I’ll confess to being a bit grumpy over the past few weeks. Ok, you’ve got me. That’s not the full truth. I’ve been tearful, snappy and at times at the end of my tether. Blame it on the hormones, blame it on Henry’s growth spurts, blame it on Molly’s at times challenging and naughty behaviour – whatever the reason – I’ve been feeling out of sorts. Constant feeding combined with sleepless nights have been draining my energy, making me wonder if I will ever find a rhythm that I can comfortably handle again.
Fast-forward a few days and as I write this week’s blog I am feeling a heck of a lot better. We’re currently on a 10-day holiday up Northern Ireland’s North Coast – just the husband, Molly, baby Henry and I. A chance to spend some alone together to get a taste of what it is like to really be a family of four. Up until now, we’ve been moving between my mum and dad’s and the husband’s parents, which has provided us with some much needed support (read: cooking, cleaning, washing, handling unruly toddlers, bouncing unsettled babies, pouring G and Ts). While the support has been invaluable, it hasn’t always been easy living in each other’s pockets. As a person who gets along best on some sort of a routine, I’ve sometimes found it hard not living in our own space, without my familiar daily ‘to-dos’ and the ability to answer only for ourselves.
I have also found myself taking my moods out – as we always do – on the very people that are closest to me. I’ve cast critical eyes over granny’s methods of burping, questioned grandpa’s toddler handling approach, argued with the husband over simple things – from how he should lay out a baby blanket and his desire to head out (escape) for a quick dinner with the boys to the fact that he couldn’t possibly be more tired than me! I’ve snapped at well meaning advice and burst into tears at times at the slightest annoyance.
Yes, it has been a turbulent few weeks, with the whole extended family navigating this journey of parenting together. I know there have been times when we’ve all felt exhausted, times when we’ve craved our own space, times when we all just wanted to quietly put our feet up away from it all. But one thing is for sure, I couldn’t have reached where I am now without the support of my husband and family. They have been hugely patient, constantly reminding me that I’m doing an amazing job and that it is so natural to feel overwhelmed and exhausted – Henry is only just 8 weeks old after all.
In truth, I’ve been wondering how they’ve all put up with me! Then into my inbox popped this wonderful email from my mother in law. It really made me smile just when I thought my family had had nearly enough of the upheaval of having us all in their space! She wanted me to share it with you, so I’ll leave you with her words…
As a mother-in-law of a dedicated blogger, my thoughts are very much with our children as they embark on rearing another little child and survive the struggles of helping baby number one get used to being off centre-stage at times.
We seem to have forgotten how we survived the turbulent journey of parenthood, and can only mumble helplessly as they seek advice on handling the latest tantrum, whether or not to use a dummy, crying babies, feeding intervals etc.
I see my daughter in law as a most tolerant individual, who puts up with our three dogs lolling on chairs that would otherwise be useful to sit down on. She has watched us pick hairs out from baby’s fingers and helped us encourage 3 year old Molly to bond with and enjoy our scatty Setter, Dot, who follows her endlessly.
Above all, I admire my daughter in law’s patience and endless care. I can only stand by and enjoy them all. I love to see them arriving and most of us grannies boast endlessly about the children to our friends. If we seem frazzled at times, we are OLD. That’s all. Energy levels go to zero at times. But we regroup in no time and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Love Granny Margaret x
Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.
(Michael J Fox)