Thursday, September 19, 2013

How We're {Really} Doing

A friend recently asked, “Can you believe it’s been 6 months?!”

Yes. Yes, I can believe it. 

For us, it has been a long, hard 6 months. Perhaps because it feels like we have been awake for most of it.

Having a baby is exhausting. Having a baby and a toddler and a preschooler is, well, even after searching the thesaurus I cannot find a word that adequately describes our level of fatigue.

Some people decide that having one child is what’s best for their family. Other families thrive with five. I think our optimal number was two.

Going from 0 to 1 child completely kicked my butt. Then I seemed to get the hang of it and going from 1 to 2 wasn’t nearly as difficult as I'd anticipated. In fact, I was doing pretty well with two. They were fed, clothed and bathed on a regular basis. I made my own baby food, played educational games with them and all the toys were sorted by category in their own picture-labeled bins.

And then number 3 came along. After the newness wore off and my Vicodin prescription ran out, I looked around at the wreckage that used to be my home and thought what. have. we. done???

(Incidentally, the boys couldn't be happier about their new sister, especially the fact that Mommy found it a little difficult to supervise them every minute of the day. They celebrated by creating a giant Cheese-It slip 'n slide in the kitchen. One-year-old Henry marked the occasion by eating his sister's umbilical cord.)

Needless to say, we’ve lowered our parenting standards just a tad.

Good-bye home-cooked, organic meals; dinner tonight is soup from a can! Kids, meet your new babysitter: his name is Television! Who needs to bathe every day? Not this family! Weekly baths sound good to me!

And I don’t feel guilty about it. (Ok, that’s a lie. I feel guilty constantly. It’s what we moms do best.)

If one more elderly lady approaches me in the grocery store and tells me to enjoy every minute of motherhood because it goes so fast, she is going to get a swift karate chop to the throat. (Ok, I wouldn't do that, but I will call her a meddling old hag…in my mind. So there.)

The other phrase I hear constantly whenever we go out in public is, “Wow, you’ve sure got your hands full.” Yes, I have a baby strapped to my chest and 2 bickering children crammed in the cart with barely enough room to fit anything else except maybe a tube of toothpaste and an apple. I do have my hands full, but this statement always strikes me as odd. As my most favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan says, "That's like me going up to a guy in a wheelchair and saying, 'Looks like you're not doing much dancing lately.'"

I normally muster half a smile and respond with “Yeah.” My friend Kaylyn suggested I come back with, “Yes, and my heart is full also.” (I tried it once. I was met with a blank stare.)

One time all 5 of us were at Lowe’s (taking up 2 carts) and a very refined gentleman sporting ripped jeans and a mullet felt it was his duty to weigh in with his enlightening opinion, “Well, y’all just don’t know when to stop now, do ya?  Y’all do know where babies come from, riiight? I can getcha a book on it!” (In this situation Kaylyn says the appropriate response would be for me to place my arm around my husband and remark, “Well, look at this stud! Can you blame me?”)

Yes, it has been a difficult transition and friends often ask me how I’m doing. I'm never quite sure how to respond.

Do I go with overly optimistic? Oh, we are doing wonderful! We are just so grateful for our 3 little blessings and I am so incredibly fortunate that I get to be with them EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF THE DAY!!” (Maybe not. With that degree of cheeriness I might be the one getting karate chopped in the throat.)


The reality is a combination of the two.  I normally just tell people, “We’re doing good.” And you know? We really are.

It’s been a learning curve and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that I can’t do it all. And I can’t do it on my own. It takes the proverbial village.

My dear, sweet husband, often after putting in 10+ hours at work, comes home and dives right in to the household duties. He will do bath time, bed time, dishes, laundry or whatever else is needed. As Jack says, “Daddy’s a BEAST!”

Friends have delivered meals to our doorstep and family members have pitched in every way possible and WE. ARE. SO. GRATEFUL.

And there’s Jesus. He’s helped too.
I’ve done a lot of praying over the past few months. At first, my prayers went like this:

God, puh-leeease make her go to sleep!

Lord, if you would just make them all stop screaming for 5 minutes, I promise to only let them watch Christian videos!

Really, God?? Projectile poop?!? That’s actually a thing!?!?!

Then, one morning, somewhere around month 4, I was feeling particularly desperate. Lord, I’m not expecting it to be easy, but is it always going to feel like so…much…work?? Am I going to have to give myself a pep-talk to get out of bed every day for the next 18 years??

And then it dawned on me. Instead of asking God to make my life easier, why not ask him to help me love the life I have?

Because, after all, there is a whole lot to love.

A verse immediately came to mind, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” I Thess. 5:16-18

And I have been dwelling in those words.

I’m noticing the smiles instead of the stains. I’m thankful for the falls and the fights because I have the privilege to help them back up and point them to Him. The sleep deprivation hardly even bothers me any more (totally kidding, it still sucks).

When our biggest problem in life is the chaos created by our 3 beautiful, healthy children, we really can't complain.

There are still (many) moments like this:
Can't a momma get a potty break??

But I’m choosing to focus on the ones like this:

So how have we been doing?

It’s been a long 6 months. It’s been a hard 6 months. It’s been a fantastic 6 months.

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog, and I am loving it. I had my first 3 in 3 1/2 years, and we just had #4. =) I can totally relate to a lot of what you share.