I saw some cartoons recently that really made me laugh! It was 2.45am as I scrolled through these drawings of an exhausted mum, surrounded by chaos in her house, with shit on her sleeve, nappy bins over flowing and spending her date night with her partner conked out on the sofa. Ah those days of having a new born. A baptism of fire intertwined with the most precious moments any parent could wish for, all delicately balanced by a few hours of sleep a night if you were lucky.
And then I realised. Five years on, this was still us.
It was quite a realisation to be honest. I really wanted to share the cartoons on social media with my friends. “Look! Doesn’t this show what life is really like?!”. Well, no, it doesn’t actually. Because every one else who had a child the same time as us has well and truly left this phase. This sense of sleep deprived chaos, where survival is your only aim. They’ve made it through and graduated what most people consider to be one of the hardest times of your life as a parent.
But we haven’t. And we are far from receiving our diploma. We are well and truly cemented to the spot, perhaps walking forward an inch or so every so often. For us, it’s Groundhog Day.
Every day we wake up and never know what treasures our day will bring. Will kiddo reach another milestone? Will he giggle at something new? Will he finally try that new food today? It’s a lovely feeling of excitement and potential, but more often than not is so clouded by the sleepless nights, over flowing dishes in the sink and piles of washing that we don’t always get to appreciate it.
As I walked past the kitchen on my way to bed last night I glanced through the door and felt disgust at how the dirty dishes had piled up so fast and I hadn’t managed to stop them. After all, everyone else manages to? But did I worry about this when kiddo was a few weeks old? Nope. Well maybe a little, but no one else judged me that’s for sure.
Five years on from when we first met the most amazing little person we know, we are still living that chaos of “the new born phase”. I still have baby brain, new born mum fog, whatever you want to call it. It’s kiddo’s birthday party in 2 days time and today I had to phone the venue to find out what time it was happening as I genuinely had no clue. Can you imagine living in that frightening overwhelming world, where you were at the mercy of screams, erratic and minimal sleep patterns and praying you didn’t become overdrawn in your bank account because you simply had to buy more nappies, FOR FIVE YEARS?
Most people head into parenthood for the second, third or fourth time knowing that this phase will pass and it will get easier. But for a family with a child who has SEN or disabilities, you never know if or when you will move into that next phase. For us, this phase could well be permanent. Think about that the next time you ask a family with a SEN child when they’re having another baby 🤔 Because for all you know, they’re still living that life several years on.
Thanks for reading,