Forest Gump said 'life is like a box of chocolates' but I think he was wrong.
Instead, I believe that life is like a giant game of Jenga.
Every brick that we lift and place to the top of the tower symbolises something that we want to achieve. Some of us want to a meet a partner and maybe get married and have a baby. For others, establishing and maintaining a good career, buying a house and having an active social life are high on the list.
For me, I wanted all of these things. Greedy as it may be.
So, I started lifting my bricks just after I left school and slowly began to build my tower. And when I met my husband some years later, we chose some bricks and started to build our own tower together.
Some bricks were heavier than others and achieving a good balance of all of these things was tricky at times but with sheer hard work, determination and steady hands, we saw our tower soar into the sky.
Then, we decided to have a baby.
We lifted the brick labelled 'Baby' and after much time and effort, we balanced it on top of our tower, and, you guessed it....
the tower came tumbling down.
Suddenly, everything that we had built was lying on the floor around our ankles and we had no idea what to do.
It was chaos!!
We were both knackered. We panicked about money. We would argue about stupid things ( like how many baby wipes it's acceptable to use when dealing with a baby's shart...I said 3, but he used 17).
Sex was off the table... and all other pieces of vomit-drenched furniture for that matter (not surprisingly) and we never went out as we couldn't justify paying a babysitter just to leave the house to sink a few Peronis.
What had we done??
Was having a baby a huge mistake??
But after the initial madness subsided, we found a free moment to examine our fallen bricks, and we decided to start rebuilding.
I must be honest, it took quite some time to rebuild, because it's much harder to build a giant tower when one of you is holding a howling baby in your arms and the other is working full time. And let's just say that energy levels are low when you haven't slept properly in months.
Now, a couple of years later, I'm standing back admiring the tower that we have rebuilt which looks nothing like what we had before.
Now it is stronger and more beautiful than ever as it has two baby bricks right in the heart of it.
The madness is finally over and everything is so much easier now that we have learnt to balance all of our bricks.
So, for those of you who are drowning in a pile of bricks whilst holding a young baby, I just want you to know that it won't be this hard forever.
After the initial collapse of your tower, you will eventually find the time and effort to rebuild and reach the light at the end of what seems to be the longest tunnel of shit-stained nappies and projectile vomit imaginable.
The events of the last week made me see that my life is getting much easier.
Here's what happened:
1. After changing nappies and wiping bums for the last four years, my youngest son finally decided that he would like to defecate on a real toilet and not on the floor behind the door anymore. Furthermore, he now insists on wiping his own ass!
So, my ass-wiping/ shit-lifting days are OVER!! And yours will be soon. I promise.
2. On a recent trip to Morrisons, my child puked in the trolley and caught all of it with his own bare hands! Not a drop landed on me or the floor!! That's my boy! I just had to take him to the toilet to empty the contents out and wash his hands. Easy!
I'm longer getting puked on!! And soon, you won't be either.
3. I recently stopped by a pub on the way back from the beach with my family to have a quick drink and discovered that they had a bouncy castle in the beer garden charging £1 a go. My husband and I had absolutely no money on us and there was no cashback available so we had to break the news to our children that it wasn't possible to go on the bouncy castle.
And they said 'Ok, we understand'.
Just like that.
No meltdowns. No convulsing on the floor like a rabid street dancer infected with the 'Rage' virus in front of the general public.
My children have finally learnt to manage disappointment!! And yours will too.
Now, the only thing that keeps me up at night is a profound addiction to 'The Good Wife'. 'Date Night' is back on the table (and other items of disinfected furniture) and thanks to a trustworthy team of babysitters, my career is back on track.
My cardigan sleeves are snot free, I'm able to engage in a phone conversation for longer than 8 seconds without interruption and I have no longer have to cut cheese sandwiches into equilateral triangles before they will pass inspection and make it into my children's mouths.
Yes, thanks to pregnancy, my stomach is still smiling like the 'Grinch Who Stole Christmas', and this smile will undoubtedly never go away.
But my belly is smiling because it is happy....happy that it was such a perfect oven that baked and served my beautiful little boys who have turned out to be the best bricks that we ever added to our tower.
Sit tight and hang in there, it will get easier. Whether you're rebuilding your tower with your partner or by yourself, you'll get there and it will so be worth all of the effort.