I am a mum of three. A seasoned professional in the motherhood game (the early years at least!) I’ve done boys….and girls. Breastfeeders….and formula feeders. Lazy babies…and early crawlers. The laid back types…and the high maintenance ones.
By child number three, the third attempt at perfecting this parenting malarkey, you’d have thought I’d have it down. A tactic or answer for everything the little humans can throw at me. A parenting encyclopedia of my very own.
How then, do I still keep having ‘oh sh*t’ moments? The moments where you feel like you’ve suddenly been thrown in the deep end. Where you are in an exam that you forgot to study for. Where you are hoping the ‘mothers intuition’ will kick in right about now. The times your heart begins to race or your mind just simply draws a blank at the situation that the small human has pulled you into. Where your head and your heart can say no more than ‘oh sh*t’.
This week my nine month old has a cold. I’m presuming a good old fashioned ‘common cold’. Nothing a family with three children in nursery and school haven’t seen before as you can imagine. But in the car yesterday I was hit by a ‘oh sh*t’ moment. She began to choke. Or appear to choke. Thanks to the delight of a family of five and the giant sized car seats I was squished in the back next to her maxi cosi and our elder daughters essential safety monstrosity of an extended rear facing seat. I hollered at the husband to pull over and whipped her out of that seat at the speed of light for her to regain composure the minute she was upright. Repeat this activity three times in the space of a 500m stretch of road. I was literally clueless. I presume it was mucus stuck at the back of her throat which she couldn’t deal with but neither could I. Stuck 30 minutes away from home with a child who was clearly about to suffocate (slight hysteria may have set in) I was clueless. Clueless over a common cold. Ridiculous.
Not my only ‘oh sh*t moment.
There was the time my daughter stuck a piece of apple up her nose. How long do I attempt to get it out for? Is this a call the Drs or head to A&E predicament? Oh sh*t.
The time my third child, first successful breastfeeder, wouldn’t take formula from a bottle. Purchase every type of bottle, have a minor meltdown and get the blasted boob pump out again. Oh sh*t.
The three year old telling me the baby is chewing on wires. Oh yep that’s an extension lead you are eating. How is my house not baby proof yet? No other child has found that hidden cable. Oh sh*t.
Three children all want to go to bed at the same time, but only one pair of hands (mon-fri I parent this ship solo). I don’t read stories in bed every night. Sometimes an audio-book is as good as it gets. Guilt. I’m probably damaging their future love of reading. Oh sh*t.
Weaning the third child of the family. Slice of peanut butter on toast eaten. Should she have peanuts yet? Or should she have been a year old? Where is the damn weaning book?! Oh sh*t.
In the car, engine on and the four year old says, ‘is baby Aubs not coming with us?. She’s in her car seat….in the house. Oh sh*t.
I could go on. These moments are common occurrence. Still.
I’d like to think they are less frequent than when I was a first time mum. But I wouldn’t guarantee it.
I’m the best part of five years into this thing called motherhood and I still feel utterly lost some days. I find myself in situations where I have to ‘wing it’ more frequently than I thought possible and wondering how my motherhood knowledge hasn’t filled this gap yet.
I turn to Google for advice. Frequently.
My children don’t seem to have the same user manual. What worked before with one child, probably won’t with the next. I’m constantly back to square one, trying to find the FAQ page.
I’ve never read a parenting book. Perhaps I need to. Maybe I’d be more clued up to these sticky situations that keep slapping me round the face.
But I’ve given up with plans because I’ve figured that I can’t plan for the actions of these tiny folk. I try to remember throughout the hairy experiences and ‘oh sh*t’ moments of motherhood that the kids are still smiling so the times I have no clue, and make it up on the fly, can’t matter too much! Or so I keep telling myself.
So I guess I’ve got many more years of these ‘oh sh*t’ moments to come. And I don’t think the ‘oh sh*t, we’ve left cuddly cow in Tescos’ is going to be the most serious we face. Bring on the teenage years. I’ll schedule a wine delivery.