Guest blog by Tanya Harper from 'Four Little Creatures' blog, or @fourlittlecreatures on Instagram...
My name is Tanya Harper and I am officially a baby collector.
I managed to have my first and fourth baby 4years and 2days apart (currently ranging for 4yrs to 3months old). All have been single pregnancies. I did however manage to have two boys first then two girls which is incredibly delightful and strangers regularly comment how clever I am. Such a strange thing to say really. It really hasn’t come down to intelligence. Well if it did, it wasn’t passed onto my children…anywho this sums up how my husband and I have managed to keep not only the spawn alive, but also our relationship.
My husband, Daniel, is younger than me and I was also his first serious girlfriend. We had never even lived together until our first was 6 months old and had been married for 8months. In fact I was heavily pregnant on the one and only holiday we have been on, which was our honeymoon #noactiontobehad. The one thing we have always had, is a incredible respect and understanding for one another. We also parent insync which has helped having four children relatively easy.
With this is mind, our day generally consists of all four children waking around 7am. We have been very anal with the kids bedtimes virtually from birth. I need my sleep and Daniel does most night duties. We have been really lucky and all of ours have been great sleepers #touchwood, however if any wake Daniel deals with it. Im way too psychotic if I am tired so its easier for him to be tired than dealing with me lol. Even with Harriet (our newborn), Daniel will change her and hand her to me if she needs to be fed. She is also the only baby I have actually breastfed. All others I expressed and bottle fed. Breastfeeding for me has been an interesting journey.
Anyways I am off on a tangent...
After the kids are awake, we give them all their breakfast which they all feed themselves. The boys have taken to attempting to make their own on occasions. That’s fun. Luckily we have a dog to help clean up their mess. In fact why did we only just get a dog. Best cleaner ever! Then I generally will make all the kids play outside or we go to a playground.
I’m an exceptionally lazy parent and don’t play with my kids all day. I like them to use their brains and use their imagination. My boys have amazing play skills and also are incredibly adventerous. I’m the mum that always gets the kids brought to them by a concerned parent. However much to my surprise they have never seriously hurt themselves. Taken lots of dumps in inappropriate places but hey that kids right…?! In fact I have a zillion shit stories. It never ceases to amaze me what can come out of such tiny bodies. Whoops, im off on a tangent again...
Much to my dismay, I am trying to drop the boys day sleeps. I have always got the 3 older ones to nap together either during the morning, or around lunchtime. They all normally sleep for 2-4hours. This however has resulted in the boys now partaaaaaying until nearly 10.30pm. That’s really fun. I do however love the excuses of why they need to be up. Scout has taken to simply freezing in whatever position he happens to be in when I walk past. Once he was wearing a Hulk mask, jocks and a Harry Potter cape and froze in the centre of the room for 4minutes. This was at 9pm. I have to quickly walk off so I don’t laugh and in turn encourage more of it.
Margot and Harriet still sleep. A lot. This is why I feel I am still sane. The rest of our days consist of more play and waiting for Dan to get home from work. Some days as soon as he walks in the door I lock myself in our room to watch the Bold and Beautiful to have half an hour alone. I am a huge believer in having time for just me. I desperately need it. Daniel is amazing with this. When I have been pregnant I would go to bed when he would get home. He would wake me up for dinner and then id go back to sleep.
Pregnancy with toddlers is extra exhausting and demanding.
We always have dinner as a family at 6pm. Then a bath and bed by 7pm for all spawn. I feel this has helped immensely with our relationship too. Usually, I'll cook dinner, Daniel attends to the kids if/when they start to become whiney small jerks. He will also bath them and get them ready for bed. We will read them bedtime stories and lights out. Dan is extra anal with cleaning and will never relax if anything is out. It is actually hilarious to watch. To really piss him off, put the spoons facing up in the dishwasher.
Everything tends to be all done and dusted for the day by 7.30ish. This is the time Dan and I can just have our time (however I may or may not be on Instagram most of the time lol). I also have a rule that we have to go to bed together every night. This is really important to me. I also nag for massages. He hates this. They used to progress to more activities however since my vagina has been sliced, diced, stretched and torn in giving birth 4 times this is the last thing on my mind. I have never understood how women can possibly get pregnant with a month or two of having a baby. Holy shit Dan would be chuffed to get a dirty text within the first four months post birth. His massaging attempts can shit me. I swear he falls asleep 1.5mins in and I spend more effort nudging or kicking him.
Please tell me I’m not alone with a lazy massager for a husband??
One thing we are both looking forward to is more time as a couple. My mum and sister are amazing with babysitting and Dan will often surprise me with a date night. Again I’m shithouse and rarely remember anniversaries. I couldn’t even tell you the month we got engaged. I even had to find our wedding certificate once to find our wedding anniversary. Whoops. But Dan is a lot better. I think because we are so different it manages to work.
My biggest piece of advice is to ask for help. From your partner, family and friends. Trust me, they will enjoy and it will give you some much needed recharging
In saying all of this I realise I am incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing partner. I really should show him more loving than I do but after a day of being needed its nice to just be alone and enjoy some adult company. I am sure that it will improve once the kids are older but I cannot be anymore grateful for the patience he has showed me. Trust me I can be a challenging person. Our middle two have my stubbornness. It actually kills me. It has also helped that our children all pretty relaxed and independent. I guess they have to be. I simply don’t have the time to do everything for them. I once had a woman say that the best way to raise a child is to parent as if you had four. She said that is how much attention they should be getting. Lucky that.
That day I realised I mustn’t be doing too badly.
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version