Parenting chaos

grandchildrenHaving just returned from Chicago, where we helped our daughter and son-in-law with their toddler and newborn, I am reminded of the chaos each family faces in such circumstances. Toddlers are beautiful little people, fun, engaging, eager to learn, chatty, and from time to time totally impossible. Adding a newborn to the mix is not only exhausting but also bewildering.

  • How did our relatively ordered life turn upside down so easily?
  • Why is it so difficult to find time for basics like a daily shower?
  • Which crying child should I attend to first?
  • How long will it take for some semblance of order to be reestablished.

Impossible questions to answer as every family is different. However, it is heartening to know that others have gone through the same stage.

So this post is for Lesley and Greg and their wonderful sons. It’s from a diary I kept when Lesley and her brother Brian were a similar age.

April 25, 1983

First day at home truly on my own (no nanny, no Ian, no Mom) and things went quite well. The trick is to remain calm and not to let the little things bother me – save it for the big things! It takes a long time to get ready in the morning – breakfast, clear dishes, shower, get everyone dressed, make the beds – and when all that was complete, I realized that I hadn’t really accomplished anything but merely got us to a state of being ready to accomplish something.

The main accomplishment for today was four loads of laundry, washed, dried and put away. The number of stairs I climbed was incredible – surely enough to lose a few of the extra pounds that I currently carry.

The worst time of the day was around dinner time when everyone was tired, hungry, etc. At that point I was relieved to put on the television and let Lesley watch for an hour while I was elsewhere.

Brian observations [6 weeks old] – a smoother day with a better eat-awake-sleep pattern than before. We have ‘smiling practice’ after feeding time these days and I’m constantly amazed at the variety of expressions he makes with his face.

Lesley observations [ 2 1/2] – she is indeed capable of amusing herself and was quite content to do that as long as every now and then she and I did something together. She discovered some old baby toys in the basement today and played quite happily with them while I did the laundry … she looks for hugs and physical contact with me especially when I’m feeding Brian.

I found myself becoming frustrated today when I realized how little I was able to do. I’ll have to scale down my expectations for a while.


And so, my dears, just remember that having two children takes time and patience and a sense of humour. Some days will frustrate, most will be filled with great joy. Your sons are such beautiful little people and you are wonderful parents.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION (and occasional personal posts!!) follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

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10 Responses

  1. Oh my,I remember those days – 15 months between my two. I had great plans, I’ll feed the baby and then I’ll play with her brother. All too soon I realized they often both wanted/needed me at the exact same time.

    I bet you are a wonderful grandma Mary.

  2. As I sit here gazing on the mound of laundry beside my writing desk, and considering the dishes piling the sink and counter tops, I’m thinking your day back in 1983 sounds pretty ideal. Lol!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. The year after my second child was born was one of the worst of my life. More because of work than family, but the balance was definitely off. I wish I’d kept a journal then. All I have are memories of how frantic it was. Best wishes to your daughter and family. My advice–remember this too shall pass, it gets easier.

    1. Good advice, Theresa. With children, everything comes in stages. The terrible twos are soon followed by the cooperative threes! I remember when we finally could go out of the house without a diaper bag! All best,

  4. Try 3 in 5 years. What was I thinking? To get through this stage so I could get out and follow my passion, singing opera.

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