this is so hard

 Let me preface this post by saying a few things:

1. There are three children in this house and one mother.

2. We bought plane tickets home and will be there in less than 40 days.

3.  My to-do list is so long, it takes up multiple sticky notes & is spread out all over the house
(my notebook, my journal, the fridge, by the computer & on my bedside table)

4.  For the last eight days I have had at least one sick child.

So this morning, instead of having two hours to myself to scrapbook, I had two sickly (whiny) babes on my hands, who were very sad to be missing Saturday Social with Daddy.  So I did what every mom does with whiny kids- I threw them in the bathtub.

What, I ask you, is so magical about the bath?  
They came out of it laughing and playful, their cheerful old selves again. 
At least for a little while.

The last week has been rough.  Fevers, coughing, runny noses and not a lot of sleep.  School has fallen to the wayside as I have tried to help the boys rest and get well.  Caretaking has been the top priority, and it has left me  depleted.

I decided to do some spring cleaning yesterday.  In an effort to cheer myself up, and get something crossed off those to-do lists, I rearranged the dining room as well as the playroom.  They both look fresh and new, and I am glad I did it, but once I started the process it got very messy and I got very emotional.

Josh was gone, chaperoning a dance at the school, so once I got the kids to sleep (no small feat with the hacking coughs they are suffering, poor bubs) I set to work finishing what I had started downstairs.  As I sat on my knees in the playroom, surrounded by totes full of toys and piles of dinosaurs and guys, I began to cry.  The physical mess of the room, the overwhelming idea of having to tend to it, was the perfect metaphor for how I am feeling mentally with the kids right now.

They are testing me at every turn. I told Josh it's like I am on a walk.  I can take a few steps, and start to feel competent, then I take one more step, and am up to my thigh in snow.  I climb out, dust myself off, and try again, only to manage a few more steps before disaster strikes again.  

I thought parenting the twins when they were babies and toddlers was challenging. And it was, in its own way. It was physically exhausting mostly- the sleep deprivation and the struggle to keep up with them as they went off in different directions.  But to tell you the truth, I am finding this nearly-five, almost school-age kid stage much, much more difficult emotionally.

Like Thursday when I was putting Logan down for a nap, and while fluffing his pillow, found my Ipod tucked under his blanket.  

Or yesterday when Josh was talking to Jack, and no matter what answer Josh gave, Jack came up with another question, then another and another.  And another.

It is exhausting to try and stay on top of them.  
To face, everyday, questions I don't know the answer to.  

With Logan, I confronted him about the Ipod directly and he said, with a straight face, he was planning to be naughty with it during naptime.  With Jack, I told him that the conversation was over, and to find something to do, other than grill his father for details.

The heavy responsibility of raising these three boys with morals and character into adulthood often has me reduced to a puddle of emotions.  

I feel proud of the progress we've made (in their manners, their kindness to their brothers, and their helpfulness), and I feel nervous for the challenges I've yet to face (their teen years specifically).

Thinking big picture about parenting and all it entails can induce serious anxiety, and last night, my heart was pounding in my throat.  I just couldn't catch my breath.  I worry so much all the time, but it's even worse when they are sick-- Is this normal? Should we see a doctor?  Is it cancer? (Why do we always go there?)

I am worried about our family food & TV habits; speaking kindly and trying to enjoy this crazy time in our life.  I am worried about traveling, adjustments, and leaving "home" for three months.  (Particularly because we still don't know where we are staying. Please, God, help us find something!)

And so, obviously, I am worried... 
But mostly I am exhausted. 

This is so hard. Being home with them all day everyday is hard.  Putting their every need before mine is hard.  Being sleep deprived is hard.  Cooking dinner every night, doing the dishes before bed and keeping up with the laundry is hard.  Never feeling done is hard.

Luckily, there are rewards in our hard work.

Hugs & snuggles...

finding bubbas on the stove...

and watching their imaginations at work...

It's just that some days, the hard work outweighs the rewards.  And that was the last week for me.  I guess the journey is similar to life- I just gotta take it one day at a time. I can't worry about the future. 

Just taking care of today is enough.


Dawn Frazier said...

I really enjoyed reading this post because I can relate so much to it! I am a stay at home Mum in the UK to a singleton son (aged 7) and identical twin girls (aged 5). I totally understand what it's like to try and get through a day in a busy household and stay sane at the same time! I do find the twins sometimes harder to deal with now than when I was up to my elbows in nappies and bottles. They can speak and answer back now. Although sometimes the constant questions (some of which I find hard to answer) can be quite amusing too.

Kristina said...

You're right...it is HARD! It is the hardest job in the world by far. It is the most sacrificial role out there. All of your emotions are very normal, don't beat yourself up about them! Allow yourself to go there, to cry, to write, to vent. I've been there girl. I've been there. You're doing so well though! You're a rock star mom in my book!

I remember a similar meltdown situation that I had at the beginning of this move journey. I was sitting in the front yard, trying to lay down landscape fabric and ended up crumbling into a ball of tears. Not only was it emotional and unexpected, but I did it in the front yard where every neighbor and passerby could see the meltdown!

Now I laugh about it though. Every big journey has to have a few meltdown moments. You're human! You're a fabulous mother and everyday poses a different battle, a different challenge.

I'll be praying for you girl!

Rox said...

Raising kids is hard indeed. But right now I think you need to stop worrying and enjoy the wonderful kids you have! They're SUCH good boys. I'm glad you recognize that when you're stressed/worried about one thing, twenty other worries pop up, too. Identifying this may help you change it.
Recently when I've seen teenage boys (especially with their moms or two brothers), I get excited about what it will be like to see the boys grow up! Will they play sports? Will they eat all the food in the house? Will they have the same friends?