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November 15, 2010

Guest Post: Learning to Dance in the Rain

I first "met" MultipleMum several months ago. Her boy/girl twins were born just two weeks before A and B, and despite the oceans between Kentucky and Australia, we quickly found a lot of common ground.

The mother of four children ages five and under, MultipleMum writes about some pretty poignant "mom" experiences...but I wouldn't necessarily classify hers as a "mommy" blog; she covers a host of topics.

The common thread -- and what keeps her blog on the top of my list of "must reads" -- is her intelligent approach, and her ability to make even whimsical ideas relevant. Oh, and she always has a really cool image kicking off each of her posts. :)

Thanks so much to MultipleMum for sharing her perspective on balancing her blessings, including her recent return to the workforce.

Life is not about waiting out the storms. It is about learning to dance in the rain.

I found out I was expecting twins at the 13 week ultrasound. The sonographer popped the ultrasound machine onto my already swollen tummy and up on the screen were two little people lying side by side. There was no hiding it.

Before the lady could complete her ‘How delightful!’ speech, the tears began to roll down my cheeks, a combination of excessive laughter and shock, and my husband started counting 1,2,3,4 over and over again.

You see, we already had two children at home. Nugget was 3 years and 3 months at that point, and Doo Dah, 17 months old. Four under four. We were genuinely scared.

The thing about life I have found is that no matter how hard it all seems you somehow find the resilience to cope. Having multiples +2 has taught me just how hard life can get, but how rewarding too.

I thought I was done during the pregnancy when I reached gigantic proportions and still had to lift my toddler and pre-schooler up for 'cuddles' on a regular basis. But, no. I survived until 36+5 weeks gestation and created two gorgeous babies (B/G twins).

I thought it was all over after the babies were born when they started on a 3 hourly feed-sleep cycle, day and night. But, no. I survived that too. Even though it was 6 months before I got more than 2 hours sleep in a row, for some reason my older boys behaved like angels during the whole stage.

I thought I would never sit down again when the Minx and Dew Drop started to crawl, then walk, then climb. But, no. I have survived that stage too. With the help of my two ‘big boys’ who helped me ‘herd’ the babies down at the park or in the shopping centre.

But when the end of my maternity leave came and I had to face returning to work, I really thought it was all over for me. How in the world could I wrangle four children and go to work? What in the world could I contribute in the workplace with my ‘baby brain’ and body-fluid stained clothes? I would be discovered as an impostor, wouldn’t I? A Mum trying to cut it in the world of paid employment. But, no. I have once again survived.

Balancing paid work outside the home and child rearing isn’t for the faint-hearted. The demands are great and there really are no winners. The children wish that you could be with them every day; your workplace filters every idea from your brain as you rush out to pick up the kids; and your husband starts sending you emails and text messages as a reminder that he too has needs.

*You* get lost in the rush and chaos of your life.

In the grand scheme of things, I am lucky. I only work 2 days a week (plenty of time at home to complete the 9 loads of washing a week). My husband is very helpful and does a lot of dropping off and picking up children. And my children are adaptable. They tell me they like their days at Long Daycare and After-school care, and I choose to believe them.

I refuse to buy into the whole Mother’s Guilt thing. I mean, we all have it, irrespective of what we do with our time (SAHM, WAHM, WM) or how we manage our children. I am just trying to do the best I can, under the circumstances I have found myself in, and still find the time to smile and enjoy life.

What are your family’s circumstances? Have you waiting out the storm or have you learnt to dance in the rain?

You can check out MultipleMum's blog at And Then There Were Four...I'll see ya there! :)


life in a pink fibro said...

I love this post! Keep dancing MM - keep dancing!

Posie Patchwork said...

Twins were the best thing that ever happened to us. We had a toddler, i was working in the oil industry, so i 'retired' when i had twin girls, i was 26 & haven't worked in the real world since. I LOVED being at home with them & subsequently a 4th child, a boy at the end to complete our family.
We laughed when we saw those 2 babies in my belly at the 14 week ultrasound, it was a small mercy to skip a pregnancy in my quest to have 4 children, as i was so morning sick!!
Now those 4 children under 5 have been in school for a few years, we're hitting high school. It's a whole new chapter in parenting, i find they need you MORE. You have to be available, when they want to talk, it's very different to just keeping them alive!!
So our twins are 9 & while they are the least alike of our 4 sporty, smart, social children, they don't clash, argue & we find they still need time alone together without their siblings. It's beautiful to watch.
As for mother guilt, i never felt it, while i was working mother of one, i was providing for our family, as a stay at home mother, i was raising them mostly on my own as my husband is a soldier & away A LOT. No point in mother guilt at all, just love your children, smile & they'll understand whatever you have to do for the family is the right thing. Gosh, my husband spends up to 10 months of the year away at war, do you think i'm going to lump father guilt on him?? Hardly. We have great quality time, the rest is just daily routine, all fits into place.
I was a mummy straight out of University & it has been the most natural thing to me on earth. My mother said i had twins as i needed a challenge, they were the best thing ever, plus they were sleepers, a total dream.
Twins are so special, mine certainly articulate that to me, they love being each other's twin, without words, they connect. Love Posie

Melissa @Suger Coat It said...

A great post! And a powerful insight into the work of multiple kidlets.

Melissa @Suger Coat It said...

whoops. *world of

though work could be relevant too.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

I dance in the rain with my twins ! and I let them throw mud too.

Maxabella said...

As a person who knows you well I can testify that you have been remarkably resillent through some very tough, exhausting times. You are a patient and kind mother who adores her children. You are a loving wife who (for some strange reason) puts her husband's needs above her own. You are a conscientious worker who always strives to learn more. You are a beautiful person through and through. x

Quadmama said...

I enjoy Multiple Mum's blog, although, admittedly, I don't stop by as much as I want to. I'm definitely dancing in the rain. I hate it when people say "Oh, I'm sorry" when they find out I have quadruplets. Sorry? For what? Because I'm having more fun than you?

DancingInTheRain said...

trying to learn how to dance - you help make the rain fun!

reanbean said...

What a great post. I have not visited Multiple Mum's blog yet, but will be stopping by sometime soon.

I'm definitely a dance-in-the-rain kind of mom- go with the flow, take what you get, work with what you have. Life is crazy, but life is fun! :o)

Dolli-Mama said...

Oh, how sweet it is to dance in the rain.

I have to say, having a three year old and baby twins is easier than I thought it would be because he is so helpful. It was a tough transition, but he has really grown into his role as a "big brother". Sometimes I think I owe my survival completely to him. Even when he isn't "helping" he is a constant source of comic relief and brings joy in every situation. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Double the Giggles said...

How do you do it? ...You just do! Us moms of multiples are a lot tougher than we look! Great post!

MultipleMum said...

Thank you so much for having me Mandy! What fun it has been. I haven't 'met' some of the commenters as yet so will definitely stop by for a visit in the next day or so. Right now I am off to work!