The other day an elegant lady in her seventies watched me march my two boys and push the third across a car park to get a ticket. I was in full military mum mode. “Hold hands, don’t run off and listen to everything I say or else you will get nothing.” As we were queueing for our tickets she asked me if the baby in the pram was a boy too and then she said “Oh, you poor darling.” There is nothing about my situation that evokes that level of pity. Sure, there are a fair few days when I would happily trade places with someone to have a few hours peace and quiet, perhaps with a book or even just to listen to the radio without constant noise in the background.
I often dream of time to myself, without having to think about logistics, mealtimes, nappy changes and the next activity to amuse the kids but I would not ever trade my situation full time.
I am incredibly lucky, I am a mother to three healthy children. I have never hidden the fact that I would have loved a girl (like really loved one) but I still wouldn’t swop any one of my three boys.
Every single day I am approached by people in shops, cafes, parks, literally anywhere I go. These are the things that they say :
- “I don’t know how you do it.” – This is at least once a day.
- “You’ve got your hands full.” – As above, a daily comment.
- “Are you going to keep trying for a girl.” – This usually follows comments one or two.
They have just told me I essentially can’t cope, therefore why would another child make it easier; girl or boy?
Comments closer to home have been as harsh as “I’ve been warned about your boys”, “they are so loud” and “they’re really naughty.” I can’t tell you how much the constant chatter about my children bothers me. I have been people visibly flinch at one boy who is rather loud (due to the fact he has terrible glue ear), even people who are aware of this still comment on how loud he is.
I have friends who have lost babies at various stages of pregnancies, others who have gone through the exhaustion of rounds of IVF (with and without success) and some who just won’t be having babies of their own for various reasons. Pity and sympathy is not something that I require. I chose to have my children, I was lucky enough to be able to have them. In my twenties doctors said that it could be doubtful, they were wrong.
The boys are loud, they wake up on one speed – go. We rarely stop until the meltdowns arrive during the later parts of the day when it’s all too much for everyone concerned. I start clock watching from about 5pm, tempers are often frayed and I get ready to clock off my mother shift, so I can begin my work which is does in the evenings. They eventually go to bed, I pour a glass of wine and feel shattered. I feel shattered from having done a good job. I work hard every day to ensure that the boys are fed, watered, and kept busy, it sounds easy but it isn’t.
I haven’t always done a good job. During pregnancies and the newborn phases of exhaustion there have been hours of TV with the kids snuggled on the sofa. There have been times where I thought I couldn’t cope. The demands can be relentless and I often have to do very quick safety assessments to see whose needs are the most important. Who do I go to? The one who is teetering on the edge of the climbing frame, perhaps about the fall? The one who is eating biscuit scraps out of the bottom of the buggy or the one who is crying because he has been rammed by a plastic tractor by the other two?
To have three arms would be helpful, to be in three places at once even better but to have three boys….. well it’s just wonderful.