Kelan was particularly difficult to put down for a nap today, he was very tired. When that happens, he’s the equivalent of a light bulb before it burns out. He burns super bright and then blows. The only way he can keep himself awake is to move non-stop. His behavior goes from his usual impish demeanor to flat-out naughty. After chasing him room to room while he sprayed his juice and threw his lunch on the floor, then bit his baby sister, I quite literally wrestled him up to bed. Once in bed, I commenced with the “lock down” — where I hold him as he kicks and cries until he calms down enough that he’ll fall asleep.
This requires a great deal of patience, not something you immediately have once you become a mom, but rather acquire over time. As he tries to claw and kick his way free, I calmly and quietly say things like, “Buddy, you’re so tired, close your eyes and calm down,” to which he screams, “NOOOOOO!!” After about 5-10 minutes of this, he calms and falls asleep. The whole time this is going on, I’m thinking “Please just go to sleep. I have a million things to do.” After getting Kelan to sleep, I fed Ailey and laid her down for her nap.
Once downstairs, I looked around and was at a complete loss. “Where do I even start?” Go-gurt crusted to the coffee table, garbage needs to be taken out, finger prints on the windows, dishes in the sink, dishes in the dishwasher, laundry EVERYWHERE, toilets to clean, vacuum to run (for the third time today), lunch to clean up, beds to make. Do I shower? Maybe just brush my teeth and wash my face. But I don’t want to wake anyone up, so I’ll brush them in the kitchen sink… over the dirty dishes… with Crest for Kids bubble gum flavored toothpaste. Now… what do I do with my five minutes alone?
I begin systematically going room to room, tidying, picking up toys, laundry, and food. Thinking… “God, It’ll be so much easier when Kelan is Kian’s age and Ailey’s a little older.” Then I stopped…
When you’re a mother and your children are little, your life is not your own. You constantly think “What would I give for just a few minutes to myself.” You don’t go to the bathroom by yourself, take a shower alone, eat alone, or sleep alone (or at all). You can’t go to the store without little ones crying wanting to go with you. Good luck trying to sneak out of the house for a glass of wine with a friend or even just a walk. The guilt trip you give yourself is typically enough to have you throwing up your hands and saying forget it. That’s without teary-eyed faces plastered to the window crying “Mommy” as you drive away. You eat last, shower last, and do for yourself last. Many times I find myself wishing… “God, I can’t wait until they’re older and they sleep!” or “When this one is this age, the other will be older and it’ll be easier,” or “I wish I could have just 5 seconds to myself.” Wishing it all away. It’s so easy to do when you’re exhausted.
Then one day, the chaos slows and then stops. The ultimate goal as a parent is achieved. Hopefully, you’ve raised your children to be strong, independent young adults. Then, poof they’re gone. Oh sure, they come back from time to time and you continue to guide and help them through life, but it’s never really the same. They need you less and less as they get older and one day, you find yourself quite alone. That’s the natural order of things, the way it’s supposed to be. However, when they’re little and raising hell, you don’t think about how quickly that time will come. You actually wish for it to get here as soon as possible.
So today I made a New Year’s resolution. I’m not going to wish these crazy times away anymore — even the temper tantrums and the sleepless nights. In truth, it’s already passed all too fast. I can’t believe how quickly they change from day to day.
So I’m going to ignore the crushed chip on the carpet, the finger prints on the windows that one day won’t be there at all, and I’ll get to the laundry when I get to it. Today I’m going to be glad I have a cozy home, a nice husband, and four beautiful children to fill it. Because one day I’ll have plenty of time for me, but for now I want to cherish every moment with them.