Friday, 28 June 2013

Loving according to your Personality

There seems to be an image in the popular conscience, of twins getting on well, all the time. As the mother of 2 year old twins, I can tell you that this is a myth. Twins squabble, yell, argue, and shove just like any other siblings. I know my twins love each other, and most of the time they will play happily together, but not all the time.

Usually, when a spat takes place, it goes something like this; Molly will be playing happily, with a toy, by herself. Gareth will take said toy/ try to play with her/ try to hug or kiss her. Molly will throw toy/ scream/ burst into tears. Being a very noise-sensitive person, the screaming does sometimes make me wish I could leave my ears somewhere for a while, but on the other hand, while screaming is ear-splitting, it's much less suspicious than silence.

I'll admit, I don't always react well to these spats, or to the occasional tantrums, or to putting the clothes in the bathroom waiting to go into the laundry into the freshly run bath....

...or to the porridge in the hair, the strawberries in the shoes, the toast down the cushion of the sofa.

I love my kids, but some days, their bed time is my favourite part of the day.

I love my husband, but some little things he does exasperate me. He loves me, but likewise, there are things I do that drive him batty.

I used to think that being a loving, Catholic Wife and Mother meant being endlessly patient, softly spoken, tireless, accomodating, and well, frankly, a little bit wishy-washy. I was trying to live up to a sanctified, sanitised vision of womanhood, that frankly, my natural temperament was never going to be able to achieve.

Like anyone else, I have plenty of aspects of my character that aren't always positive. I can be stubborn, insular, impatient and bad tempered. I used to think that any time I allowed any of these traits to rear their ugly head (and frankly, at least one does every day), it would make me a Terrible Wife and Mother. You know what? They don't, they just make me human. Just like when kids act up, or argue, it doesn't make them bad, it just makes them human.

We are not perfect, and we will not always love perfectly. We should all strive to be loving, to keep our tempers in check, to bite back words that might be hurtful. We should try to do things graciously, without rolling our eyes or thinking 'Why can't they do it?'

But nor should we beat ourselves up when we slip. It achieves nothing, it rarely improves things, and I've found that if anything, the self-directed anger, and the guilt I feel actually impacts negatively on my family.

So, I will simply do my best, and love my engaging imperfect family, in my own imperfect way.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Season for Everything.

Everyone knows 2 year olds can be, well, challenging. Having 2 year old twins, well, that's another story. I don't know what's more frustrating, the times when they work together as a team to thwart mummy's every attempt to exert some sort of authority; or the times when they are in full melt down over totally different things, and the only way of deciding who to deal with first is trying to work out from which mouth the most ear-splitting screams are sounding.

Toddlerhood, like any other stage of life, is a season. A gale-force wind, stormy, blow you off your feet one at times, but it's a season.

And like any season, there will be good days and bad, fair days and foul. There will be days of basking in the warm glow of them playing nicely together, eating their dinner without argument, and responding well to requests. There will be the rainy days of not feeling well. There will be the stormy days of spectacular, force-of-nature, temper tantrums. Just like the British weather, the toddler barometer can swing without warning.

It's ok. It's a season, and it changes day by day. Sometimes, you can easily see improvement. Like yesterday, when I walked them to my mum's house 10 minutes away. I took the stroller for back up, but they walked. They came when I told them, they didn't push each other over, no one tried to run off. When I told one to wait, they did. Just a month ago, I attempted a similar jaunt, and they both had a meltdown less than 5 yards from the house.

Frustrating though it is sometimes, when vegetables are pulled out of cupboards, blocks emptied out of boxes, and lipsticks taken from handbags; I try to remember that this is a season, and they're behaving as 2 year olds will. Socks down the toilet, shoes, books, and whatever else is to hand in the bath. It's all part of being 2. Of course it can be incredibly frustrating, but we can no more change the pattern of the seasons of life, than we can change the seasons of weather.

So, I will bask in the sunny days, brace myself against the storms, and enjoy the wild, exhilarating beauty of this season.