Monday, 30 March 2015

Tuesday Ted Talk

I love this talk for several reasons, not least for the fact that it is delivered by a successful couple who manage to not only raise three boys, but also to work together.

My only bit of advice to new mums like myself: ask for help and/or company of you feel you need it. People are too scared they might intrude or bother you at the beginning, but an extra set of hands to change the baby, wash some dishes or cook a meal is invaluable. Plus having a cup of tea and a chat with another adult! 

Enjoy your Tuesday. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015


There's no doubt our family has grown more quickly than most. We have gone, in the space of six months, from 2 (6 if you count our canine family) to 4 (or 8 with our four legged members)!

I often remind myself and D, often out loud, that we are parents to two children. We have two kids! I'm a mum to two boys! We have two sons! Ok, you get the picture...

People around me, close friends and family, have remarked on the smooth transition we made from "couple" to "parents-of-two". I too, catch myself in my new role which seems to have come so naturally to me. If anything I feel that I have truly grown in myself, ready to take on this challenge. 

Don't get me wrong- it has not been easy! We have had our share of sleepless night (writes the woman who is blogging at 4:12 am with a baby nursing at her breast), first-time parent panics, "is my child normal" thoughts and parenting fails. But at the heart of it, it has been smooth and here are what I think might be some of the reasons why:

1. Teamwork 
D and I are a good team. Sometimes we are a tag team, sometimes we run alongside each other. But most of all we are always on the same side! Empathy can never be overestimated in a marriage! Being kind to each other is now easier: a cup of tea, leaving the last chocolate digestive or simply giving time to each other to have a shower is a gesture of love.

2. We were (as) prepared (as one can be) 
For both our boys and their two different journeys into our family, we tried our best to be prepared. I read, read, read about adoption, both the good, the bad and the ugly. I was prepared for the worst, but expected the best. Same with pregnancy and birth. I was not relaxed and it was a difficult pregnancy, what with a young toddler to look after too, but I had read a lot. I was expecting the sleepless nights, the colic, the tiredness, I was expecting the hormonal up and downs. They all came, in moderate amounts, because...   

3. ...we were lucky!
I do not underestimate the amount luck has played to us making a smooth transition. It really helped that both our children are healthy, that J is overall of a happy disposition, that O was able to nurse easily, that he only cries for 3 hours every day (the witching hour is between 5-8pm every evening). These things have made it easier and I know that they are pure luck! 

4. We really wanted this...
warts and all. I wanted to be a mum and D wanted to be a dad so much that we travelled thousands of miles to achieve it. Then a bonus baby came along. We came into parenting with our eyes and hearts wide open and we truly wanted it. Not an idealised parenthood, but the reality, dirty nappies and all. I read somewhere, but I am struggling to find it again, that although happiness levels tend to fall the first year of being a parent, new parents who had difficulties having kids tend to have higher than normal life-satisfaction levels. I look at both my sons and I really do think what miracles they are. 

5. We have asked for help
Things get tough and rough and dirty when you are a parent. There are days when you have had very little sleep, or when one or both of the kids are not well, or when you are simply having a bad day. i have not been a parent long enough to know a lot, but I do know this: you have to be able to ask for help! People love to help, and in your hour of need you make a cement relationships by asking them. One of my hardest days to date was the first day that D returned to work. It was a week after I had given birth, it was a cold January day, I was struggling with breastfeeding and J was, understandably,  having a tough time sharing my attention with his little brother. Needless to say we all spent the day mostly crying, from hunger, frustration, sadness, guilt... The next day I called a friend over and everything was magically better.

6. We have tried hard to remain "us"...
or even grow! A run, sometime to write, a quick bikeride on a Sunday morning, a drink with friends. We have tried to keep a few things that remind each of us who we are. I make sure that D has some time to ride his bike, some time to go for a short run. He makes sure I get a few minutes to write, to ride my bike on the trainer, to go our with a friend. We are individuals, we are a team. We are D and A, as well as husband and wife, and mum and dad. We owe it to ourselves and our kids to keep growing. We keep setting goals: D is keen to run another marathon, after getting a PB in November, I have just finished my first book and looking to publish soon. Watch this space!

There's little doubt in my mind that parenting these two boys will be my biggest challenge in life. But I'm glad the start has been smooth and, although tough on a day to day, this is certainly the best adventure we have ever been on! 


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