On my list of ‘against’, one of the big doubts in my mind about trying for a third, was my own physical fitness. On a good day, when I’ve been eating well and getting enough rest, I am a committed and enthusiastic mum. Patience in bucketloads, good-natured about any little (or big) refusals/shouting/crying fits, and cheerful enough to manage both boys even when they are tired and hungry in an overcrowded supermarket.
But when I am tired, unhealthy, have been snacking on sugary cakes and biscuits and chocolate and fuelling myself on tea, tea and more tea, I am a terrible mum. Short-tempered and barely able to drag myself around the house to perform the bare minimum of regular feeding and nappy changes. I know that this is my fault, and then I feel all-consuming guilt when I snap at my eldest for drawing on the table.
So. I have a fear – how would I be with three? Managing a newborn on 4 hours sleep a night and coping with a toddler just starting to assert his own will leave me in tears day after day.
Therefore, in order to do this, I must be in the best shape of my life.
Better than when I ran the Great South Run (10 miles) 11 months after my eldest was born. Better than when I was living and working in London and I walked everywhere, everyday. Better than any health kick I have ever been on.
It is so easy to underestimate the demands of children, both physically and mentally. When you are fit and energetic you enjoy it more, they enjoy you more and everyone is happier.
So I’ve cut out the sugary stuff (sugar makes me restless at night and grumpy in the day) and have been trying to get decent amounts of protein, carbs and veg at each meal.
After almost a week of this, I am running around like a bright-eyed mad thing, playing with the boys, cleaning the house, having intelligent conversations with the husband (not just about having 3 kids), and laughing at stuff that would normally have had me rolling my eyes.
I just have to make sure I keep it this way.