Thursday, January 5, 2012

What it means to be a mom...

What it means to be a mom...
of three kids -
a 2.5-year-old, and 2 six month old twins
Did anyone else need a vacation after their vacation?

I was soooooo exhausted. Aiden and Isabella have really been struggling with sleep, so getting up at 4 or 5 am really took a toll on me. Mr. Howard had to work for almost the whole break, which left me to run around like a crazy person. I did get to take one break once when my sister and Rebecca took the babies for about 2 and a half hours so I could cook, clean, and get ready for Christmas Eve. I got a second break the day before Christmas Eve when I went to make tamales (poor Mr. Howard went to work at 3am that morning though and watched the babies for me in the afternoon).
I try really hard not to complain because we are SO blessed, SOOOO blessed. But man-oh-man, there are days when I think about how easy my life was a few years ago and how I didn't take advantage of it.

Sometimes being an adult stinks (cleaning, cooking, paying bills...). Right?

The last few days of my "vacation" were spent trying to watch three kiddos 2.5 and younger, do laundry, put Christmas gifts away, watch three kiddos, do laundry, clean the floors, watch three kiddos, wash sheets, and do last minute winter activites (like decorating the gingerbread men and making a book of all the Christmas cards). Did I mention I was also trying to watch three kiddos? Ha! Needless to say, when my friend Susan called to tell me she was bummed about going back to work, I thought to myself and may have said out loud a little too emphatically Really? Because it'll be a nice break for me! Haha! It's reason number 4,369,236 why I was not built to be a stay at home mama. All you mamas who stay home with kids full time AND have happy households AND clean laundry AND clean floors AND do these amazing projects... are my heros! If I even run to get the laundry out of the dryer, Connor's drawing on the wall with crayon (where he finds the crayons I have no idea!) or throwing my laundry all over the house, while saying loudly "Mama!! Helping!!!" Then right when I get Connor to pick up the laundry, shake off the dog-hair, and wipe off the crayon from the wall, a baby starts to throw up...or scream...or Connor decides he wants to help me with a baby by grabbing Aiden's foot and dragging him across the couch. And then I get Connor to stop "helping," Aiden to stop crying, and Izzy to sit up in her bumbo chair, and the dogs go crazy because some carpet salesman knocked on the door to sell me carpet cleaner. You think I'm kidding, but all of those are real stories.

My friend Jen laughed when she came and visited us and saw my blowdryer in the kitchen. But that's the reality. I regularly shower with Connor, if I don't wake up at 5:30am to do it before he gets up. Oftentimes the babies are crying while we're showering. I blowdry my hair in the kitchen so I can watch Connor. I do my make-up in the kitchen with a 2 inch mirror, so I can watch Connor. I have to plan an hour before I leave somewhere so I can start changing babies, packing three kids (diapers, formula, bottles, changes of clothes) up, putting them in seats, and carrying them in shifts to the car. I eat standing up, often over the sink quickly while Connor is in his high chair.

Sometimes I let my babies cry for a minute (or five) until I can get to them. Regularly I give Aiden Izzy's bottle and vice versa. Regularly I leave Connor and the babies in their pajamas until we have to go somewhere. Sometimes I think about playing "hide and seek" with Connor, so I can go in a quiet, dark place and take a nap. Sometimes I wish I was better at asking for help. Regularly I think that those men and women who have their spouse home with them on the weekends need to stay FAR AWAY FROM me or I might just steal their life and tell them they are never ever ever ever allowed to complain ever (and then, I get enough sleep and remember that I'm being silly). And almost every single time we go out and fifty people stare at us and say, "Wow you have your hands full" I think to myself, "You have no idea how blessed we are. How wonderfully, unbelievably, unequivocably blessed we are!!!"
I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. My house is not always clean. But my kids are loved. Boy are they loved!!! And they are valued. And appreciated. They get a million kisses. They hear 500 times a day "I love you." We talk to them. We involve them. We teach them. And I'm at peace with the things I don't do. Can't do. 

Despite the craziness, I would not trade my life with ANYONE (not even my carefree self pre house to-do's, pre bills, pre financial strugges). I am at such peace with the craziness. I have fully learned the artful Mama skill of letting things go. Connor stands in the booths at restaurants. Whatever. Several years ago with no kids of my own, I might have uttered that phrase that makes my new self cringe, "I would NEVER let MY child do THAT." Haha! Battles. That's what I've learned. Do I want to fight this battle? Do I care? Connor drives his trucks on the wall. Again. Battles. I could fight it. I could. I could tell him no and then time him out everytime he did it. Or I could realize that such is my life right now and evaluate really what it is that he's doing. I regularly ask myself, "Is he hurting anyone? Is he destroying anything? Is this going to affect what kind of character he's going to have or what kind of friend he will be? Will doing this make him unable to understand discipline and boundaries? If the answer is no to any of those things, I have learned to let go.
Daddy got thrown up on and then got mad when I started laughing!

I think it's important to teach my children discipline and boundaries and respect, but I've also learned that I am not perfect and I can't do it all on my own.

Thankfully I have a partner who is kind and loving and a wonderful father. Thankfully I have friends who listen to me. Thankfully I have family who agree to help to give us a break (like my sister who's coming this weekend to let Mr. Howard and I go on a date!!!).

And I cannot say this enough, but I am blessed. I have such a full life. I may not be perfect; My kids may not be perfect; But God has given me the perfect amount of peace about it all.
I've done similar posts to this. Here's my Confessions of a New Mama from when Connor was 7 months old.  Confessions of a Mom and Wife from right around this time last year in 2010.

What are your confessions?


The Schult Family said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am glad you find peace in life's craziness...You are an amazing Mama - and friend, too :)...D

Daddy's Dream ~Mommy's Miracle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Can I change the names in this and repost??!! haha the life!!

World of Waxes said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this post and its honesty. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed being a mama to 3 kiddos and working 2 jobs. But like you I am blessed!

LittleDreamer said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I know I'm not a mom, but in some ways I sooo get this. It's more important to focus on what lasts in life, rather than a perfect house, folded laundry, meal plan for the entire week, etc. (though those things are definitely nice!) Being a perfectionist, it's been hard for me to let some of this go, and while I do have my moments, I at least understand the principle.
Since I'm learning some life lessons now, we'll see how they hold up when I do have a family!

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