Georgia Mackie is a local mum of two gorgeous boys Freddy and Louie. Her and husband Andrew had the two boys in quick succession, and here Georgia shares her experience with being a busy mum of two.
When Madelin asked me to write a piece for her blog I thought, ‘Sure! How easy. I have plenty of spare time.’ Hmmm – I think my wishful thinking had taken over. One exhausting month later, my two beautiful (slightly crazy) babies had synchronized their sleep and I finally had some time to bang out words on the keyboard. So where do I start? Being a mum of two under two is BUSY. Not hard, just busy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Andrew and I have always planned on having lots of kids, but when I found out I was pregnant with Louie, it came as a bit of a shock. Firstly, falling pregnant the 1st time around with Freddy was hard. After a miscarriage, it took us two years and some medical help to finally fall pregnant.
Louie was also conceived while I was still breastfeeding, which I thought was supposed to be a natural contraceptive – ladies, be aware! We had just started talking about expanding the Mackie clan, and bang, I was pregnant again. I knew instantly. It could have been that maternal instinct, or that slightly nauseous feeling as I put out the rubbish that gave it away. Although it took us both by surprise, it was amazing news and we were just so happy.
I guess I’m pretty lucky because both of my pregnancies were quite similar and rather uneventful. I don’t really get sick and nothing major goes on, except for a bit of heartburn. With Louie though at 6 weeks I caught gastro and with that I started bleeding. After one miscarriage I was worried and thought here we go again but the bleeding stopped after a couple of days. Then after a couple of blood tests and scans all turned out perfectly fine. Thank goodness.
While being pregnant with Louie, chasing around the very energetic, always hungry Freddy was manageable, although pretty exhausting! We still lived our normal lives of walks, park visits and coffee/babyccino dates. At the end of my pregnancy, I had mild contractions for a few days prior to giving birth. I remember being at the park and having to stop what we were doing until the contractions passed. This was rather difficult as I was following Freddy down the slide at the time. Freddy also got to work out that my belly had a baby in it, so the extra kisses and cuddles that I got for that was nice also.
When I went into labour with Freddy my waters broke about midnight, and I didn’t have him until 7pm the next day. So when my waters broke with Louie at the exact same time of night, I had no idea how fast things would move – neither did my husband who was up in Melbourne enjoying a friend’s birthday (Grrr). A quick taxi ride later, he was at the hospital and I was told I was fully dilated and ready to push. For future births, the Midwife told me (and Andrew more importantly) not to leave Geelong from 38 weeks! It all happened very fast and there wasn’t much time to think. I guess in situations like this, instincts kick in and you just have to adapt to get the job done.
Being in hospital with Louie was like a mini holiday (except for the sleepless nights), as I didn’t have to think about dinner or go through that crazed 5-7pm shift. Freddy often visited in hospital, which was cute, but gosh it was hard work – he would touch everything and we would have to take it in turns of walking him around the ward. Kids and hospitals don’t work.
I was a tad nervous bringing Louie home. My thoughts were consumed with the logistics of raising a toddler and a newborn, while trying to keep my sanity. How do I stop Freddy from doing something he’s not supposed to while I am feeding? When will they sleep? Will I ever sleep? Will I ever eat? What about my coffee???
I soon realized that life just went back to normal as I got home, it was just a tad busier. There is no time to sit and relax, or catch up on sleep. Someone has to do the washing, clean the house, supervise activities, read books and make dinner, and that person is me. I remember hanging out the washing when I got home from hospital thinking, when I first had Freddy I didn’t have time to do any of this and now I have two kids!!! Everything just works because it has to.
Saying that, everything the second time around was so much easier. For me, I think I was more relaxed, I knew what to expect. For example, I found breastfeeding with Freddy really difficult. I could never get him to attach and it used to take him 40 minutes to get on my boob, I was stressed, he was stressed and it took a nipple shield and some confidence to get it right. One day it just worked, he learnt what to do and so did I. I used to think how is something so natural so hard. A newborn animal in the wild can do it, I went to lessons and read up on everything why couldn’t I!
However, Louie and I both picked it up straight away. I felt more self-assured and relaxed, and I think he could sense that. I also realized that I had more confidence in understanding their needs. For example, when Louie cries, I know he’s not hungry; he’s just tired. Whereas with Freddy, I would always just feed him every time he woke up – this perhaps explains why he looks like a 4 year old and he’s only just 2.
The biggest shock to me was changing Freddy’s nappy after changing Louie’s. Suddenly, I had this massive child that I used to think was small. So with that, I decided to toilet train Freddy. Crazy, I know! But it worked and now I only have to look at a little bum now, which is much cuter.
So, life with two is similar to life with one, just more constant. We still do the same things but the poor second child has to adapt, and I think I have to be more organized. We still go to the park and out for our coffee dates, I just have an extra child to cart around. Saying this, it doesn’t always go to plan and sometimes I would love to see a video of myself in the midst of complete chaos! For example, the other day we were at the park and Freddy was running around with no top or shoes on, and incessant with taking off his shorts. Meanwhile, I’ve got Louie crying in my arms because he’s so tired. People must think, Oh gosh – look at that poor woman. Little do they know that this is a good day and in my head I’m thinking, I’ve got this sh** sorted!
As expected, there are tough times where I want to hide under the bed and pull my hair out. I know these times will pass – otherwise there is always coffee (or hand me the vodka ☺). On a serious note, there will always be highs and lows and I think it’s important to have a supportive network close by. I have an amazing husband and family. They are always happy to help me out, and I also have a fantastic mothers group. We still catch up weekly. The friendships I have formed from this will last a lifetime.
Some days, I don’t get any time to myself but at the end of the day, what else am I going to do? I am a mum, a proud mum, and my children and family come first. I’ve learnt so much about myself, and although I am still learning, I think being positive and patient has helped me make this very challenging, yet rewarding job, a little easier. In times of need, and we all experience them, there will always be friends and family around to help. I think it’s important to be able to ask for support when it’s needed, because that’s what friends and family are for. ☺