I remember this morning three years ago very clearly.
I’d woken early (just as I have this morning) for some unknown reason and decided to do some cleaning. It was around the time I was due on my period and out of habit I took a pregnancy test. We’d been trying for a while and I’d sadly got used to that disappointment each month when I’d come on or get a negative test. That morning I took a test and left it on the side, forgotten about whilst I did my housework. A couple of hours later I went back into the toilet and was reminded of the test, sat there on the side daring me to look at it.
It was positive.
Oh the joy. The happiness. And now here I am three years down the line, with two of the little munchkins! Two little sleep thieves. Two demanding, beautiful, healthy children. I couldn’t be more lucky.
But lets not sugar coat it. As we all know, parenting is hard. You’re tired, you’re massively dependant on coffee and it is expected of you to have boundless amounts of patience and energy. Some days are a pleasant surprise when your tiny humans co-operate without the need of chocolate button bribery, and other days result in you weeping in the kitchen in an attempt to escape the whinging and demands for two damn minutes.
My husband says I do myself an injustice, that I don’t give myself enough credit. Josh, as you will know if you follow my Instagram has been quite challenging of late. And it’s something we are all working hard to get to the bottom of, to get a diagnosis of and to adapt to. Because he isn’t going to change and I wouldn’t want him to. To me he is perfect and I love him exactly as he is. But yes, it’s been quite hard to try and accept that my little boy may need a helping hand along the way; I felt for a long time that fear of had I failed him in some way. I know deep down in my bones I haven’t. I have been the best Mum I can possibly be, and that is everything he needs. He loves me and I love him, unconditionally, and I am dedicated to giving him the best life possible.
By having that attitude, and putting his and Hollys needs first, above all else, that is what makes me a good Mum.
Some days I want to lose my shit. Yesterday was a good example. I’ve recently started letting Josh look at the iPad – he loves songs on there that teach him colours and shapes, but then comes the time to take the iPad away as he has to have a bath. Shit. Hits. The. Fan. And in spectacular manner. Unfortunately Josh didn’t know how to channel his anger and for the first time since she was born, Holly was in the firing line.
It was nothing major; she was in her bouncer and he sort of pushed her little face. She wasn’t happy and screamed and I definitely wasn’t happy and shouted at Josh. As I’ve learnt, with Josh if you get angry and raise your voice it just sends him into overdrive. He cried even more, Holly cried and I wanted to cry. Thankfully the husband arrived home, took Josh for his bath and the distraction meant all was forgotten, at least for Josh.
I still felt guilty though. I felt bad for not handling the situation right. I felt bad for raising my voice, and causing further tears for Josh. It is damned hard sometimes; with Josh I can’t always be sure if his behaviour is just standard two year old tantrums, or because of his potential difficulties. I don’t have the luxury of being able to have a two way conversation with him as he still isn’t speaking a great deal (something else we are investigating as well) and therefore I can’t explain to him why I’ve taken away the iPad, why I need him to get in the bath, why he can’t whack his sister in the face. I long to have those conversations so that he can almost back chat me, because I do believe a lot of his frustration stems from the fact he can’t communicate his feelings and questions.
This week I’ve discovered it is Autism Awareness Week. If ever there was a time to educate myself it is now. Because what is going on with Josh isn’t just something he needs to learn to live with, it’s something myself, Sam, our family, Holly and anyone close to us is going to need to have an understanding of.
We don’t have any official diagnosis at the moment, and given the delays in speech therapy, and the huge spectrum that Autism has, I don’t believe it is going to be a quick process. But we all know it is likely to be that that we are dealing with. We have an amazing supportive family, incredibly friends, and a wonderful nursery that Josh attends, who are doing everything in their power to aid Josh and to improve his communication (we’re in the process of learning Makaton) and encourage his social interaction. The Health Visitors too, to their credit, have been a big support and are putting up with my many questions and my nagging to push through his speech therapy (18 weeks is a ridiculous wait).
So when you look at it like that, we are actually very lucky. Josh is lucky. He doesn’t realise it but he has a family who will fight tooth and nail to make sure he is happy, content, safe, looked after and encouraged to be whoever he wants to be.
He and Holly have me, a Mother with that built in lioness protective passion. Every day isn’t easy but every day I am doing my best for them. I don’t have endless amounts of patience, I can’t be super duper happy smiley all the time; that’s why I do my Insta-Stories – to show the reality of day to day life as a Mum (and I am glad I do because the feedback I get is immense and I love anyone who takes the time to follow, watch and comment because it truly means the world to me). But I can be a Mum who takes pride in her approach to Mum Life. A Mum who is dedicated, passionate and pretty much obsessed with her kids.
I am the lucky one. I have two healthy, happy beautiful children. You can’t put a price on that.
My life has changed a lot in three years; I’m more tired, I have inspected poo more than I ever thought I would, I know who Mr Tumble is, I’ve embraced the Waybuloos (still a bit weird though lets be honest), I have succumbed to Mum guilt, and I am heavily reliant on mascara and concerlear to stop myself from looking so scary I frighten my own children. But more importantly I’ve learnt what pure unconditional love is. Even after a “leaving the park” meltdown or a “I want Daddy not Mummy” phase (bloody heartbreaking when they pull this shit on you – don’t mind me I only went through 9 months of puking, major surgery to deliver you and pretty much dedicated my boobs to you for over a year, but you go to Daddy cause he’s the favourite), it simply doesn’t matter.
Cause these are my little people and what every challenges are thrown our way, we’ll deal with them together.
I keep my babies happy, loved, warm, safe and fed every day. Every day, despite whatever meltdowns take place, they smile. Every single day they feel happy.
And that makes me a good Mum