Thursday, September 27, 2012

Delaying the Crazy {a reminder to myself}

Children are just precious.

Sometimes I need that reminder, ya know? My kids are in a somewhat challenging phase (aren't we all?) You'd think that in the nearly 6 years .... (Sorry, I had to follow the nearly 6 year old to the office where I had to take the open markers away from the 18 month old who was drawing all over himself and a cushion, replace the wireless router USB thingy that my 3 year old takes out every day, and clean up a pile of blocks that are not supposed to be out of the box.)

Anyway, you'd think that 6 years worth of constant (reminding 3YO to change from jammies and retrieving pretty rocks from 18MO) episodes like this (helping 3YO take off jammie shirt), I would be thoroughly cray-cray. Hubster frequently marvels at my continued semi-sanity. Thanks, Hon!

I mean, every mother knows that a certain portion of brain cells are lost with each pregnancy and each month of breastfeeding. After 3 pregnancies and 49 months and counting of nursing (not continuous), I've lost more than my fair share.

And there has got to be something mind-melting about saying the same things every. single. day. "Be kind to each other!" "Don't tackle your little brother!" "Please don't ask me again; your whining will not change my mind." "You may not get food from the pantry without permission." "I'm sorry that you don't like school, you must do your work anyway." "Please don't put things in your mouth that are not food." "Do not jump from the back of the furniture - that's a bad example for your brother." .....

Everyone with grown children (disrobing the 18MO) reminds moms like me to, "Cherish these years." "They are only young once." "Let children be children." "You'll miss these days when they are grown."

I appreciate the sentiments, really I do (helping with shoes). But can I just say, right now, that is easier said than done. And I do cherish the hugs and cuddles, the lullabies and the sweet faces. But at the end of a long, hard, trying day, I have been known to turn to my husband and say, "I change my mind on this whole stay-at-home-mom thing. Help me with my resumé."

(Diaper change and clothes and shoes for 18MO)

The youngest doesn't sleep well at night (that's an understatement, I won't torture you with details), the 3 year old is testing boundaries and perfecting feigned deafness and forgetfulness, and the oldest tries her darnedest to act 13 all the time. Everyday brings such struggles as messes every 10 minutes, digging various foreign objects from child orifices, arguing with the 5 year old who already has the attorney skills of her lawyer father to the extent that I must resort to the "Because I said so and I'm your mother" card on a frighteningly regular basis.

(Time for errands and surprise lunch with Daddy - that's one benefit of the whole SAHM gig!)

We have chosen to homeschool (for now at least), so there's not that break either, just additional effort on my part (getting water in the sippy cup and reminding 3YO to wash his hands). And for those of you naive enough to think that homeschooling means (retrieving my purse from 3YO and answering questions from 5 YO) tons of leisure and free time, I just laugh, thinking of soccer 3 days a week, grocery shopping with 3 kids, trying to clean house while messes are still in process, playdates, trips to the library, family visits, errands (breaking up the funnoodle sword fight and taking away the pointed broken dowel that was making the fight unfair) all over town, art projects....

The thing is, I know in my head that all of this is just a stage, that it will pass into something different, and that my job now is just as important as my job was when they were newborns and will be when they are teens. That in no way negates the difficulty and struggles that we are facing now, and on some days makes me feel guilty that I feel like complaining and giving up.

Hubster and I have recently made it a point to pursue adult things - so that our lives are not completely consumed with Cheerios, Blue's Clues, Thomas, ABCs, and VeggieTales. He's a photographer (in fact, he's taken several of the pictures on the site and even in this post) and really delights in giving his clients pictures that they love. I have my running and Zumba twice a week - both give me a fantastic outlet, and I look forward especially to the Zumba and my Saturday long run with friends.

And then mid-week, when the toddler hasn't slept well the past 3 nights, meaning I haven't slept well, and I wake up in the dark before dawn to go run and I am pinned by a lightly-sleeping and very fussy body, and I nearly resent all the neediness, and I pray that if God intends us to raise another child He better give me a strong desire and more patience, etc. ahead of time...(OUCH! Hit by an errant funnoodle strike!) I feel trapped - literally and figuratively. Please tell me I'm not the only one....

But it is days like those (and these) that I remind myself that children really are precious, they really are a blessing, and I really do love the ones that the Lord has given us. I make myself agree with the above-mentioned sentiments, and I look at the pictures. Oh, the pictures take a snapshot of some of the best memories. It's the grins, the special moments, the sweet faces that hold the crazy at bay (along with a heaping dose of the grace of God!!) 

I especially love to see the pictures when the house is quiet - naptime or the rare moment I'm alone - and I almost start to miss them. I review the little notes and facebook posts that I've made with some of the really funny stuff the kids say. I watch the videos recording how they sing their favorite song or recite a verse they've worked so hard on. And I try to forget that they are in the stage where most of the words they say have something to do with poop or toots or toilets...ah the joys of a little boy and his tomboy sister...Heaven help me!

So, dear mother, maybe you are better off than I feel right now, and I pray that is the case. Or maybe things are tougher in your world, and I do acknowledge that my life really is good. No matter what, I sympathize. And while I don't have great words of wisdom, and most days I feel like I am literally drowning in this ginormous job of raising small people, I want you to know you are not alone. And I encourage you to find other moms to lift you up - husbands are great, but they don't totally completely understand.

And remember my other favorite tips - take lots of happy pictures, make silly videos, and write down those funny things. They say you'll cherish them when you are older, but they work now too, and are a lot cheaper than medication or psychiatric help. ;-)

Here's to delaying the cray-cray!!


  1. Just last night I told my team that sometimes I feel like I'm failing as a parent and just want out. Laura's first disciplinary action at school spurred this defeatist attitude in me.

    I say, "Is crying getting you want you want? Then stop it." about fifty times a day. David is the only one who stops crying.

    1. I hear you loud and clear! Are all the other soccer moms and dad judging me because their toddlers and preschoolers sit nicely nearby watching their big sisters play, while I'm constantly chasing my two boys in opposite directions? I don't know, but I just pretend it's exercise and move on with life. I do know that we can't second-guess ourselves with every decision or we really will go crazy!
      I found this pin today: and loved it.
      Oh, and by the way, crying rarely gets me what I want either. ;-p

  2. I find myself asking my husband on a regular basis....WHose idea was it to have all of these kids?? :-)