them – or not as the case may be πŸ™ˆ Personally, I’m not hugely artistic or practical so the idea of painting with two toddlers was a bit of a source of stress for me – especially when one has the attention span of a gnat and would only be interested for 30 seconds then run around spreading paint everywhere, leaving you with 20 minutes worth of clearing up – like there wasn’t enough to do anyway 😭 At least sending them to nursery I know that they’ll do lots of messy sensory activities there which eases my guilt slightly. But probably the primary reason for them starting nursery was to give me a break. I know that sounds bad and don’t get me wrong, I love being at home with my bubbas and I do feel super lucky and privileged to be able to spend their early years with them – I know there are lots of mummies who would kill to give up their job and spend their time with their babies. If we hadn’t have had twins, making it not financially viable for me to go back to work, I’m quite sure I would have done without question. However, being at home with children all day every day is hard bloody work – harder than I could ever have imagined. I don’t think anything can quite prepare you for the sheer relentlessness of it – the fact that you’re always on duty and always in demand is both amazing and yet totally draining. Sometimes you just need some time to yourself – to be you, rather than β€˜Mummy’ or β€˜Daddy.’ I was certainly really feeling that it was too much and something had to give. It was also really starting to stress me out that I couldn’t keep on top of the housework – that sounds silly and unimportant I know. While I was on official maternity leave, I wasn’t too bothered about the state of the house as it all felt very temporary somehow – but once that time was over and I’d left my teaching job, it started to feel like the house was a complete shit-tip on a more long term basis. To be fair, it probably wasn’t that bad but you know when it’s just not really to your standards and it starts to get you down? It only seems to have got harder to keep up as they’ve got older, as I’ll be tidying something up somewhere but simultaneously the twiglets will be causing absolute carnage somewhere else! Not to mention that I’d feel guilty for just leaving them to play by themselves a lot so that I could get housework done.
So yes, I send my children to nursery when I don’t really β€˜have’ to. It doesn’t mean I love or appreciate them any less – it means I find it hard sometimes and recognise that I need some time away – to do the housework, to run the errands that are a nightmare to do with twins in tow, and even to do something for myself, like an exercise class or a bath. I feel it helps me to be the best parent I can be to my twiglets – (slightly) more patient, more sane, happier and definitely more appreciative of the time I spend with them. Some people don’t feel they need that time apart and that’s great. We’re all different and we shouldn’t be judging others on their choices – the world would be very boring if we all raised our children in exactly the same way. I’ve spoken to other mums who feel judged for not sending their children to nursery so it seems you can’t really win whatever you do! Ultimately, the vast majority of us love our children to bits and are just trying to do what’s best for them in whatever way we can, and if anyone feels the need to voice their opinion on a Facebook group or otherwise, then f**k β€˜em – ironically, they’re probably the ones with too much time on their hands! πŸ™Š

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