By Sabrina Rogers-Anderson
Sabrina is a writer, author and mother to three girls, an eight-year-old and five-year-old twins. She shares how hard it was having three kids in less than three years and what she would do differently (maybe).
“I’m awake!” I shouted as my husband tapped me on the shoulder, rousing me from my six-second nap. I’d fallen asleep face first on the carpet while reaching for a nappy to change one of my twins. And it was only 8:04am.
I’d been powering through months of sleepless nights, but my body had finally given out (albeit only for a measly six seconds). Breastfeeding twins while trying to keep a very feisty toddler entertained was starting to take its toll.
I was so happy, though. I loved every minute of raising my crazy tribe. I could have put my girls in child care at an earlier age or for more days, but I didn’t want to miss a moment. So, I worked two days a week as a freelance writer and spent the rest of the time changing dirty nappies and singing Let It Go at the top of my lungs.
As time wore on, I became increasingly worn down. I didn’t stop from 4:30am when my early birds woke up until 10:30pm when I crashed into bed. Sometimes, I’d park my car and realise I had no recollection of driving there. I was starting to scare myself a little.
Work also started to pick up, so I tried to fit it in when the girls were napping or at night. We’d moved interstate when I was pregnant with the twins, so we didn’t have any family nearby to help out. A friend gently suggested that maybe I should increase their child care hours (my twins went two days a week and my big girl three days at that point), but I wasn’t ready to let go.
From supermum to mombie
One day, I was dropping my twins off at child care and one of them was super-clingy. She was howling that she didn’t want me to leave. I kept trying to hand her over to her lovely educator, but she was gripping my hair in both fists. I suddenly burst into tears and crumpled to the floor. The educator took my daughter from me while another ushered me into the staff room and made me a cup of tea.
“I’m so sorry,” I sobbed. “I’m just SO tired.” She squeezed my hand and said, “The girls are so happy here, do you want me to find out if we have an extra day or two available for them?” I just nodded gratefully.
It takes a village
I ended up enrolling the twins three days a week and my big girl started school around the same time, so I finally got a little breathing room. I filled all my newfound free time with work, but I loved feeling productive and like my old self again.
After a couple of months, I bought a gift for the educators at my twins’ child care centre and wrote them a card. They were so touched by what I wrote that they framed it and put it up on the centre wall. Here’s what it said:
To my sisters,
How can I ever find the words to thank you for raising my children like your own? It takes a special type of human to love children purely from the heart like you do.
I’m so privileged to have you as my tribe. If only I’d realised earlier that you were worth your weight in gold, I might have saved myself a lot of exhaustion and heartache. I know now that I can trust you to wipe away my children’s tears, instil in them a sense of wonder, teach them that they can be anything they want to be and inspire them to reach for the sky.
Nothing compares to you.
Here’s my message to you, beautiful mamas: don’t try to be supermums at the expense of your wellbeing like I did. Your child’s beautiful educators are there to love and nurture them too. It really does take a village to raise a child, so reach out and let the Headstart educators help you. We’re all in this together.