Crazy and calm mum moments happen to us all
A mum’s life really is like a box of chocolates. Or a bag of mad frogs depending on how you view things. Basically, each day is filled with calm and crazy moments that leave you feeling like the best mum in the world, quickly followed by the belief you can’t cope and you’ve irrevocably damaged your kids for life.
Sometimes there’s inane giggles over the most pointless things, quickly followed by much head-scratching and pondering of – what is going on? Is it me? Did I do something to bring out this latest batch of kid craziness?
I’m no different. My moods and calmness are like a roller coaster. I’m coping with major things as cool as you like one day, then losing it over a minor incident the next.
It reminded me of a few times during the 5 ½ years I’ve been a mum when I’ve handled things in a way a Buddhist monk would be proud, and others, well, not so much. Here are my top calm mum vs crazy mum moments.
Calm mum: I was cool as a cucumber
When I was in labour with Tiddler I had my own room on the maternity ward. My midwife stayed with me throughout. This was different to when I had Boo and spent most of my labour confined to a bed on the ward with a curtain around me. Not fun.
I’d taken some calm breathing classes (which I highly recommend). I basically breathed my way through each contraction – aided by copious amounts of gas and air. I also used a hypno-birthing CD for the last 3 months of my pregnancy, again really helpful. I didn’t complain or cry out, in fact I just sat on a Swiss ball for pretty much the whole time concentrating on my breathing. The midwife remarked that I was as cool as a cucumber and the calmest woman in labour she’d ever seen. I think my case was helped by the fact that another woman was wandering up and down the corridor outside screaming for morphine every 10 minutes.
Even though I was tired, physically exhausted and anxious about giving birth (even though this was my second time), I managed to keep calm.
Calmness 1 – craziness 0
Crazy mum: Then came custard creams vs gas and air
All was fine until I began to run out of steam. I’d been having intense contractions every few minutes for about 5 hours and the midwife decided I was exhausted. She asked if I’d bought an energy drink with me. I hadn’t. It was 5am and nothing was open in the hospital. I did wonder if there was a vending machine somewhere nearby, but apparently not. The midwife kindly bought me a cup of tea and some custard creams.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken in gas and air for 5 hours but it really gives you a dry mouth. So there I was trying to down scalding tea and custard creams with a mouth drier than the Sahara, when the next contraction starts. I grab the gas and air again and start panicking – how the hell am I supposed to breathe when I’ve got a saliva-free mouthful of custard cream that I have no way of being able to swallow in the next 10 seconds?
See – you can lose your calm over little things. I was cursing my baby – why are things slowing down for goodness sake? I’ve been at this for hours? Maybe he was enjoying chilling out on all the gas and air I’d been hoovering up. Maybe he was just being stubborn. Either way it nearly sent me over the edge. The midwife declared that I was ‘transitioning’ and began getting out the scary-looking birth equipment. As it was, Tiddler didn’t arrive for another 3 ½ hours. I think he gets his stubborn-ness from me.
Calmness 1 – craziness 1
Calm Mum: The electrical fire while wearing a baby
Not long after Tiddler arrived I decided to try out one of those baby carrier thingys. I’d not had much luck using one of these with Boo, I was scared he’d fall out of it. So, there I was, first thing in the morning, baby strapped to my front. My first port of call is to make myself a cup of tea – my day literally doesn’t begin ‘til I’ve had one.
I pop the kettle on and boom!
It explodes and sets itself on fire. Don’t know if you’re ever seen an electrical fire (or any fire for that matter) but it’s kind of scary. Mr N in the dining room was shouting at me to switch it off at the plug. I replied not a chance as I had a baby strapped to me. So I just stood there and watched while Mr N heroically leapt out of his chair, into the kitchen and to the plug.
Calmness 2 – craziness 1
Crazy Mum: I need my tea!
I don’t remember much of what happened but the one thing that stands out is the feeling of being really peed off that I couldn’t have that cup of tea. In fact I think I texted everyone to tell them how annoyed and caffeine-deficient I was.
Perception is everything I suppose. Some people might have been traumatised by the fact their baby was exposed to an electrical fire, but I was just concerned about my PG Tips withdrawal.
Calmness 2 – craziness 2
More crazy: Crying in the cheese aisle
I was still in the new mum ‘oh my God – how can this little person generate so much bodily fluid and wake at anti-social hours’ stage following Boo’s birth. I was in Sainsbury’s doing the final food shop before Christmas. Not a place for finding calm and in my bewildered sleep-deprived state not somewhere I should have been.
Still I soldiered on. Things weren’t going well in the vegetable aisle. I couldn’t find any decent looking onions. The shelf-stacker guy looked at me and said ‘cheer up love, it might never happen’. Yeah? It already has! I’ve had no sleep for 6-weeks and all these onions are bloody mouldy! That’s what my mind said anyway.
Retreating to the cheese aisle things went from bad to worse. I couldn’t find the special cheese noted on my list. We’re cheddar people but Mr N does like to push the boat out at Christmas and wanted blue Brie. Now don’t get me wrong, Mr N is a calm person and would’ve just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘oh well’ if I came home sans-cheese.
Yet in my post-baby befuddled state it was literally the end of the world. I couldn’t find the cheese and there were too many people in the aisle preventing me from doing a full search. I called Mr N on my mobile and started crying ‘I can’t find the cheese. Christmas is ruined!’ He suggested asking at the deli counter and if not, don’t worry, Christmas would still be Christmas, blue Brie or not. I can’t recall if I did find the cheese in the end but that memory of panicking in the cheese aisle has stuck with me.
Calmness 2 – craziness 3
Uh-oh, the craziness is winning…
Being a calm mum isn’t that difficult (most of the time)
It’s funny, the things you can cope with when you have to, like giving birth. It’s the things that you don’t expect that can floor you – not being able to swallow a custard cream, or the onions in the veg aisle being mouldy.
But wait, being a calm mum doesn’t have to be difficult.
Now I’ve found mindfulness I’m handling things a little better. And if things are difficult I try to imagine a grey cloud that will pass on by with blue sky following. There’s always blue sky in there somewhere. If not there’s always calm breathing…
Just don’t ask me to find the blue Brie.