I wanted to share with you a little sneak into the type of day that we usually have, although everyday is different let’s be honest... but there is some form of structure that we aim to keep to. Not only for our children but also ourselves. Otherwise let’s face it, we would go insane.
“I don’t know how you do it!”
Is one of the main things I get on the daily. Before I share my daily rhythm, I want to put a disclaimer here and say...hands, many hands. A lot of practical; hands on support from family, friends and my partner; that is how. Without them I would not be able to run the studio business and show up as a new mother of three. It would be an impossible task!
I’ll have to start from when I go to bed because really that’s when the day begins, everything feels so backwards.
Bedtime is around 9pm. Dean stays up and does the last night feed around 11pm and I get to sleep until the boys wake up for their early morning feed between 1:30am and 2:30am. I feed the boys; put them down (lucky for us they are good at going back down no problem) pump if I need to, clean bottles and get back into bed by 3/330am. I’m then up again by 5:30am for their next feed. It is then just a repeat of the last debacle. I usually get back to sleep but Atlas usually always is fussing by then so he will come to our bed and we will manage to get an extra hour to sleep thanx to boobs. If I don’t get back to sleep, I put the oats and coffee on and start a fire for the boys to stare at (they love it).
We are all up by 7; Dean gets Frances ready for school. Dean does the morning drop off. I do another feed as they head off around 7:45 Then do some play time with them for a bit. Then they go down for their first nap of the day...they are better night sleepers than day sleepers but I get them down. Somehow. Or don’t. I’ve been making a more conscious effort during this early morning quiet to take it slow, very slow. If I have to answer some mails I will: but a lot of the time I spend these small gaps relaxing or at least trying to: they are awake soon after. Or take turns to be awake. So really it leaves little to no time for much else. They boys feed 3 hourly and it can sometimes just feel like a never ending day of feeding. But some days feel more spacious than others. They take around three naps a day, one of those a naps usually a nice long one but it’s always a little touch and go.
There is always work to be done when you own a business; but there really isn’t much else I’m able to do when I’m with the boys; so I don’t. I just am with them; and it’s the best! I mean I always have some oil paints set up on the stoep so if I feel like it I play a bit, but almost always I have other things to do or the babies aren’t very settled. Sometimes I get 20 minutes in which is huge.
530 rolls in fast and it’s bath bottle bed! Always a bit chaotic but we get through it. The house is generally quiet by 6pm and Dean, Frances and I are able to decompress a little and have dinner together.
Two-three nights a week once they boys are down at 6pm and the house is quiet I take myself downstairs to paint. I get at least 1-2 hours of solid painting done. When you have that sort of time to yourself as a parent. It’s truly incredible what can get done.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are full work days for me; our nanny arrives at 9am and I head down to the studio to paint and do some marketing planning. I’ll usually have around four hours of uninterrupted work time, which is always more than enough for me.
I’m trying to be gentle on my postpartum body and soak in all the little baby things that I know I will miss a year from now. Things are always a lot more chaotic than they seem. Trust me. I do not have it all together. I work hard, so I’ll take that. But truly, It’s chaos here. A lot of the time I wish I could just stop completely. Because sometimes (everyday) it’s just like “woah”…I’m grieving a lot still. I am grieving just the three of us. I am grieving a pregnancy I did not get to finish. I’m processing a life changing birth. But I’m pushing through because thats just what needs to be done. We’ve just got to keep going, but we all know how that goes.
So, there is our rhythm, to an extent. It feels manageable and chaotic all at once. There is joy here. It is weaved into the blur and baby screams, but there is joy <3
All images by Sophie Smith