It’s a new a dawn
And a new day
And a new life for me
And I’m feeling good
I did warn you in the last post that the first lesson in babydom was very… Michael Buble. I know, I know. It’s Nina Simone really, but can we just take a moment to appreciate Michael’s sweet crooning voice…?
Ok, now that’s out of my system we can move on.
So this lesson with TJ was pretty early on, while we were still in NICU. I don’t know why I didn’t have such a light-bulb moment the first or even second time around as a parent. It would have saved a lot of tears, frustration and self doubt back then.
Looking back to when my girls were much younger, there were countless evenings that I’d flop onto the sofa after a particularly gruelling day and seriously wonder whether I had the mental, emotional or physical capacity to get up and do it all again after what would no doubt be yet another sleepless night. It would feel just too hard, there were too many lost battles and on days like that it doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to get easier. I would expect a tough day to be followed by one as equally exhausting.
Or maybe more frustrating were the times that you’d sit back and think you’ve nailed it, only to have reality come and slap you in the face shortly after. You’ve had a monumentally successful day with your littlie, whether it was setting a routine in motion with your baby, effectively disciplining your toddler in a way that would make Supernanny proud or surviving your pre-schoolers’ bedtime without full scale war breaking out. After a day like this you finally think that you might just be able to handle this whole parenting thing after all. Scrap that, you aren’t going to just handle it, you’re going to be the parent to outshine all other parents. You fall asleep with a satisfied and maybe even a smug smile on your face. A line had been drawn; the hard days are behind you now and its plain sailing from here.
But by lunchtime the next day it’s all gone to pot; your baby won’t nap, your toddler is screaming and trying to assassinate the baby and you’re counting down the minutes until Wine O’clock. How did it go so wrong when you’d had it in the bag just hours earlier?
This lesson is about every morning, at whatever ungodly hour it is and regardless of the day before, reminding yourself that it’s a new day.
If your yesterday was painfully hard; be encouraged. Today is a new day.
Seriously, acknowledge it when you wake up. Let it soak in. It’s a new day. Being armed with that can make a difference to the hours ahead of you. You can do this, regardless of yesterday.
Back to our earliest days with TJ. At the end of that first day, my heart was on the floor. It had all gone wrong. It had been a tough birth and our baby boy was on a life preserving ventilator in Intensive Care. I was so grateful that he was still with us and that my boy was in the best place for him, but I didn’t feel much like celebrating. TJ’s future was uncertain.
Our Tomorrow looked bleak.
But the next day wasn’t bleak. It ended up being one of the best days of my life. It was a day that I got to really cuddle my son for the first time. It was a day that TJ was taken off the ventilator and only needed a little help to breathe. It was a day I got to watch my husband feed his boy.
Where the ‘yesterday’ had been so hopeless and heartbreaking, the ‘today’ had become packed full of hope and celebration.
We all have bad days as parents. It doesn’t mean your tomorrow has to be bad as well.
And as much as the bad days can trip us up, so can those good days, when we get a little cocky. Just because yesterday protected us from being pooped, weed or vomited on, today does not guarantee to be like its’ predecessor.
If your yesterday was easy peasy lemon squeezy; tread carefully. Don’t take it for granted. Today is still a new day.
I’m learning fast not to take for granted those glorious days when everything seems to go my way. When we’d been home from NICU with TJ for a week or so, we started to settle into life as a family of five. It didn’t seem as hard as we’d expected and felt relieved that TJ was a sleepy and chilled out baby. Ha, we thought, this was going to be easy.
Then Mr C went back to work. Cue music of doom.
Within a day of taking it all in my stride, I was spinning too many plates and dropping them all. I was battling to distract Boo from spending the whole day staring at a computer screen. Clover wanted help with outdoing every Blue Peter presenter, past and present, in her crafting skills. And TJ decided that being chilled out was for losers. Dust was gathering in the corners of every room and the girls curiously asked if the rules had changed on ‘5 a day’ because they hadn’t seen much wholesome food.
I’d lulled myself into a false sense of security on a good day and believed, for a short while, that parenting should be easy. All. The. Time. That day taught me otherwise. It was a light bulb moment; there would be some great days when we feel in control and there would be some horrendous days when we feel like we’re losing the plot entirely.
By its very nature, parenthood is not designed to be easy all the time. It’s designed to stretch us and challenge us as well as making us feel all soft and fuzzy when little Jimmy looks cute in the school Nativity Play.
Children will wobble through roughly 1500-1800 days in the world before they head off to primary school. That’s a lot of days. Days that are filled with a lot of exploding nappies, a lot of tantrums and a lot of exasperation. But they’re also packed with a lot of milestones, a lot of magical moments and a heck of a lot of growing.
Every one of those pre-school days will be different. And littlies won’t group them together for your convenience. Oh no. They like to mix it up a little. To keep you on your toes. You see, they’re preparing you for their adolescence when they really learn how to throw you the curve balls.
A day is just a day. Just a small window in time. So celebrate the beauty and grow in the pain. Then go to bed. Let it all help shape you to be the person you want to be. And when you wake up, have a quick glance back at yesterday, whether it was gloriously easy or agonisingly hard, and let it go.
Because today is a new day.
Mrs C x