I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE EASIER

Recently several parents that I love have taken the leap from 2 children to 3 and a few others have decided to open their homes to foster children. While I am over the moon happy for them and thrilled that there are such loving people in the world, I can’t help but whimper from the depths of my pantry, “But this is really hard, right?” Please tell me it’s not just me. Yesterday Madeleine pulled out a pretty good chunk of her sister’s hair, while I was wrist deep in the toilet fishing out 4 Lego men that just wanted to go “swim-bing”. Sure we have moments of raw, indescribable joy, like today when the girls met a friendly dog at the park and Charlotte protectively put her arm around Maddie, but life with two is no picnic. In fact, when we try and go for a picnic we last about 4 minutes before the bees arrive then everyone is screaming and we leave hungry.

Everyone's threshold for the daily parenting shenanigans we are responsible for varies. For example their patience for whining may be higher than say their tolerance of bodily fluids. I like to think that I’m starting to understand this. But then my mommy-mind starts to wander and I wonder, is what occurs in my house somehow different than those who have opted for 3 or more? Was nobody else spending nap time Googling how to get crayon stains out of white carpet? Were their first 2 children “easy babies” or are they simply better parents than me? Then once that can of worms opens, I circle back to my naïve pre-child assumption, I thought it would be easier. Easier because I’m college educated, I came from a loving family, I have a wonderful husband, to name a few. And yet sometimes I am completely at a loss at the depths of internal patience and strength I need to muster because I haven’t gotten anyone to eat a single vegetable in 6 days.

 Is mustard a vegetable?

Is mustard a vegetable?

I took my girls to the community pool yesterday and we stayed until close when all the teenage lifeguards got to do their free swimming and awkward flirting with their acne spotted faces peeking out over their cell phones. Their biggest worry was the chlorine turning their blonde hair green and Hayden flirting with Jayden when he’s clearly with Chloe.

As I held both girls in my arms I remembered what it felt like to have no responsibility and a much lighter load. It is tempting to feel nostalgic for a simpler time, but what we know to be true is our hearts sure are fuller today and whether you have 1 child or 7, no parent is living on Easy Street.

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Where I Draw the Line

Lately with my bedtime circling 8:30 and my religious use of sunscreen and a fiber supplement, I’m feeling old. Yes, I recognize that I am nowhere near a mid-life crisis nor can I be considered old when compared to say the Earth or Betty White. But my children have undeniably aged me. I am perpetually in a state of complete exhaustion and I am guilty of using the expression, "In my day..."

I do have some hard limits when it comes to lines I just won't cross. Lines that I believe push you into a gray mommy area that once you enter into, your hot mom card will quickly be revoked and traded in for a special placard that allows you to park anywhere with your hybrid/electric minivan.  Here they are in no particular order:

 

The mom haircut.

There is a phrase out there that husbands everywhere dread more than, “I think it’s about time you got a vasectomy”. It's, “Honey, I chopped off all my hair because it was just getting too hard to manage.” Have you ever seen a Victoria Secret model with a pixie cut? I rest my case.

 

Bringing up the weather in conversation.

I appreciate that when a conversation reaches a lull it is tempting to say, "Do you believe this weather we are having?" However it is always much more interesting to sprinkle in gems about the kids such as, "Yesterday my daughter ran screaming naked through our house because our beagle wouldn't lay down next to her while she went pee pee on the potty."

 

Sneakers with dresses, skirts or pants.

The fact that I just called them sneakers only emphasizes my point that I'm old. Running shoes, tennis shoes or kicks should be exclusively for exercise.

 

The visor.

For women, I believe the visor should only be worn if your name happens to be Venus or Serena. This is probably the only time you will ever hear me utter this phrase, ladies let's leave those to the men.

 

Drawstring high-waisted Mom jeans.

Really any flavor of jean that makes it look like you ate a large burrito for lunch, whether you actually did or not.

 

Do I know some awesome moms that can rock a sexy boy-cut in their minivan while listening to NPR? Well actually no, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there kicking butt and being great moms. I only know myself and so for now my hair will stay long, I’ll save my running shoes for running and allow my children to always keep me young at heart.

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The Depths of my Love for you

It was a typical Tuesday and my oldest was crying from her car seat that a “painful boogie [was] stuck in her nose” and when I went to stroke her head, she proceeded to use my pinky finger as her own personal booger catcher. The depths of my love for them are endless (pun intended).

This week I was carpooling with a group of beautiful Mamas to go stand-up paddle boarding, since we all happen to be experts in the art of balancing acts.

Naturally it only took us seconds to start talking about our offspring. After only a few hours together, I was able to compile this list of sacrifices, perceived humiliations (that we’ve learned to just take in stride), and struggles that we’ve had the honor of enduring on this unstable terrain called Motherhood.

Taking two separate cars on a 3-hour car trip in order to take apart and bring the baby’s crib so he would sleep at night on their “vacation”.

Sitting at a very crowded restaurant with friends while her child was the only one in her underwear because a drop of water spilled on her dress.

Being waved to the front of the line at Great Clips, because despite hiding the scissors in an overhead cabinet, inside a box, he was still able to find them and perform his first at-home haircut.

Calling poison control to inquire about your child ingesting deodorant, hand-sanitizer and Neosporin all before we've ingested our morning coffee.

Spending our precious alone time with various counselors, sleep specialists, or child psychologists to inquire about: sensory issues, biting, sleep regressions, and separation anxiety. Asking the tough questions like, "Why does my daughter love brushing her teeth, but then consider it physical torture when I try and dress her in anything with buttons or sleeves?"

Sleeping (or rather not sleeping) in their bed, next to their bed, or with them in our bed, outside the door to their room, in the hallway or anywhere that would allow for a few short minutes of rest.

 

There are no limits to how far we will go for our children. Luckily, I've lost the ability to be embarrassed over public: tantrums, nudity, or expulsion of bodily fluids. My children have used me as: a tissue, a pillow, a trash can, a blanket, a human shield, and a safety net (to name a few). It is a fair trade, though, since I use them as my sunshine.