As with any big organisational change, it seems fitting for me to do a review of this whole ‘Having three kids instead of the perfectly rational two kids that most other people have’ malarkey. An audit if you like.
Being an official report; I have broken it down into easy-to-digest sections for the auditors.
Section 1: Emotional wellbeing of the team members.
Anyone who has met me for the first time since I’ve had Ellis have been sorely misled as to what kind of person I am. I realise to my horror that I may come across as smiley/perpetually optimistic at best and off my face on Ecstacy at worst. But here’s the thing… I’m in love. Full-on, stomach-flipping, chest-swelling, heart-eye-emoji-style in love. I keep waiting to go off him a bit. You know, notice he’s got bad breath or that he makes that minging noise when he chews… but it’s just not happening. I’m all in here.
And for Dylan and Jonah, he is officially their first love. Every morning it’s like he’s just been born again (in a non happy-clappy praise Jesus type way). Their faces light up and they turn to mush the way they did the very first time they clapped eyes on him.
Same for Rob. There is no third baby, ‘done this all before’ fatigue… just uncomplicated love, less tinged with worry this time around.
Section 2: Continuing Professional Development
Many people seem to view me as some sort of expert now. They say to me, ‘you can tell me about what to do here; you’ll definitely have experienced this.’ Not true. I’m still pretty shit at some stuff and pretty fantastic at other stuff. Motherly things I’ve got better at in the last year include:
* breaking up physical fights
* wiping an arse while tying a shoelace while spooning porridge into a mouth
*not giving a shit how other people rate my motherly skills (or lack of them)
In terms of the kids, their Continuing Professional Development has mainly comprised of learning to do things for themselves because Mammy always has a baby on her boob/in her arms. There have been some hits (Dylan has become an ace tidier-upper) and some misses (Jonah’s solo bum-wiping leaves a LOT to be desired) but on the whole having Ellis has made them more independent and less selfish.
Section 3: Financial Implications
I’ll level with you here. This is the shit part. As all my friends who have got their two kids in school now get back to immersing themselves in their career; I’m right back where I started pre-children.
Most jobs in my sector seem to be so badly paid they are not worth it once you factor in childcare of three kids…
If anyone is looking for me I’ll be in Denmark where it’s all free until they start school.
Section 4: Outcomes
Sometimes I look at my kids sitting round the table, or playing in the garden and I think; ‘Fucking hell. There are shitloads of them.’ I try to prevent the panic setting in by listing in my head other people who have four kids and who are still functional members of society. Look at Angelina Jolie. Breezing through JFK with all 17 kids in tow, popping into a film premiere before giving a speech on Female Genital Mutilation at the UN. She manages doesn’t she!? And as we all know I am very similar to Ange.
Sometimes I’m just knackered from the sheer volume of stuff (both emotional and practical) that they require from me every single minute of the day. And you know that crap joke parents make along the lines of ‘Woohoo! Went to Sainsbury’s and got back with both kids and we’re all still alive!?‘. Well that is not a joke anymore. Out of three kids, one of them is always just about to step into the road, just about to jam their fingers in a fucking fire door or just about to eat something out of a bin.
With every child; I have felt more #blessed. But also more vulnerable.
I have this underlying feeling of foreboding. Even on the days when they have driven me up the wall and I would gladly check myself into a psychiatric unit, I still feel like I have too much. Like I got too lucky and something has to go wrong with this.
Section 5: Going forward
I thought it best to address this to the newest member of the organisation. So here goes…
Ellis. Beautiful happy boy. You have slotted into our company like an absolute dream; as if you were always destined for the role. I hate to break it to you, but you weren’t quite the employee I’d had in mind. I was specifically hoping to recruit a female candidate, by the name of Sadie. She would have her brother Jonah’s big brown eyes and her Daddy’s thick black hair and she would definitely be into ballet.
However on the first day; in all your blonde-haired, blue-eyed glory, you showed up instead! And boy am I glad you did. Never have I ever looked at you and wished you were anything but your perfect little self. You fill us all with joy, proper JOY every single day.
People ask me a lot whether on balance, I would recommend having a third child… I don’t have the answer for that. I can’t necessarily recommend having a third child; but I can highly recommend having an Ellis.