A recap from a night last week:
I got home at 5pm, just as my husband was heading out the door to work. My 5 year old, Bella, had been spending the afternoon at my mom’s house. So, I packed my 1 year old, Lottie, up in the car to go pick up big sister.
First, Lottie and I ran by a RedBox to return a movie we had watched the night before. Then we went to my mom’s, visited for a little bit, and then I loaded both kids in the car. From there we went to Target to pick up some items for a classroom basket for a silent auction at Bella’s preschool.
After Target, we went to the bank so I could drop some cash in the night deposit because I was tired of carrying it around for fear of losing it. I have become a complete scatterbrain since having my second child and I’m trying to keep it in check. Once we were done at the bank, we stopped by the playground.
Our playground excursion was short lived, we only stayed about 20 minutes. Truth be told, I was pretty much ready to go at that point anyway. Now that Bella is 5, she’s pretty manageable at the playground. Lottie is a different story. I spend my time watching Lottie like a hawk and chasing her around like a crazy person. I have to make sure she doesn’t step in front of a moving swing and get her teeth knocked out. She might stick something in her mouth that she will choke on because everything goes in that kid’s mouth. She might wander into the parking lot or into the ditch that runs alongside the playground. It’s exhausting having to chase her around, pick her up when she gets too close to the ditch, drag her away from the ditch, only to chase her right back over there again, and again, and again. The heart wants what it wants. Lottie’s heart wanted to be in that ditch. Ditch 4-eva.
Meanwhile, even though I’m chasing my 1 year old around, I still need to keep somewhat of an eye on my 5 year old because she still manages to get into trouble. She might be throwing rocks at some other kid or playing too rough with a smaller child. Plus I worry about her getting snatched up by a stranger because I watch the news (and probably too many crime shows). My point is, I have to be “on” all the time.
So anyway, I was chasing my ditch loving, rock eating 1 year old around and all of a sudden, there was Bella, racing across the grass to tell me that she just fell down in the mud. The ground was all soggy and muddy because it had been raining for a million years, or since Monday, whichever, same difference.
Anyway, so there she was, leaping through the grass to tell me she fell down in the mud (which was already obvious the second I looked at her) and she proceeded to slip and fall down in the mud, not one, not two, but three more times.
I cannot even describe how filthy she was. Luckily I had some baby wipes and a towel in the car but that wasn’t enough to get her clean. And wouldn’t you know it, I had just used her extra outfit that I keep in the trunk of my car and hadn’t replaced it, because of course. So there I was, the queen of mess-hating, with this mud covered kid in mud covered clothes. So I stripped off her clothes and put them in a plastic bag, wrapped her in the towel, and put her in her car seat.
By this time, Lottie was screaming because I had been focusing all my attention on Bella and she was ticked off about it. I drove both kids home, got them into the house, and immediately put Bella in the bath. In an attempt to keep Lottie out of the bathroom while I tried to get Bella clean, I distracted her with a snack. That snack happened to be blackberries because I’m trying to give them healthy snacks, yo, be a good mom and all that. What that meant was after about 5 minutes she was totally covered in blackberry juice. It was on her hands, her face, her neck, her hair, in her ears, everywhere. I ended up having to bathe both of them.
Then I got them both out of the tub and dried and lotioned and in their PJs and you would think it was like 10pm or something right? RIGHT? It was 7 freaking 30 and we hadn’t even had dinner yet. This is the point where I have to say: PROPS TO YOU STAY AT HOME MOMS, because I was done. I wasn’t frustrated, because overall, this wasn’t even a bad night. I’ve had bad nights and this wasn’t one of them. I was just exhausted.
So, I made dinner and fed them. Then I set Bella up to work on a teacher appreciation project for school. While Bella worked on that, I played with Lottie, read to Lottie, took Lottie’s 12 month picture (nevermind that she is 13 1/2 months old, okay? I got it done.)
Also, part of the reason that this picture is so late is because I couldn’t find the 12 month sticker. It would make sense that I was able to keep up with them all year until the very last month. I had pretty much decided to just use a sheet of notebook paper, tape, and a Sharpie when my husband found the sticker for me. Yaaaaay, husband.
Then I rocked Lottie, brushed her teeth, and put her down to bed, which took a couple of tries. After that, I packed up Bella’s teacher appreciation projects and went through tracing her alphabet with her. Then I had Bella brush her teeth, read her a story, and put her to bed.
At the end of the day, I just collapsed into bed. This is more or less how I feel at the end of every day. My back hurts. My eyes are heavy. My hair is a wreck. I’m covered in whatever my kids have wiped all over me. Boogers. Food. Paint. Mud. If I thought I knew tired before kids, I was crazy, because I DID NOT KNOW TIRED. Every evening it’s as if my body is like, “Okay, so we’re done here right? They’re done? 1 and 5 are perfectly acceptable ages to send them out into the world, right? They can like, go get jobs and stuff now, don’t you think?”
Wrong, body. So wrong. We are still just starting out here. There’s so much more to go. Luckily, in the morning, I’m ready for a new day, well, for the most part. It depends on how they slept, because how my children sleep determines how I sleep. Throughout the week, they may wake up for a variety of reasons like: wetting the bed, nightmares, thirsty, hungry, needing me to turn on the bathroom light so they can go pee, or just because. THEY WAKE UP JUST BECAUSE. Then one of them might wind up in my bed, and be all sweaty and kicky and snore-y. I don’t understand people who want to sleep with their children in the bed. I don’t even want my husband in the bed half the time.
So, there I was: tired, dirty, still kind of hungry because I didn’t fully eat my meal while the kids were eating, which is typical. I laid down in bed and opened my Facebook app and there was a sweet message from a friend, a stay at home mom of one. She was saying she didn’t know how I did it. She didn’t know how I went to work all day and still managed to come home, take care of kids and interact with them, and keep house and cook meals. It was funny timing, because all night long, I had been wondering how in the world stay at home moms did it.
First of all, I really needed to hear those kind words. So, mamas, reach out to your friends and say kind words. You never know when you might be saving them and helping them through a rough night or a hard time.
Second of all, the truth is, we’re all working hard. Parenting is hard and you can’t truly understand it until you do it and are completely responsible for another human being. I’m not just talking about the whole “keeping them alive” part, but providing for them and being responsible for teaching them and disciplining them and molding them into the people they are going to become. It’s exhausting and a tremendous amount of pressure.
Sometimes, the grass is going to seem greener on the other side. Sometimes my stay at home mom friend wishes she could go to work and be with adults and get away. (For the record stay at home mamas, you do need to get away sometimes. You need to have someone else watch your kiddos and do something for you and only you. Go get a pedicure, go for a run, or get some coffee with a friend, and don’t feel guilty about it. You’re still a person, you still have needs, your life is still yours. You give so much of yourself to you children, you need some “you” time to maintain your sanity.) Sometimes I wish I could stay home.
Sometimes I think so many other moms are doing this better than me: stay at home moms, moms of multiples, moms that have more kids than me in general, moms of a child (or children) with a disability. Their jobs as mothers seem so much harder than mine, but they’re obviously pulling it off. Who am I to feel so exhausted or at my limit sometimes? I question myself. Am I doing enough? Am I here enough? Am I patient enough? Am I enough?
The answer is yes. If you care enough to be asking yourself these questions, then yes. If you’re trying your best, then yes. If you love your kids, then YES. You are enough.