Whew, school vacation week is over! That was a tough one! Between the rainy days and the lack of mobility that is life with a newborn, we were housebound a little too long for everyone's liking. And now my remaining 3 weeks of maternity leave has begun.
|Six little monkeys|
Back when I was at home with the kids, I would dream of having a job that would allow me to "get a break" and make some money. And now that I'm a working mom, I dream of one day striking it rich so that I can stay at home, and not miss out on any of my kid's firsts. The grass is always greener, amiright?
So obviously, I was very excited to have this maternity leave from work. I could be at home! Enjoying my time with the toddler and baby, cooking dinners, cleaning the house, picking up the kids from school, and getting everything done that there just never seems to be time for when I'm working full time.
But guess what?
Turns out this whole SAHM thing is HARD!! I had forgotten just how hard it truly is. Although toddlers are my favorite age group, they are a handful!! At least Xander is, or as his pediatrician puts it, he's "developmentally appropriate" - yeah it's called "naughty" in this house. Any time I try to clean or straighten up a room, he's in another room making an even bigger mess. Just when I get the baby to go to sleep in the bassinet, Xander is banging on his drums next to him because he's "feeling the beat". When I sit down to nurse Declan, Xander sees that as an opportunity to get into something that's typically off limits. During Holy Week, I went to morning Mass with both Alexander and Declan. I must have gotten extra time out of Purgatory for all the sweating and bargaining and manhandling that was required.
I've had to ease up on my half hour of tv rule, because putting Xander in front of the tv is the only way I can nurse and put Declan to sleep in peace. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I find myself counting down the minutes until Phil and the older kids get home so that I can have their help...and God help him if he has a late meeting ;) I think I've cooked exactly one dinner on my own, and the house is never as clean as I would like. Phil is still the one picking up the kids from school because I can't get both the toddler and baby to sleep at the same time. And it's easier to put a pull up on Xander than potty train right now. My dreams of doing it all have become a reality of just getting by.
Although I am only a SAHM for a few more weeks, and I do not want to leave my newborn ever, work will definitely be a welcome break from the crazy toddler! His random acts of sweetness and "I love you Mamas" are what are keeping him alive at this point! Mad props to all of you moms who handle multiple kids all day everyday. Especially single moms, military wives, homeschooling moms and moms of many littles. I tip my career hat to you.
Isn't it amazing? Every maternity leave I think "this will be the one when I make all the cookies! And keep the floors sparkling! And homeschool/preschool/at least teach the 4 year old to read!" And then I two weeks later I'm patting myself on the back for keeping them all alive and occasionally dishing out cheerios. There is no easy path in this motherhood thing, that's for sure.ReplyDelete
DITTO a thousand times!!! And, Colleen, thank you for writing this! It sums up maternity leave to a T!Delete
Thanks for writing this! So many prayers for your family as you adjust to number 6 (I can't imagine). You know what I think it is? I REALLY think, like you said, it's the 'grass is always greener' complex. I can't tell you how many times I have said, 'I need to go back to work'- and aaron has reminded me how truly miserable I was, and how much I wanted to be home. Being homebound is the worst though. Now that the weather is FINALLY clearing up, I am able to leave the house each day. I generally go somewhere in the morning AND in the afternoon. After I had John Paul, it led right into the worst.winter.ever. So basically, my only experience of being a SAHM has been being trapped inside my house for six straight months with three children under three. It's a wonder we survived! The TV certainly got us through. At times, I was like, 'what's wrong with me' (concerning TV time) but since the weather has broke we have BARELY turned it on, so I know I am not a total freak. Blessings to your family and your last three weeks of baby-mooning!ReplyDelete
Ha....that's why I homeschool. I can't fathom dealing with a toddler without bigger kids around to help.ReplyDelete
hahaha. totally laughed out loud at your "developmentally appropriate/naughty" comment. too freakin' true.ReplyDelete
anyway, I reallllly appreciate you writing this because you're a wise and experienced mama and you still struggle, and so it's a little validating to me (a SAHM of just ONE kid) that others struggle with this, too, and it's hard.
it's hard! the whole keeping kids alive and staying sane and trying to somehow shower every couple of days.
so, thanks for writing this.
Totally can relate! I thought I would be ok SAHM with Daniel. Ready to quit residency and all. Then Isabel came -- oh my. I knew at that point, homemaking is not my forte! wow.ReplyDelete
So grateful that we can do both (WOHM and full time momma). it's hard but we are blessed. Congrats on the baby.
laughed at this post :)ReplyDelete
yeah my kids are professional messer-uppers Clean one room--mess another.
Wow! It seems that the interwebz are overflowing with posts for me today. Yours is the third one that spoke to my motherly tired heart (and body). Going through another one of those head above water holy Hannah I think I'm drowning someone save me seasons, I could appreciate knowing that someone else was too. While I'm also finding that toddlers are so much fun and sometimes super duper cute, the times two thing really pretty much is draining me. It's probably a perfectionist thing for me and maybe something about growth, trust in God and this being a growing season that will reveal something awesome on the other side. God's grace is there and thankfully so because it keeps us moderately sane, the children fed and alive until the husband walks in the door after work.ReplyDelete
Thinking of you often and sending lots of love and prayers.
It's hard for SAHMs and work-outside-the-home moms (not to mention working from home) but don't forget to give yourself a break! This newborn season is a quick one, and it's okay to get takeout and eat off paper plates and let your kids watch some extra TV. You're still in survival mode for a little while. :)ReplyDelete
Oh my goodness you just blogged my maternity leave (except mine was spent calming a screaming/rash covered baby instead of dealing with a "developmentally appropriate" toddler :) )ReplyDelete
thank you for posting these thoughts. The grass really is greener. I told Jeremy "I'm ready to be a SAHM again." His response was, "Um, it's April. Let's see what you say in August when the school year is about to start again."
Oh lawdy. I feel ya. The baby is 19 months now and pretty much just walks behind me taking things apart. It takes moving heaven and earth just to make sure the toys are picked up and dinner's made. Hang in there!...:)ReplyDelete
Love that picture of you in bed with all the kiddos...that is an 8x10 and framed for sure..so precious. Life is just crazy. The more kids you have the crazier. Some of the kids have been gone and then I am down to only 2 kids and it is so darn easy...too easy! You are so blessed...hang in there! They do grow up fast so enjoy.ReplyDelete
I am definitely in the same boat right now. Balancing my 4 month old with the other two has been super difficult...I anxiously await my hubby coming home. And he knows not to be late!!! lol. So glad I'm not the only one that finds it difficult!ReplyDelete
Be gentle with yourself. Turn the tv on. Put your feet up. You are a good mother. This is a season, a short and intense one. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for this shout-out, my friend. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You never know how much a small word of encouragement can mean to someone who feels like they are drowning. I finally (finally!) admitted to myself that being at home with toddlers and babies every single day really takes a major amount of stamina (mental and physical) that gets very little external validation.. Not that I'm always looking for validation, but it's still nice to hear. :)ReplyDelete
And in a similar vein -- you should be gentle with yourself. Forget about the amount of tv viewing and the looser household rules. It's a temporary season and the kids know that. You'll be back on track soon and you are doing a great job right now. :)
It always takes me a couple of months to get used to staying home with the kids (i.e. summer break) and then by the time it's gotten easy, it's time to go back to work! Maternity leave just doesn't give you enough time to get used to it :)ReplyDelete
You are so funny. I think that being a SAHM is driving me to the looney bin some days, especially with a toddler (a boy, no less). But I'm too cheap to pay for daycare (ha!) and really, I know that this is where I belong. ;)ReplyDelete