It’s 11pm now, I decide to drop everything I am doing (even though there is still so much to be done) in order to get to bed at a decent time. See, I can survive on a few hours of sleep – but I need at least 6 to thrive. Thriving for me consists of being able to keep my cool all day, remain patient, have energy to keep up with my kid crowd and make it through the day without any tears. I am able to quickly shut my mind off and drift into a sweet sleep. It’s 12:15a and I wake up to my sweet, adorable little toddler. He’s standing right next to my bed whispering “mama”. Yes, Son? Let me bring you into my bed and snuggle you until you fall back asleep. What is it about middle of the night snuggles that are so sweet? I can tell you – because I know. It’s dark, quiet. There are no distractions. All of your senses get to focus on the sweet and little ball of pure awesome that is in your arms. I take the time to focus on how soft his skin is, how tiny and sweet, look at his gorgeous blue eyes and long lashes… give about a million gentle kisses or so.. I love midnight snuggles and will never complain about them. When he falls back asleep, I take him back to his bed and tuck him in. Hello, 2a and hello to my other sweet one, my Daughter. “Mommy I have to go potty”. Ok, let’s go. I hold her little hand as we walk through the dark hallway and then I get her tucked back into bed afterward. – 6 o’clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream…. oh wait, I didn’t sleep long enough to hit a REM cycle so who am I kidding – I probably didn’t even dream 😉 Time to get up. Good Morning.
Holy crap. Didn’t these kids sleep as much (little) as I did? Where the heck did all the energy come from? If I don’t hurry up and jump out of bed, I am going to have a world of messes to clean up before the day even starts. Little guy will surely empty a toothpaste tube, toilet paper the bathroom, put something in the toilet, dump his bedtime cup of water somewhere and try to eat some playdough. My girly girl will probably have emptied out her dresser looking for the perfect thing to wear and find every doll in the house to have a fashion show with. Ok. Im up. Let’s focus this energy on something constructive…
So, I have been making breakfast forever. How is it, that I can’t prepare and serve breakfast fast enough before someone looses their cool? Ok, come up with creative games and ways for them to help so you can survive the next three minutes… wait, am I talking to myself? Wake up! You can’t fall asleep while making eggs.
OK we survived breakfast and cleaned up all of the pieces that they tried to feed the dog that we don’t even have. Awesome. Time to get ready for the day. Dressing my 2 year old is a task comparable to dressing a kangaroo on speed. He doesn’t dislike it, but finds a lot of humor in how I manage to do it when he is crawling, rolling and jumping his way through it. But I do, score. By the time I get the 3 year old dressed,(after she finds the perfect outfit, of course) he will be naked. Why do I never learn to dress her first….?? Actually, putting him in the car naked and dressing him as soon as we arrive to where we need to be would be the most practical option.
It’s 9. I’m ready for a nap! But instead, we venture off to field trips, playdates, errands, homschooling stuff, unschooling stuff, you name it. I get them back just in time for nap. If I am 1 minute late for nap, I will pay for it – because these sweet and cute little precious people morph into another species when they are too tired. Fool me once….
Since I am a work from home Mom, I pack a lot into nap time. I multi-task like I have 8 arms and 4 brains. Sometimes I think I actually do and will catch myself daydreaming about an octopus with 4 heads. When all of my work is done, I do house stuff that consists of cleaning and doing laundry that will never get folded or put away. “Clean Clothes” and “Dirty Clothes” baskets were the best. investment. ever. Who am I kidding? The clothes will probably pile up on my floor so high that the kids will be able to pretend like they are Captain Hook standing on the top and it will turn into some form of imaginary play. Score.
After nap we go into the hustle and bustle of the afternoon, times will get tough – I will feel like I am failing because I am not one of those pinterest moms that makes the cutest art projects, makes meals look like an educational animal learning scene, etc. Mommy guilt will haunt me every time I take a phone call or answer an email that takes away from the time I could otherwise be sitting on the floor and playing with them. I will get upset with myself for feeling frustrated when the mess keeps getting bigger and the chaos more chaotic and I feel like I can’t stay on top of it all…. then I will remember this:
Being a Parent is the most precious privilege in the world. Being given the opportunity to love and raise a little person is such a complete honor. Time flies so fast. Before you know it you blinked, and the little newborn that wont stop nursing turns into the baby that wont stop putting things in her mouth to the toddler that wont stop running to the preschooler that wont stop peeing on the carpet to the school-ager who doesn’t want kisses anymore to the teenager who thinks he knows everything to the adult that is moving. out. of. your. house. My heart gets so sad when I see and hear myself or other parents focus on the chaos instead of celebrating the wonder. If you take a breath and take a break and focus your energy and awareness on your sweet child(ren) and watch everything they do – it’s amazing. There is so much joy in watching a child play, and even more in playing with them. Close your eyes and hold your childs hands. Feel how tiny those little fingers are. Take mental photographs of the adorable faces they make, all the smiles. They are priceless. Hold moments in your heart that have no extraordinary value except that they are yours with your child and you are so blessed to live them. Even the tough moments. We learn just as much from those moments as our kids do. Life is amazing. It’s incredible. Being a parent is exhausting but even more so, it’s amazing. Take these years to live for your child. Put them first. The 18 years that they depend on you are so minimal compared to your whole life. Take these years to make theirs the best possible. Do everything you can. Be patient, loving. Give them space and encouragement to grow into the people that they want to be. Gently guide them. Hold their hand. Let them have strong personalities and opinions that differ from yours. It’s okay that they want to be their own person. Encourage that. Know that not all children are well behaved 100% of the time. Neither are adults. Don’t have that unrealistic expectation of them, or yourself for that matter. Embrace times that create situations to learn from. They are a valuable part of life. Re-examine punishment. Don’t punish your child for living. Part of living is making mistakes and misbehaving. Every moment that you experience where you have that awful feeling that this is “too much” and you “can’t do it” … think about if you were really in that situation. I bet you wouldn’t change the present for anything in the world and it sure helps to bring you back to reality.
Cherish parenthood. Cherish it. Take good care of yourself so you thrive in addition to surviving. Find out what helps support you as a parent so you can give your kids the best life possible. This is it, there are no do-overs. You’ve got this, Mama.