I have noticed a few “Dear new mom: appreciate the moments” posts swirling around in the past few days. I always read those posts, especially when they are written by some of my favourite bloggers and friends. I love those posts although often I don’t relate to them as much as I would like to. When they are something like a “Letter to myself as a new mom” it sounds like it should contain all the tips and tricks that will fix the struggles of my day with little ones so I read every. single. one. But the truth is the struggle is still here. There is no secret that takes away the growing pains of motherhood. Every phase has its own lessons to teach (in often painful ways) but also it’s own joys as well. A “heart breaking and heart healing cycle” is a beautiful description for motherhood.
I rarely learn anything new from reading posts like that, but it can be a nice reminder that some day I will realize I am out of the toddler trenches and I will look back and miss these days. Guessing by what mamas in later phases of motherhood share it seems the memories of the toddler chubby sweetness will blur out the ones of emotional exhaustion due to talking said toddler through his or her own emotions time after time. The tender moments of siblings playing happily will be what I remember (or at least write about) and not them biting each other under the kitchen table. From our crowded house with three little ones (so far) there are lots of good and bad to remember.
It’s true that some of life right now is “survival” amidst ever changing needs and bodies, but how and why I parent the way I do isn’t an accident. As hard as they are to make, I am pretty confident in my parenting decisions. That doesn’t mean I can and will explain every single one to every person, but I think long and hard about the big ones and do decide on what is best for my family with what I know now. Maybe later I will look back and be shocked that I thought I knew what I was doing even a little bit. But I look at my children and they are little by little turning into pretty decent human beings. I enjoy being around them most of the time. Not to say I don’t appreciate and need breaks from it all, because it truly does take every ounce of energy, physical and emotional to keep up with their needs.
I look forward to things, stages that will come when I have more big kids and children who can do things like ski with me, or read aloud, or paint paintings that look like more than brown blotches. I also love to look back and remember the sweet newborn days when cuddling and nursing and changing was the priority of the day, and I could watch what I chose on Netflix. Thoes days are gone… But they sure were lovely, as is the present, which I also am trying really hard to live in and enjoy. There are good moments and bad ones, “Hills and Valleys” a wise woman once said.
Along with the chubby baby legs, there are frustrating moments, lots and lots of them. Now for instance, both the preschoolers and toddler are screaming. One about the calendar and the other one about something I cant figure out. Both are hungry and probably tired. But all we have done this morning is eat breakfast and snacks. “Hangry” is a word that was invented to describe my children. It’s so discouraging to be yelled at by them for trying to feed them or play with them, or fulfill the very request they are asking for. It’s exhausting and draining to listen to screaming and yelling and the solutions that involve discipline and tough love seem to only bring about more tears in the short term. They have left a mess for me to clean up after every activity, snack, meal, and game, which has included costumes, colouring, drawing on the white board, stickers, jumping, and reading, all with a 2 and 3 year old’s efforts to “cleaning up” in between. They do each activity for 4 or 5 minutes and then move on, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. I can easily spend the whole day just picking up’, not even cleaning anything. That alone is enough to exhaust anyone.
But not to dwell on the valley side, there is also lots of good about this phase, and honestly, I enjoy talking about that, cementing those memories, and having them immortalized in post for me to come back to. Such as this morning, it was dark and snowy so we stayed in our pajamas drinking hot chocolate and reading our new magazine.
We don’t have school, we don’t have activities, and really it is simple. I should put one or two bigger cleaning projects on my to do list today since I tend to be able to get something like that done on our home days, and maybe we can spend some time in the snow, but… maybe not. We are still in the short baby phase where we can be home and just be together for whole days at a time and it is enough. I know it is enough for them, I am just trying to teach myself that it is enough for me.
I am trying to snap the portraits for my 52 Project… before the week is up. My kids never hold still except the little one who is sleeping, almost always. She sleeps so long at night I actually miss her and think about going and waking her just for a cuddle. Don’t worry, I haven’t given into that absurd impulse yet, but I do think it. Then during they day she naps peacefully just waking for some milk and some smiles and gets smothered in kisses from her adoring fans before shes ready to take another nap.
I do appreciate being home with three little children. We can stay or go as the mood sees fit, although there are very few places that it is easy (and by easy I don’t mean easy, I mean possible without losing my mind) to go to with three little kids. But it is rarely worth it to go out at all, though we still do sometimes. If we want to. We have no real activities we are committed to yet, and I am enjoying that.
Right now as I am trying to get some of these memories typed up I am bouncing between the kitchen to type this as I make yogurt and the play room to change costumes. We have had a monkey, and princess and a firefighter so far, there will be lots more. Oh yes, a butterfly now. It will take approximately 36 more activities and games and projects, along with 14 more snacks, to get through the day. But we will get through, and even within this single day there are moments that feel like forever, (waiting for the coffee to brew?) and moments where I realize, Whoa! it’s 2 pm already? Better start thinking about supper.