How do you cope?

28 Mar

This question is asked often, to a lot of people, in regard to a lot of different things.

Pregnant again so soon? How will you manage?

Triplets? How do you cope?

Autism? I’m not sure I could handle that?

Your child is seriously ill? How on earth do you keep going?

The very simple answer is this:
What choice do I have? You cope because you have to. The alternative is downing tools and stepping away from your life, and that’s not really an option.

As I face the imminent arrival of Inglorious Baby #2, I often wonder how I’ll manage. How will I keep my oldest happy/entertained/safe with the time consuming demands of a newborn? How will we get 2 kids up, fed and out of the door on time for 8am nursery drop off? Supermarket shopping with 2 ankle biters? Just HOW?!?!

The answer here is fairly simple too. It’ll take a lot of adjustment, a fair amount of trial and error, probably quite a few ready meals, bribery, a messier house, cbeebies and overcoming my biggest hurdle: Asking For Help.

I hate Asking For Help. But as help is constantly being offered to me by my incredibly generous and capable friends and family I’d be a flaming gallah to not utilise it.

I’m coming to terms with the concept that I don’t need to do Everything and that everything doesn’t need to be done My Way. It doesn’t matter if my 2 year old doesn’t get her hair brushed and put into neat pigtails before nursery. It doesn’t matter if she’s clearly been Dressed By Dad in a frankly bizarre combination of perfectly normal clothes that somehow makes her look like a 70s hobo. It doesn’t matter if there’s washing up unwashed or a big pile of laundry. It’ll get done. Maybe not as quickly as before, but so what? The world will not end. Probably.

Dealing with change is difficult but as change is inevitable you need to bend so you don’t break. Trying to maintain tight control is pointless and damaging. Flexibility, the ability to adapt and open-mindedness are key to successful change management. (Sorry. I still have my psychologist’s hat on. It’s the only part of the outfit that still fits).

Yes, I expect I’ll probably look like a lunatic wandering around Sainsburys in a baby-vom-splattered cardigan and flip flops with no makeup on but that’s because my energy and time will need to be temporarily diverted to other tasks such as newborn maintenance, toddler damage limitation and dealing with sleep deprivation of cataclysmic proportions.

There’s only so much time in the day, and only so much you can do. But at the end of the day, regardless of all the things you have to copewith, everyone will get fed food (of some description), have clothes on that are not too dirty and most of all survive the day and live to see another.

My toddler may go semi feral for a bit while the baby needs constant feeding. The baby may cry for a minute while I’m heating up spag bol for my toddler. I might only have Frazzles and cold coffee for lunch. But we will all survive. Then we will adapt and it will get easier, or at least it’ll become more predictable.

They say change is as good as a rest. They don’t know shit.

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