I had one of those days today. One of those days I knew would surely happen eventually, prayed would come soon and felt at times may surely never come. Three happy children. All at once. Incredible. Happy happy happy. With the talented Mr 4 happily eating an early dinner in front of Grandpa in my Pocket, I actually played with BOTH twins in the backyard for about an hour without a single scream. A few delighted squeals of joy, but no tears. I wanted to alert the neighbours. Hey! Look! See! They are happy, they are capable of going for up to an hour without busting eardrums up and down the street. A win. Some calm.
I of course, was equally calm and happy. Coincidence? I think not. Of course it is hard to admit but ultimately true that the mood of the house (read, me and Andrew) affects the mood and behaviour of the child. It’s a no brainer of course, but all my twins want is more of me. Whenever they get that, they’re happier. It is really easy for me to find a million jobs to do at the end of the day (lunches, dinner, laundry, general pottering about so as to look busy and get a break from the kids…) and not spend time down on the floor just playing. Not sure what makes me try to avoid them during toxic hour (maybe it’s the screaming) but when I do make myself get out of my cave (kitchen) and get playing, it’s really fun for everyone. And nobody screams.
Things have lifted for us both since we have been back at work. For one, I think we both got a bit of cabin fever. Second, there were the “holidays” (and I use the term loosely – see Nightmare on Flight EK434). It shows, certainly for me anyway, how important work is to my general state of life balance. I spent 18 months out of the paid workforce about a year ago and went nuts. It was the first time in my adult life that I have not worked and it completely did not work for me. Some people are aghast when I tell them I have 3 young boys and work 4 days per week. WHY you do it? Well, this is why, because I have to, because if I didn’t, my kids get the worst hand they can be dealt, an unfulfilled Mummy who’s just a bit lost without that part of her identity. Happy Mummy, happy kids.
I work with a lot of incredibly stressed out Mums who are dealing with the pointy end of serious problem behaviour every day of their lives. Almost without fail, when I ask will they access some support for themselves, they say something like, let’s just get him fixed, when he’s OK, then I’ll do something for myself. It breaks my heart to see the desperation, the sadness and the paralysis that this kind of situation inevitably brings. If I had all the funding my heart desired, I’d give these Mummies an hour a day, every day just to breathe, look at a sunset, walk in a park. Just to be.