Jan's been back at work for over a month now, so I've been able to experience what it means to parent 2 children when I'm the only adult around.
In summary it seems to mean:
- Breastfeeding a baby = a toddler wiggling himself into 10 free cm on your knee, elbow or neck to join in for a cuddle
- Too much youtube time granted to the toddler
- Often crying kids
- Food burning on the stove or food turning cold in the plate
- Everyone is in bed too late
But it is a fact that it's hard to parent 2 little children on your own. It scared me before I gave birth to Beertje and the first evenings weren't very easy.
My first test came after 2 weeks, a bit earlier than intended as Jan had to be absent a few times unfortunately when a friend passed away. Beertje was only 2 weeks old, my fatigue still peaked and as cherry on the cake, Kabouter got ill and also woke us up more than 5 times a night. I managed but as I said, there was often a crying kid involved, I behaved like a grumpy zombie and my FB statusses filled with self-pity.
2 weeks ago Jan was gone for most of the time and when I saw that agenda upfront, I must honestly admit that I panicked: first week of school for Kabouter (more fatigue?) combined with the 6 week growth spurt for Beertje on my own? Whaaaa, impossible. There were some tears. I called in a lot of help : maternity help, in-laws and babysits and got through that week quite well. The evening rush proofs to be the hardest. Then there's always a few hours where I wish I'd be a hindu goddess with many arms and hands. Murphy's law ensures that both kids always need to feed at the same moment and that the peak of cramps comes in the mid of the bedtime routine of the oldest, ... And of course potty training accidents happen at the worst moments they can happen.
Next week I'll be mostly on my own again and I planned less help (but still some). A clear sign that I start to feel more confident and a bit more energetic. Let's hope I don't regret that! I know that sometimes a crying kid for a short moment is the only way to get things done: I'm not Shiva yet. I'm in the mean time an expert in breastfeeding while feeding a toddler with another hand, pull up/down his pants to let him go on the potty, hug him or simply continue feeding while he performs some acrobatics on my body to gain some attention. I'm also a lot more grateful for youtube and iPads and try not to feel too guilty about it. And I need to learn to wear Beertje more often in the household and not only when we get into town. It's not easy and it will never be easy. But it should all become a bit more routine each time, I hope.
Let's go rock that week with my 2 big loves.