Three small mouths to feed generally takes the entire span of an “adult meal time” so by the time I sit down to a family dinner my brother is finishing up his dinner and laughing at my plate full of cold food.
My brother and his wife have four kids and three of them are teenagers. I on the other hand have three kids under five years old. They can’t get their own food and need me more than my brother’s kids need their parents.
What I wouldn’t give for the calm my older brother must feel when his kids clean up after dinner and put themselves to bed.
Day in and day out I am in constant motion and drenched in the trenches of tantrums – my greatest accomplishment some days is being able to dig myself out of the Looney bin by my own bedtime.
So when you’re stressed and at the point of breaking, remember these three things:
1. Other Moms Can Help
Moms talk about being able to have it all – careers, family and time for self – and I think it is possible, with a live in au pair or two extra hands on board at all times.
But when double duty parenting is not possible and you have to go it alone – find other moms to help, especially ones with toddlers of their own. Switch babysitting with them, talk about dirty diapers, laugh about finally changing out of your pajamas by noon.
2. Take Care Of Yourself
In this stage I’m finding I need an extra 12 hours a day to get everything done and have time for myself – if I could skip sleep that would help.
Really though, I admit to regularly stealing an hour or two of precious sleep to watch my favorite show or finish up a pressing project. Making sure you take time to take care of yourself is a big plus at this stage.
3. It’s Only While They Are Little
I’m living through one of the only motherhood seasons when my time is pretty much completely dedicated to my kids or my career. I am one of ‘those’ moms who have it all, but I never sit down. I often feel like I’m burning my candle at both ends.
Knowing this is my race to run, and it’s only for a season though makes it all possible. I will give my all to my children now and catch up on cleaning and sleep in a few years.
I know someday I’ll be able to eat warm food with the rest of the family. Just like my brother I will sit down to eat or read a book whenever I want or watch as they make my kids make their own beds and clean up after dinner.
For now, I do have one thing my brother doesn’t, little children. Their innocence, their little arms wrapped around my neck, and their complete trust. It’s the coolest thing you can have from another human being.
Because they are little, I’ll skip my shows, live walled in unfinished projects, and average five hours of sleep a night.
To get it through it all though, I take advantage of as many helping hands as I can get, steal a nap now and then and of course love them with everything I am, because they are only young once.
Photo by rebecca lopez