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.
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.