So, I was thinking the other day how much I've changed as a parent. This may be a "no kiddng, Sherlock," moment for some since I obviously now have three kids, but maybe other parents can relate.
Before you become a parent, or at least speaking for myself, you don't even think twice about a running into a gas station quickly, or parking and going into a fast food restaurant vs a drive thru, or for heavens sake, even just going out to eat at a regular sit down restaurant. Add one baby and all of a sudden it becomes obnoxious to have to run in anywhere quickly because you have to haul in an infant carrier for a quick errand. I began remembering how nice it was and quickly changed habits to just going through the drive thru if I needed to stop at a fast food place. It would take longer to get the infant carrier in and out of the car than it would to run my errand.
Then we added Emma. So now, just taking in one car seat carrier seemed a walk in the park, or unbuckling Lily out of her car seat would have been cake. But both? No, carrying in the heavy infant seat AND unbuckling a car seat? I better plan something more than a quick run into a store; it HAD to be worth the effort of messing with two in and out of the car.
And now I have three. Let me tell you what, the thought of just unbuckling two, and managaning just two is something I feel can do with my eyes closed, and when I just have Kaylee and the big girls are with Jesse or friends, it's like a vacation and so easy. Even taking her to doctor's appointments, which would have been so intimidating with just Lily when she was an infant.
Such a big perspective change. And some aspects of parenting just make sense now and seem so much easier. I was nervous how I'd manage anything with three, especially places I need to keep a constant eye out, like parking lots. Before Kaylee arrived, I'd just carry Emma into the store and hold Lily's hand. Now, with an infant carrier, I could still carry Emma, but that left no hands to keep track of Lily. So we quickly came up with the solution of the infant carrier hooked over my elbow of one arm and holding Emma's little hand, who in turn holds Lily's hand. Lily thinks she's helping Emma walk to our destination, and I know everyone in our train is close to me. And somehow THIS seems simple.
I don't always feel successful as a mom, and I know I mess up plenty of days. I've had to go apologize to Lily for handling situations badly and losing my temper; I've had to cuddle Emma extra long and tell her I was sorry, too. I know it'll come with Kaylee. But I try, and I have so much fun trying and let's be honest, failing is never fun. There are days I just don't think I can manage it- whether it's a day of errands I have to run solo or just getting the day started after little or no sleep- but I have a few moms I look up to as role models and think if they can do it, I can at least try. Do other parents have parental role models? I think they should.
I saw the quote, "I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyway" on Pinterest recently, and I can't tell you how much that hit home. I have thought that soooooo many times as a parent. On those tougher days, not every day, don't worry. The days I've sat on the couch trying to tune out someone screaming that I can't console, surrounded by a messy house and a million thoughts running through my mind. I will just feel so overwhelmed and like I just can't do it today. But I do. Because not only do I have to, I don't have a choice now, but because I want to. I really and truly want this. Even the days where we hit new records of number of kids screaming and throwing tantrums at once. Or the record we set of Emma and Kaylee both screaming from their own beds, Zeke barking to go out and Lily standing in front of me as I try to take a 10 second bathroom break to let me know the phone is ringing. That was definitely a new record we try and not top. I want this job.
The hours are so long and exhausting, occasionally leading to frustrated tears, but the years are short. Too short. And when people see me at the grocery store and see three, still quite young girls and say, "my, you have your hands full," I always smile and respond with, "yes, yes I do. But I'm blessed."