Mumming. Lets face it. It can be both mundane, and manic, whether you’ve got just one small super-charged sproglet, or (like me) you’re right in there at the epicentre of a blended family shit-storm, just about managing to meet the massively varying demands of four (aged 1-11).... And, of five other parents. Whhaaaat?!
Yes, I’m a mother like any other, but also one playing piggy in the middle, with my second-time-husband, and two pairs of OP’s, passing three of our kiddos back and forth between us.
And indeed... The struggle is real!
So, as much as I’d love to tell you that I’ve always owned the X-Factor for Mums, and totally “put it down!” (Kelly Rowland style - circa 2012) on the parenting front, I genuinely feel, and have for sometime now, that I can be of best use to others if I simply tell the truth, and relay my rawest ‘Mum in the Middle’ moments, warts and all, in the hope that some people will find comfort in the hilarity of my best efforts.
And so, I’ll begin… Baby cries. Ok, we’re up!
Bulging nappy. Must change. Mummy’s poo can wait (and wait it will… most likely until a double drop of Senakot Max Strength is required.)
Breakfast. For baby. Not mummy. She can nibble on the left overs.
Second shitty nappy. Must change. Cannot do school run with a skunk.
Change bum, and simultaneously shout out quick fires at the six year old:
“Have you done your teeth?!”
“Where are your shoes?!”
“Have you found the hairbrush?!”
whilst she spouts off memories of last night’s REM time.
“Darling, I love you, but could we discuss your dreams once we’ve both boshed the basics?… Your breath is still rather dog-ish!”
(I know there won’t be time, and I cry a little inside.)
And then, I hover by the front door with a baby attached to one arm, and a bookbag on the other, needing to go (but I can’t… there definitely isn’t time for a bowel movement.) It’s eight frigging thirty, and we have to be at school like now!
“What do you mean you haven’t had breakfast? I left it on the side!”
So yep, the baby’s the only one who’s actually eaten, I still need to drop the other kids off at the pool so to speak, and as we open the door to depart for the school, the car is fully frozen over…. FUCK!
And I’m sure you get the picture. Life can so easily feel like this on most days (or everyday, if your your grey matter’s all in a tizz) because whether we are parents or not, running from one thing to another, without even a pause for piss simply seems to be the norm.
We are so easily distracted into a state of unconsciousness, that we can forget to stop and smell the roses, and therefore risk letting life pass us by faster than Doc’s DeLoran* without really viewing the best bits.
(*Note: This is an 80s reference, so apologies if you’re more ‘spring chicken’ than ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ - Sadly, I am the latter.)
I began to feel this was happening to me, about two and a half years into my experience of Mum in the Middle madness, which thus far spans half a decade; Planning co-parenting schedules, holding down a day-job (and a blow-job of an evening if he’s lucky), running a household and a business, as well as the little one to and from school/ activities/ friends’ houses, and booting it up the M11 on the reg’, either to see the “step-kids in concert” - there seems to be a LOT of these at private schools- or collect/ return them in a timely and composed manner, just to prove I give a shit (despite having no time to drop one!)
I was a woman with it all, yet giving none of it my best. And by Christmas 2015, for me, it was find the key to calm, or move to a commune.
‘Cos when we’re juggling like clowns, and playing the roles of everyone we’re expected to be in this Insta-perfect World, and finding it hard to stick, it’s sometimes a matter of twist or go bust, and that was where I was headed.
So when an introduction to ‘mindfulness’ popped up on my plate in early 2016, it was all that was needed to stop me in my tracks … and begin to change my life.
And now, whilst there are definitely still mornings which feel very much like the above (especially when the intensity increases fourfold, as three of the kids descend and retract, shaking up the dynamics like a snow-globe) my life as Mum in the Middle (and as a parent/ person in general) is far more manageable, and so much less mundane, with mindfulness on my side.
And the very best thing about it? I’m finding it easier to pause for the rose sniffing... Even when the big shit does hit the pan!
Written by: Anna Welsford Follow Anna on her @Mum_in_the_Middle journey, and learn more about #mindfulness, #meditation and other suggested powertools for #puttingitdowninparenting via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and her websites: www.muminthemiddle.co.uk and www.mindovermaternity.com (launching 23rd March.)