Not Enough

Over the last ten days, I have experienced a feeling of not being enough.  Not how you think... it's not a lack of confidence.  It's more that there's literally not enough of me to go around.  When I am supposed to be homeschooling the twins, I am changing Carly or running her morning bath.  When I am homeschooling the boys, Wyatt has to wait a small eternity for me to come wipe his bum in the bathroom.  When I am nursing Carly, all three boys have to wait for breakfast, lunch or dinner, until I'm done.  

Before now, it's been semi-laughable, the feeling of being pulled in four different directions.  Since they boys got sick (and then passed it on to the baby), it's been less amusing.

Wyatt has ended up in my bed for an extra nebulizer treatment most nights since getting sick.  He's exhausted and needy and emotional, which is challenging at any time, but especially so when I also need to be taking care of the baby.  He has been coughing so hard that he's vomited three times.  Once on the carpet by his bed, once at my mom's house, and once in my brand-spanking-new minivan. Thankfully he hasn't puked in my bed. 

Knock on wood.

His brothers have periodically popped in to my room at night, too, complaining of fever, sore throats and earaches.  In fact, all of this started with Jack coming in one night, unable to stop coughing.  That bout of croup landed him in the ER.  Since I have Carly and we didn't want her exposed to all the germs at the hospital, my mom agreed to take Jack, but I would be lying if I said I didn't cry about it.  I hate not being able to be everything to my children.  I hate having to call on my village for help.  But at this point, it's not about me and what I'm comfortable with (can we say "control freak"???), it's about my kids and making sure that no matter what, I am getting their needs met.  Jack needed to go to the hospital for a breathing treatment and I couldn't take him.  Therefore, my mom took him.  Simple as that.

It's not just doctor visits that are forcing me to call on the help of others.  Errands were tough for a while there, too, while I was recovering from my c-section.   My sister & parents were godsends during that time, bringing me everything from pacifiers & humidifiers to the right cough medicine and milk for breakfast in the morning.  I don't know what I would have done without them.

In addition to doctor visits and errands, I also need periodic childcare.  A lot of times, I need someone to watch a kid or three so I can run errand here, or go to an appointment there.  And some days I even attempt to make dinner (ha!) in which case, this guy needs to be entertained.  One evening I called on Jack to play with his little brother.  His version of babysitting included playing musical chairs (by running on top of the homeschool table chairs, lined up from one end of the room to the other) until Wyatt fell off and bashed his knee on his bed.  

Thankfully Josh's mom does the caretaking for Carly while I cook.  And if she's gone, I just wear her in my ring sling.  But I am telling you, I never feel so overwhelmed as I do at meal time.  Cook, set the table, gather the children, feed the children, feed myself, take care of Carly... it's all too much sometimes!  Not to mention dishes & clean up afterward. 

Since poor Carly got sick two days ago, the pressure to meet her needs has increased tenfold.  I know that breastmilk is the best thing for her, so when she cries, I've been dropping everything to put her to the breast.  I've also been taking time each day to do skin to skin with her in hopes of producing exactly the right milk she needs now that she's sick.  

I've never had a baby so young be sick.  It is heartbreaking.  I got a humidifier for our room, bought a NoseFrida, and am praying like it's going out of style for her to get better.  

It's easier with the older kids cause there are comfort measures (namely medicine) that I can use to help them get well.  With her, it's just a waiting game.  One thing I still need but don't have is a thermometer.  What do you use for your kids?  What brand and style is it & where did you order it?

Without the bigs, I'd like to be able to do this every afternoon:
But until they get a little older, or I get used to having four, I think I'm going to feel like Stretch Armstrong being pushed to his limit, and quiet afternoons like this will be few & far between.

I'm going to try & enjoy these "all at once" moments, cause someday I know there will be the peace & quiet of nothing at all.  And I'll miss this.



Amanda said...

Oh bless you! I think every mom has felt like this. It's survival right now and it will pass.... Just endure. I use a head scan thermometer. It's like 7 years old and still works. I would just look on Amazon and read reviews. I have loved mine. Good luck and prayers for you all!

Marilynn Raatz said...

Those pictures of Carly looking at you while you care for her just melt me!! It is so hard when kids are sick and life just keeps going. I'm grateful I can help out.
I am praying. Xoxo

Ashley B said...

Oh Shelly, you are such a trooper! I know much of what you're saying here. Mark and I always joke that whenever he leaves for a business trip, something ALWAYS goes wrong. Kids are throwing up, our heat goes out (!!)...always something, hah! Take care of yourself and ease up on school for bit if that helps. Reading aloud is great when Mama's tired and the kids are feeling off.

Katie said...

What Ashley said. It never fails that when my husband goes away on a field campaign or business trip, my boy gets sick. Every. Single. Time. It's become a guessing game now as to how long it takes before he comes down with a cold or ear infection.

As far as thermometers go, I swear by the Exergen Temporal Thermometer. My boy gags when I try to take his temp using a thermometer under his tongue, so the Exergen has been a godsend. I bought mine through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Exergen-Temporal-Thermometer-TAT-2000C-Battery/dp/B00005UMZS/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1456934970&sr=8-2&keywords=exergen+temporal+artery+thermometer. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!

Don't forget to take care of you, Shelly. The last thing you need is to get sick yourself while taking care of sick kiddos, so don't ever feel bad reaching out to others for an extra pair of hands. Like you said, it takes a village to raise a child (or four!), so let them help you. Stay strong, mama! xoxo

Holly said...

I could have written this myself. David is here, obviously, but he works from sunup to way past bedtime three days a week, and those nights are awful. Meal time will get easier in a few months. Luke just sits in his bumbo on the counter while I cook now. Hugs. You're doing great! Persevere! (That's what I always say to myself. Ha)

Alisha Jefferson said...

I had 4 kids in 3 years. and to help the feeling of pulled apart is to help the older kids be more independent. My oldest two are now 6 & 7 and can get their own breakfast, toast or cereal something simple and if I ask they will help the 4 year old twins. At least then you don't have to feel like they are waiting on you for everything. One meal out of the day they can take care of themselves :)