An open letter to the new mum on a walk….

We saw you today, passed you in fact, as we were out on a ‘walk’ with our toddlers.

You were pushing a brand new pushchair around with a bundle of joy inside with your mother at your side. We saw the look in your eyes and in your face. As a moment of Deja view, we saw our past. In that instant our past dreams and current realities collided in a cataclysmic explosion.

In your quick expression and glance at our daughters, we saw you think: “That’ll be me one day – Walking around with a friend, our children playing together nicely up ahead. I can’t wait till that day”.

Two girls on a bridge

We looked like we had our shit together

To her, we were the vision of a perfect future. In that snapshot, she saw two mums chatting and two daughters walking ahead nicely. We looked like we had our shit together. That things get better.

In reality, we did not have our shit together. In fact I think we stood in it a while back on the never ending walk.

To the untrained eye, in that moment our children looked like angels. For those that had been following our walk would have seen a completely different but very ordinary story:

It started with our very own unrealistic expectations of going on a walk with a toddler. With scooters. In our head, we were creating a beautiful situation where the girls could get some fresh air and we could catch up.

The reality? The girls rarely have 10 minutes free from playing a game of ‘tag, I’ll be crazy for the next 15 minutes and demanding cuddles/snacks/being carrying around’.

This week, our walk started with the slowest scooting you’ve ever seen in your life. “Look mummy, a tree”. Yes, there are MANY trees/bugs/flowers that apparently need stopping for a close up examination.

Now, I love seeing the enthusiasm for the everyday item from my daughter. It’s beautiful isn’t it? But there is only so much feigned enthusiasm you can show when you have a fair walk to go. There’s only so many distraction techniques you physically have inside to try and push them onward before you run out of juice.

The scooter was confiscated

With patience wearing dangerously thin – and a fair walk to go, the scooter was confiscated. Which meant that of course I was carrying her scooter around for the duration of the walk like a human buckaroo.

This also meant that we had a meltdown over said scooter as she wanted to scoot. Although she obviously didn’t want to scoot as the world was too magical to look at.

Next up, when we’d just gotten over that hurdle and started to walk nicely, cuddles were demanded.

Her friend also interjected at this point to ask for snacks, cuddles and to be carried from her mummy. The girls had obviously had words earlier as Georgia had pulled that exact stunt with me the week before. Which meant that I was carrying around a 2 stone toddler halfway around a wood. Unfortunately my Fitbit did not give me any extra points for my orangutan armed effort with that one.

We then also had a meltdown in the middle of what should have been a distracting activity of going over a rope bride… not the safest place to have a meltdown we can assure you.

You saw our interlude

What you saw was the 2 minute interlude in the above mayhem that is our everyday lives. When they were mildly distracted from their current whine.

But we’ve been you.

We used to take this walk together when our daughters were in pushchairs – while they were all drifting happily in a deep sleep – and we’d dream of how nice it would be when they were older.

What we were forgetting was how GORGEOUS it is when they’re in their pushchairs. When you only have to push around a pushchair and not have to constantly shout out to not do this, not do that, to walk quicker, to not fall into a ditch. To not lick a stone.

We spent so much of our maternity leave on such walks, in our sleep-deprived state dreaming of what’s next. We forgot to really cherish how important that stage was. One child. One pushchair – not lumbering along, struggling with a bag, a scooter and various ‘things’, sometimes including a toddler.

We had that look once

So in that moment, we recognised your look. We had that look once too. We saw people out with their well-behaved toddlers and thought – Yes. That will be us.

To a certain extent it is us. For about 10 minutes on our 100 minute walk (this walk used to take us 15 minutes with just pushchairs), the girls were perfect. They were playing at running ahead. They were holding hands and being cute. They were letting us breathe and compose ourselves a little.

That’s what you saw.

You saw us looking content because we were having a very rare moment of peace in an otherwise chaotic life. You saw us gulping for air and cherishing the moment.

Don’t worry. It’s not all doom and gloom. With all the extra worry and literal baggage that comes with going on a walk with a toddler, there’s also some magical moments that make it all worthwhile.

What makes up for all of the rubbish things that happened on the walk – other than the 10 minutes of running ahead nicely together – was this statement from Georgia at lunch:

[Said while holding a shoe that she’d just taken off to her face:] “This isn’t a trumpet.”

No darling. It’s not.

Comments 28

  1. I can really relate to this on both sides! I remember being the scared mum with her newborn and now I see women with their new babies and want to say she’s doing a brilliant job and we’re not superheroes no matter how much we look like we have our s**t together xx #fortheloveofblog

  2. Haha! I totally get this. I too used to look forward. Now I look backward! Not really….
    Now my twins are 3.5 this stage comes with oh so many challenges when it comes to walks etc. I’ve put a ban on scooters unless daddy is there too. Carrying 2 scooters whilst chasing 2 toddlers is not fun on your own! And I totally get the faked enjoyment in what they see and do! It gets so tedious doesn’t it?! But I know when they’re older, with again different challenges, I’ll look back and think oh those were the days, when they’d find joys in simple things, and all I had to carry were two scooters and not pushing two full size bikes around! Ha! We’ll never win will we?

  3. Oh a captured moment of sheer joy and perfection. So well written kelly as this is a reminder to all of us about that deemed ‘perfect’ life. Just like those captured moments on Instagram that show a very different life to the one perhaps being lived. Loved your closing line!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. A toddler walk is never straightforward, is it? I remember looking at mums out talking with older kids and, in the haze of newborn sleeplessness, not quite believing it would ever be like that. But of course, toddlerhood comes with its own challenges! Like how to stop them from running off and chasing pigeons. #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. Lol, great quote! Scooting drives me crazy, they really want to scoot, which lasts normally for around 2 mins, then as you say you end up carrying the thing, or they fall off then you have to deal with grazed knees. Its hard to remember them being so small and easy to look after (i’d never thought easy would be said). I think you always look to the next stage though, we do forget to cherish the time we are in, its a good reminder. xx #fortheloveofBLOG

  6. I remember so well looking longingly at other mothers who seemed to have their sh*t together, while their kids played independently and I couldn’t ever imagine it being me. I used to wonder how long will it be till I can walk through the park feeling in control. And now my kids are 10, 9 and 6 and I feel far from being in control at all – I wonder if you ever do? It’s a good reminder though of how we all felt way back then. #fortheloveofBLOG

  7. I love when I look at pics from a year ago today. Such blissful looking images! Two mins later there was a child war probably but the image doesn’t say that!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  8. Hah! Yes, that look. I used to have that look of hope and determination when my angelic daughter slept through at 12 weeks old, never had a dummy, and teethed without any dramas at all. No stropping, no terrible twos, or threenager behaviour. Then we had our son. What a bastard. A loveable, delightful, stroppy, difficult, energetic bastard that ran us ragged. I’m pretty sure I had a full head of hair when he was born! He brought us down to reality very quickly lol

  9. That’s like every walk ever taken with a toddler. My 3 year old insists on walking and leaving the pram at home, then wants carried but she weighs a ton, then when she is happy to walk its either at the speed of a snail or a cheetah, there’s no in between. There’s no chance anyone would mistake me for having my shit together! #fortheloveofblog

  10. Totally remember being a mom to a newborn and thinking that I’d have it all sorted. I’d have this parenting malarkey down. Fast forward three years, I just now understand that kids constantly change and whilst it doesn’t get easier, i just understand how to deal with it #fortheloveofblog

  11. I remember well! And now that I have two kids, I can relate to both sides. And I can tell: we might look like we have our shit together, but we never really. Sometimes both of them are crying and I run around not knowing what I’m doing! Even when I sit down and think we have our shit together, the next moment something happens, it’s just always like that 🙂 #fortheloveofblog

  12. I’ve felt like this so many times. I’ll look at someone and think ‘why can’t I have my shit together like them?’ but also seen mums out loosing their shit whilst my daughter looks incredibly angelic for all of 5 minutes. I think it brings home the fact that we all have good days and bad days and very mixed up days!! x

  13. Yep, I’ve been there. Once they got that walking and not wanting the pushchair stage everything takes so much longer doesn’t it! We’re still firmly in the pram zone with number two, I don’t fancy the school run when that ends!!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  14. Love this post. I think we’re right in the middle of these two phases right now. Too big to sit patiently in a stroller, can’t be trusted to roam free. Thanks for having me as co-host on #fortheloveofBLOG this week.

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