My eyes are twitching.
Number seven has done me in.
My nature is, well, borderline neurotic when it comes to order and cleanliness. I can’t stand messes and stacks of stuff (unless it’s my stack that I neatly stacked). Things must have a place and that place is not the floor. I can’t stand the kitchen being gross or kids running around with breakfast still on their faces and shirts. Neurotic.
But now that I have seven, five of which are 7 and under, with a toddler that’s active enough for three toddlers, a newborn and a very active 18 month old, my organized way of life is upside down.
The new order is two toddlers without clothes, covered in popsicle goop running around in the backyard shrieking. Forts upstairs made from every piece of furniture and blanket available. A kitchen completely wrecked and covered in the ingredients from my latest raw creation. Laundry piles all over my room – I don’t remember which are clean and dirty. Oh, and it’s 3 and I’m still in my bathrobe.
So what am I doing while chaos ensues about me? Blogging. Because otherwise I’d lose my marbles 🙂
Today baby dear is six weeks. Six weeks! Where does the time go?
Terribly slow when waiting for baby’s arrival.
Slow when watching the clock on the hospital wall.
But somehow, as soon as baby is born, time changes.
The nights are long and quiet, despite the up and down of mom and baby. Yet the mornings come and quickly are gone, giving way to the busyness of the day and all the things that need to be done but are not.
And sometimes, despite all the unconditional love a mother has for her brand new baby and her siblings… sometimes despite all she tries to accomplish and the strength she tries to carry when tired and battling hormones… sometimes a sadness of unknown origin creeps in.
It can be blamed on the fleeting of time. The dishes piled in the sink. The activities planned a day before now lost to the hours passed. Or maybe not really anything at all.
It’s somewhere in all of that that I find myself. Between tears I can’t explain. A heavy heart for a baby I lost seven years ago, even though I now have seven living children. Things I want to do but can’t get done. The watching of a clock I’d now rather curse than read.
The others come in and out as I try to squeeze in a shower…. calm a baby… reminding me of the plans I’d made to take them out for the morning. And even as I fight against them, the tears find their way. I remind myself that these weeks are quiet ones. Slow ones. Ones in which time should not matter. These are precious moments out of time that can never be reclaimed. And I try to remind myself to be grateful for all I have… The rest will be there to worry over another day.
It’s always nice to throw on my skirt for the long grocery run, only to discover a child had (unbeknown to me) thought it would be the perfect thing to wipe toothpaste all over. No biggie. I mean it IS the only thing I can feel presentable in five weeks postpartum. But at least when I was throwing kids in the car moments earlier and met the neighbor, I was not wearing said skirt. Instead, I was wearing the yoga pants I wore everyday of pregnancy that now have a huge hole way too high on my inner thigh. I think all was good – I strategically held the three year old in such a way to cover the embarrassment 🙂
As we settle into nine, I struggle to find balance. This is not out of the ordinary, regardless of how many children one has. None to one is the biggest adjustment. Three to four means the sedan no longer provides enough seats. Six to seven is the same. A newborn baby, with all her joy and blessings, takes a period of adjustment.
Fortunately, my kids have always welcomed the newest sibling without missing a beat. They are excited about the new baby and loving.
Fortunately, I don’t have debilitating postpartum depression. Down days? Yes. Days plagued with complete exhaustion? Of course! Days when I think this is impossible? Again, yes. But child rearing IS impossible without God.
I reached out to a friend who is also a mother of seven. Her youngest is a few months older than mine. I asked how do you manage? I’m overwhelmed today! She was loving and comforting in her simple words of advice and wisdom. YES she is overwhelmed oftentimes. Focus on the things we can do as opposed to those we cannot. Things that can be let go, let go.
I struggle greatly with these two things! As much as I know she is right… as much as I know I do plenty in a day… It never seems to be enough in my mind. I want my home clean. I want to put on makeup. I want to be able to take my kids out daily… and not just the backyard. But finding the balance…
I planned today to take the kids to the pool. Yes, all seven. I’ve been saying I would for days. Finally, at 5pm, I sat them down and said I simply could not manage that right now. I watched and listened to their disappointment as I offered up the splash playground as an alternative. I threw in a trip to the frozen yogurt shop to “sweeten” the deal. But then baby awoke; I fed her. Changed more diapers, etc. Then it was 6pm and time to make dinner.
I put some fish in warm water to thaw and sat for a moment to color (a picture of fish, ironically). Then baby cried again… So I put her on my lap and began writing this. Mainly because at first I was feeling defeated again. Another day gone. But I wrote to remind myself…
Yes, some days will be slow. Others overly booked. Some days will be downright difficult. But each day is good. And I’m grateful.
Even as I remind myself to just breathe.
Today starts a new normal as the kids and I waved goodbye to Mom/Grandma. She is always such a God send when I have a new baby, giving of herself tirelessly.
She arrived Tuesday, a little over two weeks ago, for the birth of my seventh child. Since then, she took care of the other kids, cooked every meal, cleaned, took them to the parks, library, pool, splash playground and ran various errands for the family.
While I have a beautiful new baby girl to love forever, there is an empty feeling now that my mom has left.
Thank you, Mommy, for everything you’ve done and continue to do for our family!
Thank you, Daddy for your visits, hanging out with the older boys and taking them on cool trips! My kids are so blessed to have you both in their lives! And thank you, Dad, for lending us Mom 😉
Here is my daughter’s thank you card: