I’ll be honest and say that from the beginning, this was a week I was ready to end. Busy, busy, busy. We’ve been super invested in church and community lately, and with the election year heating up (if you know Tim, you know his two favorite things in life besides Jesus and his family are politics and baseball—hence as Saturday was our local caucus, the WHOLE family attended, ahem), as well as a slew of appointments and get-togethers colliding, I’m just worn out.
If you’re friends with me on Facebook you might have seen my photo upload today. It’s a shot of my kitchen/family room, with nary a square foot of counter space not taken up by a dirty dish and pretty much the contents of all of Linnea’s toy drawers dumped out on the floor. Well, that’s exaggerating maybe a little, but I nearly tripped several times today when walking through that room.
It was one of those days.
When it seems all I say to Linnea is, “No, Linnea.” “Be quiet.” “Stop. Stop! STOP!” “Do we have to do discipline?”
When I tried to lie Peter down multiple times for naps and he simply would not stay asleep.
When even the grayest bit of light from the window, or the slightest word from his big sister, was distracting enough to send baby boy and me into his dark room with the curtains drawn, just so he could nurse. That boy is SO distracted when nursing lately and it’s making our days kind of hard.
When, although I’m used to the mess being much bigger than I’d like, the combination of being unable to help Peter sleep much and correcting Linnea all day (likely from not having much time alone with her) along with the toy-fest on the floor makes me feel like a triple failure.
When my words to a friend yesterday about just not being able to troubleshoot a baby’s sleep sometimes ring in my ears and make me feel foolish – even if it IS true, it’s STILL hard.
Now, I wasn’t totally down in the dumps. Along about 5pm when I was feeling a leeeeeetle crazy (and texted Tim to tell him so) after turning on the oven for dinner, only to remember too late that our giant cutting board and two dirty cookie sheets from last Sunday’s homemade pizza (which I had been hiding in there for community group on Tuesday, and a get together yesterday, and which I reminded myself over and over today to TAKE OUT OF THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON!) were still in the oven – behold the smell of cooking rubber from the pads on the bottom of the cutting board – well, I realized that this was a moment when I could either snap, or laugh.
Jesus wanted me to laugh. He wanted me to take that nasty tone out of my voice and stop telling Linnea how frustrated she was making me feel, and laugh at the fact that she kept peeking her head around the bathroom door after I’d asked about three times for privacy. This with Peter starting to wail in the Ergo, having not fallen asleep in my last-ditch, failsafe effort to get him to take an afternoon nap. (Yes, I use the bathroom with a baby strapped to my front. I know I’m not the only one.)
So I snapped that photo and posted it to Facebook and moved on. Sort of. It helped that Tim was on his way home (and that I could count on my fingers the blessings that I had showered this morning; that I had gotten to lie down with Peter in the middle of the day during Linnea’s nap, even though I didn’t really sleep; and that my jeans are starting to feel looser).
This is where I am today, with a baby boy 3 months and 2 days old, and a little girl speeding so fast toward 3 I can’t believe it. I know I have blessings pouring out my ears, but I have to admit that today was hard. That sometimes the unfinished work around the house, the lack of time to myself, the lack of sleep, the lack of exercise and time with Tim, the messes and incoherent conversations (which are the only kind I seem to be able to have anymore) start to add up. In spite of the fact that two nights ago Peter slept 8.5 hours straight and I was able to work out at 6:30am feeling decently well rested for the first time in a looong time. There are hard days and there are not so hard days. Most of the time I am able to realize what matters for God’s kingdom and what doesn’t: my tone with my daughter matters; the dirty kitchen doesn’t. I hope when Linnea grows up she remembers that I spoke to her lovingly and took the time to answer her questions, not that the dishes were always clean.
Today, I really felt the Holy Spirit showing me I had a choice in how I could react to my circumstances. And by his grace I did not blow up at my kids or freak out and break things. I did call in reinforcements, and prayed over and over to be able to keep this all in perspective. I never needed God so much as I do now as a mom of two, and I praise Him for bringing me to that level of dependence. Makes my former life feel kind of fake, to be honest.
So, moms who are farther down the path, I ask you this:
In, say, 10 years when I no longer have little little kids, will it be reasonable to expect that I’ll be able to stay on top of all my chores, answer emails, do the grocery shopping, call long-distance friends and family, live in real community and show hospitality to others without feeling like a freak show? And if I am, will I even like it?
Because I have this vision of myself in front of the kitchen sink, doing dishes in a completely quiet and orderly house, and to me, now, this mom-me I’ve turned into, that seems incredibly lonely.