Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Dog Days of Motherhood and Other Things About My Day.

I've got a million different ways I could start this and have tried to find the time to string these words and thoughts together for the last 2 months. Literally. These days I write when I can-- Carpool, 5 minutes in the bathroom, when I'm tied to a rocking chair-you get the gist-and I write because I kind of find it to be cathartic and stress releasing.
I will start, first, by saying that I love my life. I am richly blessed beyond what I deserve and I don't know why. I'm also a generally cheery person who loves to have fun, but takes healthy doses of "down-to-earth" on a regular basis. I don't call myself an optimist or pessimist, but a realistic optimist with the some pessimism looming in the corner rearing it's ugly head at times. I enjoy the small things in life, but realize the big picture can be daunting at times. My glass is always half full, but my plate is over filled. 

This picture says "Happy" but I see "Sleepy"
I'm writing this here so that I can look back here as a reminder of what my life looked like in this season and see how far I've come. And someday, when I'm through the thick of this fog, I can look at young momma's walking around in what they likely wore yesterday, covered in spit up, with cheeto dust in their hair and tell them "honey, I know. It's all going to be ok, let me buy your lunch" and finally, I write this so that someone reading can know that they, in fact, are not alone. And you're not. So here goes nothing...or everything. 

Everyone is busy. Everyone is tired. Everyone has a full plate. But I had forgotten what 5 months of rocky sleep will do to a person. It turns out, it's not so good. And whoever said that the jump from1 to 2 kids was the hardest, clearly didn't go on to have 3 or more. But the truth is. One is hard. 2 is hard. 3 is hard. 4 is hard--you get the gist. Parenting is hard.You go momma!
 What is also hard? Trying to do "life" while nursing every 3 hours, round the clock (yes, I chose this path), changing diapers, spit-up, blow outs, fuss fests, nap strikes, nursing strikes, and so on and so forth, but dang, shes cute. But why oh why won't she eat during the day? But dang, she's cute.

Let's add Homeschooling a first grader to the plate. The kid can't do anything independently (again, another choice. A choice I have been questioning since Christmas), being tied to a table for 4+ hours a day teaching a person, literally everything they know. Math, reading, phonics (don't even get me started), science, social studies, spelling and--my favorite--handwriting. FOR THE LOVE, BUMP THE LINE. Is it Summer yet?
 And then there is the preschooler who is around here somewhere. I just follow the mess trail to a big pile of my mom guilt, glitter and nail polish spills and there she will be. Bless her little heart. Middle child, she is.
  I then turn my head to see my husband who works 2 jobs to keep our world spinning. He is my rock, my dream catcher, my teenage dream. He is mighty fine, but sorry. That's gonna be a hard no from me, dog. 
Let's not forget groceries--the bane of my existence these days and pure torture when taking all 3-- and there's the laundry, keeping up with a house (Mrs. Mister Clean over here) and a floor that hasn't been mopped since Christmas, and cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the daily, except who am I kidding? It's cereal or ball field most nights... And that's just the basics. 
 Why don't we throw in a photography business with emails to answer, calendars to manage shoots to do and photos to edit. Again another choice, but it affords us the ability to do things we can't do otherwise. 

And baseball. Why? I ask myself every other day. Because my kid loves it, that's why. 

Oh crap. And ballet. Let's just remember to go. It's the one thing I can do for our girl...wherever she is.

And let's host small group. It's one of my only chances to talk with adults during the week, It stays. And it's our joy to do it.

But wait, when did I last shower? No worries! I'll just change my nursing pads, undies, slap on some gloss, throw on a hat and it's all good, because...That's a no from me dog.

And ya know what? Thank goodness for Social Media. It's the only view of the outside world right now, so yeah, I indulge.

I open my Bible, read a few verses and then a spill, a fall, or a fight. Get behind me, Satan. I go to work out and 15 minutes in, a spill, a fall, or a fight. The jiggle-y bits will stay for now. I go to lay down for a nap and then a spill, a fall, or a doorbell ring...I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Sister-friend, Have you ever felt like you're on an island, alone with your burdens and exhaustion? Your husband is around, but isn't tethered to that island like you are? There have been times that I have felt jealous of my husband. While he's equally as busy, his burdens are just as great, if not more so, he spins lots of plates, but he can freely roam. He isn't shackled. He can get on a plane this week and be free and he will be. He can drive somewhere without listening to the Moana soundtrack on repeat. He can eat with both hands. He can sleep and only knows of the rough nights when I give him a swift kick under the covers, or give him "the look" when he says "wow, last night was good, right?" Moms are always "on call" 24/7. 

 Yes, I've been there over these last few months. Even when we've gone out of town, I'm still shackled to that island. BUT while I may feel alone on that island, I know I'm not. In the dark of night (sometimes 2 or 3 times), I have time with my Lord and last baby. I remind myself the He promises to give rest to the weary and He grants sleep to those he loves (Matt 11:28-29, Ps 127:1-2). There's my silver lining.

I have had days where things have not gone according to MY plans and my attitude has followed suit and it has spilled onto my little island like flood waters and that day has turned into days, that has turned into a week and the guilt has mounted like Everest. The weight of that ugly becomes so heavy that I remind myself that even a crack heads kid loves their mom (yes, I've thought this), I have to be better than that, right??? And then I have to step back. I'm doing the best I can. I will screw up, I will ask forgiveness of my husband, of my kids and of my Lord. He always forgives. Fresh slate.The Lord has given me this work. It's hard work, but good work. It's all gonna be OK. Like I said at the get go- I love my life. Like, really love my life. What you see from me is the real deal, but see this too and know that this high-on-life girl has lows too. This particular season has just been physically and mentally exhausting, but this too shall pass and too soon. This is the thick of it. The dog days of motherhood. I'm convinced that we will be at this Full Plate Buffet for quite some time. And just when I think the plate can't fill anymore, the server will give me a bigger plate and that one will fill up too. I know the table might look different and it'll be a new menu of options, and I will still be tired, but there is no tired like the new momma with young kids tired. Some day in the near future, I will sleep more than 3-4 hours at a time and I will have a little bit more time (maybe??) to write or shower or both, back to back! But tonight I will go to bed thinking "maybe the baby will sleep through the night? Or for at least 4 hours in a row!"
You're not alone, sweet mom! 

(excuse typos. Ain't no one got time fo dat)

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