June 2018 and one very stressed out (newish) mother of two races around the nursery summer festival trying to keep track of an overexcited 3 year old whilst trying to soothe a refluxing 3 month old who is overtired but refusing to sleep in the sling. (Sidenote – Phoebe has never slept in public once since she was a few weeks old. Not once.) A kind fellow mum (of 3) notices my face and reassures me that things will improve. “Will they?” I whispered as hot tears pricked my very tired eyes and the stench of Phoebe’s vomit on my chest filled my nostrils, “When?”. Why did everyone else look like they were holding it together when I was feeling like the greatest gift on earth was almost impossibly hard?
Fast forward 12 months and last night, 5 minutes before I was supposed to arrive at nursery for this year’s summer festival, I spoke to the doctor about something which has been rumbling on for Phoebe a bit longer than it should and they suggested I took her in. And in that moment I realised how much things have changed.
A year ago, my first reaction would have been utter panic. It may be hard for somebody who doesn’t teeter on the edge of anxious to understand but the thought of having to do something outside of my carefully planned schedule would have thrown my adrenal glands into to all kinds of chaos. Especially where both children were concerned and where one of them had been talking about an exclusive celebrity appearance by the one and only Chase from Paw Patrol for the last week (to be honest Marshall is his fave but any port in a storm and he was swept up by the collective fervor). But last night the only thing which crossed my mind was whether I’d be able to park close enough to whip them both out to get them to the surgery before it closed.
Prescription dispensed it was back off to the festival, where merry hell broke loose when Artie found out that Chase had just left the building (although actually I saw “Chase” a few minutes later, looking hot and sweaty and mightily relieved he had got out alive after being mauled by half the kids and screamed at by the other half). With the kind of diplomacy a hostage negotiator would have been proud of he was duly bribed with his first ever (yep first ever in nearly 5 years – I’m an incredibly cruel mother) packet of sweets “But Mummy sweets are DANGEROUS” and a round on the tombola – where he looked mildly confused as Mummy (and Daddy who had finally arrived from work to save me) thanked him profusely for the boring looking 75cl bottle of straw coloured liquid he won. And therein ended the incident. All still standing.
You see, what I’ve realised, at last, is that it isn’t about having everything under control, or everything going perfectly. It’s about not letting it bother me when things aren’t under control and they don’t go very well at all. Which is good really because working full time, with a husband who works nights and weekends, I needed to come to that realisation sooner rather than later. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know when I started waving Gabe off to work with a smile rather than crying and begging him not to leave. I don’t know when I started ignoring the bad stuff and focusing on the good stuff. I don’t know when I started to laugh so much I snort playing with my two utterly bonkers children whilst simultaneously making their dinner and sorting the washing or when I started to feel secretly proud when they’re a bit stroppy and stubborn and show they’re a chip off the old block. I don’t know because I stopped worrying about it and I started living it. And not wasting time worrying about it feels blinking brilliant.
Now where’s that straw coloured liquid gone…
Photo by The Little Cheshire Photography Co