Right after Luke the duke, lucky numero quattro was born, I remember feeling kind of shocked that I didn’t feel, well, worse.
I experienced that such!a!relief! not to be pregnant anymore feeling, of course, but more than that, I actually found myself more relaxed and more put together than when I had 3 kids.
I still feel that.
But. BUT. My house.
You guys? My house is a pit.
It’s a tidy pit, for the most part, because I’m a relatively Kondo’d kinda girl without a lot of clutter to my name. But the floors are so dirty. And there are (used) pull-ups and clothes and shoes everywhere. Just everywhere.
I’m in constant go go go pick up pick up pick up mode. And I can’t seem to hit my stride. Eitther we all 1. get out the door for something (mom’s group, dr’s appointment, school drop off (<– more to come on that front. #cliffhanger) or 2. the breakfast dishes get done and oops it’s lunch and oops, maybe a shower at 3 pm…but we don’t leave the house, or sometimes 3. I crank the James Taylor Holiday station on Pandora and we hit “super bust out mode” for 20 minutes, and we hit it hard, and the house looks reasonably livable by nightfall.
But gone are the days when I could casually clean-as-you-go. Gone are those idyllic periods of time where nothing was in the washing machine or the laundry baskets for at least an hour. Sometimes 2!
There is never a moment now when I am fully caught up, and there is never a moment where I couldn’t be doing “something.”
I feel more stretched than ever before. I also feel really fulfilled. And over caffeinated. All the feels, you know?
But more than anything, I feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg. That life is going to get more chaotic and more busy and more …full. Because they’re growing. And I’m realizing that if I don’t grow with them, in wisdom and discipline and just plain competency…I’m going to wake up and be 43 years old and mostly bald.
Being a mom of little kids is grueling. It’s physically taxing and emotionally challenging, and at the end of the day I collapse into the couch and exhale and … whew.
But I can already tell that big kids are going to be harder. And I don’t even have any yet, not really. My oldest is 5-going-on-15, and I’m seeing more and more where the model of “mommy-does-everything” is going to fail him on so.many.levels. if I don’t start relinquishing some control and handing over the reins and just plain forcing him to do certain things for himself. And for the rest of the family.
I can see the temptation to keep doing all the cooking and cleaning myself, because I do it “right” and because I do it best (inarguably, I do.), but I have enough children now that it’s becoming physically impossible for me to do it all, and to have any sort of breathing room.
So this is just a kind of meditation on letting go, I guess.
Of expectations. Of unrealistic standards. Of the desire that everyone’s laundry be put away while still folded in the appropriate drawers.
It’s not. It won’t be. They’re learning to do it themselves, and I’m learning to let them do it themselves, and also that on any given day I have to choose what to let go. And it can’t be my personal prayer time, or even the 20 minutes I took the other night to play candy land with 2 highly incompetent and inefficient cohorts. They loved it, and I have to grit my teeth and learn to love it.
Because I know they need to see me resting. To see me being still and being silly and being open to doing something off script. God knows I’ve got a tightly crafted script running in my head at all times, and that I’d like to run a tight ship. I’m Gayle freaking Waters in my mind, for the love.
But I’m not meant to stay there. I really believe that’s a big part of the reason these kids are mine; to break me down. To refine me and refashion me into someone who’s less uptight and more focused on the things that matter. An eternal perspective instead of an internal perspective.
But I’m also confidant that I’m meant to teach my boys how to fold dishtowels and match socks, and to bite my perfectionist tongue when the end result looks positively barbaric. Because I can’t do it all. And they can’t do it perfectly. And that’s okay.
I do still really, really need to clean the bathrooms though.
Send clorox and warmest wishes.
(Oh, and p.s., in the sake of full disclosure, I’m also hiring a cleaning service to come once a month, and allocating some room in the budget from the categories of entertainment/home goods/groceries to do it. Because we can drop meat from one meal a week/I can stop buying random crap at Target/we can forgo that movie/date night/whathaveyou roughly to the tune of what it will cost to bring in an expert 12 times a year to reset our funk level from “obscene” to “clean-ish slate.” (Thanks, Blythe, for the nudge.)