What a difference a year makes

Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age. This week Amy reflects on the last year and how she plans on spending 2013… 

‘Well, that was, erm, invigorating. Birthdays, Christmas, chocolates, visitors, parties, more chocolates, presents, presents, presents… December was quite a month, but we all survived, a little more hyper and a little less thin, and suddenly, here we are in a brand new year. As my husband and I kissed at midnight (having stayed up that late entirely by accident, donning my PJs to veg in front of the Olympic highlights show on TV only to notice too late that I hadn’t tidied up the toddler carnage and thereby, appropriately enough given my life, cleaning my way to the bells) we couldn’t help but reflect on what a difference a year makes.

This time in 2012, we’d only recently moved up to Scotland with 2 feisty toddlers and a tiny baby in tow. When I think of it now, I realise that the twins haven’t actually changed that much in the past year. They were smaller and chubbier, yes, but they were already fully-formed, little miniatures of the people they’re meant to be. I can’t seem to picture next New Year, when M will be a similar age. What will she be like? Who will she have turned into? She is already a bundle of personality, talkative, manic and affectionate, but come next year, she’ll be able to communicate properly with us and with her sisters. She’ll be in on everything, one of the gang, actually understanding what’s going on, rather than just delighting in the very existence of the game itself.

It’s already happening. She talks so well. ‘Read it to M!’ and ‘I finished!’ being her 2 latest phrases. And she’s beginning to really stand her ground, not allowing her sisters to push her around. G wrestled a Driver Dan model off her earlier today. At M’s scream, I rushed over, ready to right the wrong. But I wasn’t needed. There were no tears, no cries for Mummy. With a roar of anger, M simply wrestled it right back. She’s going to be a tough one, that kid. I just can’t wait to see it happen.

As my youngest baby transforms before my eyes, this year, I’m also looking forward to turning back into me just a little bit. I’ve been ‘Mummy’ for 3 years now, and I sometimes struggle to remember that independent woman I used to be. As though coming out of a daze, I’m starting to catch glimpses of her. With Granny or Daddy on hand, or the twins at playgroup, I get the odd morning off to go to an exercise class or head to the shops. Grabbing just a purse and keys to head out the front door always feels exhilarating, compared to the half-hour-minimum process of kitting out 3 small children, stuffing wipes and nappies and pants and spare clothes in an enormous change bag and getting everyone to cooperate long enough to actually get out the door. (Honestly, this process seems to get longer every day. Surely I should be getting better at it, more polished, more organised. But no, that door just keeps getting further and further away…).

With Daddy still off work, I headed into town the other morning to spend some Christmas vouchers in the sales. With not a single child in tow, I was a fast, efficient shopping machine, with all my vouchers spent, bags full of everything I needed, and latte in hand by 10am. As I sipped my coffee and ate a croissant without anyone holding my legs or ripping pastry out of my hand, I felt amazing. Laden with shopping, I headed home with a skip in my step. This is what used to make me happy. This is the old me

As I got to my front garden and looked through the living room window however, my buzz was totally overshadowed. The twins looked up from their game, waved and excitedly headed for the front door. Then M noticed me. The delighted smile that spread over her face was incredible. Her mummy was back and all was right with the world again. She was overjoyed. As all 3 girls descended on me for hugs (and to check my bags for presents) I realised that although I miss the old me, she just can’t compete. In 2013, I plan on spending a little more time on myself and enjoying time without my girls. But a little more time is all I need. The new me has far more fun.’

What hopes do you have for you and your family in 2013? Tell us in our comments section below or on Facebook.

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