I never thought being a mother would be so hard. I mean to the point that there are moments I regret having had kids. All in all I am sure I won’t when they will be older and out of the house, living their own lives and connecting with us time to time, but in this precise moment that I feel so overwhelmed I do.
Maybe what I will regret when they are older, after being totally immersed with them 24/7 and resenting feeling totally drained by motherhood (emotionally and physically), when they will be teens and they won’t want to stay with me anymore all of a sudden, then I will terribly miss them and curse them to have poisoned me with an addiction to cuddling, speaking and taking care of them so much, much more than I would have had time left for myself every single day for 15 years.
Why I should not have a 3rd child…
– I’ve only got 2 hands to hold my kids when crossing the street;
– I am not longing to get back to wake up 5 times a night and being unable to nap in the day time to get energies back as I have to juggle older kids during the day;
– We are already too many on this planet, let’s not be stupid, not to say selfish;
– I was blessed with a boy and a girl so I am already the mum of a son and a daughter;
– We can only afford a 3 beds flat and the space is just perfect for a family of 4, we would be a bit sacrificed if we were 5, especially for the 2 siblings sharing the same room;
Have you ever heard in movies or in real life parents sobbing as they have an addicted/criminal child and they don’t understand where they did wrong? They may keep on talking about all they got for them, how they taught them some good manners, that they sent them to the best schools there could be… The truth is our children don’t remember how we tell them they should behave, they simply pick up on who we are and how we treat them. Drugs, lack of moral and even bad health conditions are not just a problem related to social classes: as parents we are all the same, from the poor, to the middle class, to the wealthy ones.
My aunt is dying. She is like a mother to me and she has been very present into our lives in general so my son probably perceives her more like his nan than anything else. At his age (nearly 4) the concept of great aunt or grand parent is confused, the line is blurry: it is all about how much an adult played with you, took you out for a walk, talked to you in a kind voice, prepared you a tasty afternoon snack, more than the genealogical tree that tights you to them.
She was diagnosed with cancer when my son was as tiny as 3 months old. After the joy of him entering into our lives, we had this shocking and heart-breaking news that spoiled that moment. Best case scenario up to 5 years ahead of her, that was the prognosis. We booked a last minute train ticket and accommodation in the town where she lived in France and spent a month with her whilst she started treatment to encourage her fighting for herself, but to be honest for us most of all (I was on maternity leave and my husband unemployed just that short period of his life: sometimes you can really see there is a plan behind everything that happens to you, so we could be there for her).
Since then I made a few vows to myself, amongst which the one to visit her regularly in Brittany (twice a year at Easter and Halloween, since Christmas and summer time we visit my husband’s family in Tuscany) and I lived up to my promises. Not a surprise my son is attached to her and consider her part of his life, despite the distance and the alternate connection (he is used to it with relatives anyway). Now she is getting worst and worst, therefore I call her every other day, mainly to tell her the many beautiful things we do, to make her smile, rather than asking her how she is feeling, fearing only to remind her it’s nearly the end (as if she was not thinking of it all the time anyway – at least I can distract her for a little bit).
It is 3.52 am in the middle of the night. Yes, I am up. I just need a wee before I can return to my comfy and warm bed deeply asleep for another 3 hours at least. The times when I would be up because my baby was crying wanting a cuddle or a feed are distant memories of a few months ago now. Occasionally my toddler would have a nightmare or a proper night terror and I would try and help him get over it and fall peacefully back to sleep in his own bed or make an exception and let him finish his night in the middle of mummy and daddy, in their big bed, with their smell on the pillows and the sheets. But generally this family sleep sound and good nights throughout. The baby from 8pm to 7am. The toddler from 8.45pm to 6.45pm. The parents from a range between 10.30pm and 12am and 7am roughly.
This may sounds like a dream land for some of you who are still struggling with their first child’s sleep and are dreading the arrival of a second one to only complicate the matter. I don’t know if we are just lucky or if we also influenced our ‘destiny’ to get back our sleep within the first 9 months of our babies’ lives. All I can tell is my personal story. You will be able to make your own conclusions and take whatever suits you best from it 😉 P.S. Because there is so much controversy around this topic, my post is particularly long as I hope to cover all the basic doubts you may have around the subject. It is more addressed to those who already heard of this method before (but see it as too savage to even consider it) than to those you are just looking for a solution to their sleep deprivation for the first time… Though it may just help those people as well, to find out a bit more about a potential solution!
What makes us good parents? Some people would easily fall into the cliché that the excellent parent is the one whose kids never have tantrums: they always do as they are told and are polite in public. This would apparently represents the proof that manners and hierarchy were well passed on to the new generation.
Actually, I would deeply suspect of those situations because if children are too compliant, it may not be a sign of good parenting: the risk is to simply erase their personality, asking them not to ever disagree or have uncomfortable feelings so that you as parents are always in a good place and don’t have to fight to get your mission accomplished (getting ready to go home, having a meal sitting down in a quiet restaurant and so on…).
The truth is we actually measure ourselves as good parents in those difficult times, when we manage to teach our children how to deal with their own emotions and why despite they want to do something one way, they will have to accept the frustration of doing it a different way due to the circumstances.