“These days with three young kids many weeks pass by with such urgency…get the two-year-old out of her crib before she starts screaming, make breakfast, nurse the baby, drink coffee, fix ten snacks, get everybody dressed, drink coffee, change two diapers, make the grocery list, nurse the baby, run to the store, get the diapers washed and hung up to dry, drink coffee, pick up the toys scattered on the floor, nurse the baby, throw in a load of laundry, eat eat eat, vacuum all the crumbs night after night, nurse the baby, three songs, a prayer, tuck into bed, lights out, and count the hours in my head until the baby will wake to nurse, and start the day all over again.
It isn’t only the daily tasks, the sheer workload of raising three kids that is draining. It isn’t just that I don’t sit idle or rest at all anymore. It isn’t how my house is never clean anymore, or that I spend most of my time making food and then cleaning it up.
It’s the constant worry…
Am I listening enough? Am I paying attention? Am I present with them right now? Do they know I love them even when I get impatient and grumpy and frustrated? Am I generous with my time and energy and emotions?
Is it enough? Am I enough?
Our five-year-old has started to worry about things. She fixates on something and asks over and over if a feeling or a thought will go away. She worries that her hands will always feel sticky. She looks at me, eyes wide and teary, and asks why she worries about everything all the time. I cry with her, knowing deep down this struggle she feels.
I worry too.
This parenting thing? It is more than I ever dreamed. It is more work, more tiring, more rewarding, more worry filled, more amazing than I could have dreamed.
My heart has doubled…it has tripled, and it is bigger each day as it grows to hold all the love, all the worry, all the desires I have for these precious babies.
I feel stretched in ways I didn’t think I could be stretched, in ways I thought I could leave behind when we finally brought our precious four pound baby home from the hospital. I thought the worry, the questioning, the doubt and fear would fall away after we brought Hannah home after 35 weeks of stress and fear. But it hasn’t.”
These are stress filled words from my journal six years ago.
I was drowning in babies. It was all I ever wanted…to have a house filled with children after years of heartbreaking loss and waiting. But it was hard. Harder than I had imagined. I wanted to do it all. I wanted to be a perfect mom.
My five-year-old is now eleven and we have added one more adorable baby to the mix. She is fierce — our youngest — and if I thought I couldn’t be stretched anymore, I was wrong. These past six years have been hard, but the lessons they’ve brought are invaluable.
My heart has stretched with love for these four kids and for myself. I have been stretched to learn the value of my limits and all my ‘not enough-ness.’ As I have grown to embrace that I will never be a perfect mom, I have seen the worry of my ‘not good enough-ness’ start to wane. I won’t ever hit the perfect balance of self-care and caring for my kids. I will stay up too late in my quest for alone time. I will lose my temper with the kids and apologize more times than I count. I will admit my shortcomings and ask for grace. I will ask for help.