Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Easy is a Moving Target

I have a friend whose children are five months younger than mine. So her oldest is not yet two, and her littlest is about two months. She is in the "crazy" stage and we had a lot of "fun" (wink wink) commiserating when she came to visit the other day, laughing about how ridiculously hard some days can be. You know, those days when your kids are crying and screaming and so you end up crying and screaming and then by the evening you're in a puddle on the floor thinking, "God, I am a horrible mother, why did you think this was a good idea?!" Those kind of days.

I think it is so important to have mother friends who have been where you are. So important. Partly so that you can laugh about the bad days with them. There is nothing like someone else's stories to give you a little perspective!

I have a lot on my plate right now. I have some writing commitments I'm struggling to meet, some editorial work, and some work I'm getting paid to do but has a deadline and is time-consuming. It feels like I have a part time job. And in the meanwhile Michael has more energy than ever, and he needs me to be present for him. The twins are starting solids, and I'm trying to get them on a nap schedule, and every time I think we've found a routine that works BAM they change things up again.

Ever since the twins were born I feel like I've been clinging to the idea of some future time when things will be "easy" again. I've read through forums, I've asked other twin moms, I've searched on Google: when do things get easy?

But listening to my friend, I realized ... six months ago, if I could've seen my life now, I would have called it easy!

I think this is partly because things have gotten easier. The twins sleep a little better, they're content on their own or with their brothers for much longer periods of time, they're happy nursers. I no longer have to stay in Michael's room for half an hour at night until he falls asleep because of nighttime separation anxiety. I am cooking dinner every night, going grocery shopping once a week, and for the most part my clean laundry all gets folded in a timely manner. All things I could only dream about six months ago.

There are still plenty of other challenges. Naps that are too short, nights that are disrupted, exhaustion that leaves no room for writing or quality conversation with my husband or the myriad of projects we want to tackle with the house. Encouraged by the fact I had meals under control, I signed up to take some meals to new mothers in the area. That was a mistake and I ended up flaking on all but one of them. I am still in a position where I need help rather than give it.

And of course there are some new challenges. Michael is ... well, he's two years old. Dominic is about to start crawling. Etc.

I think I am coming out of survival mode. But life is by no means "easy."

Except for once a few weekends ago, when I was home alone with just one baby. THAT was easy. And yet being home along with a baby would have been so hard when it was just Michael.

Perhaps life doesn't have to be easy in order to be good.

Rosie, a fellow twin mom (who is expecting her fifth! yay!), once told me that things get easier and then harder and then easier again. I am starting to experience that for myself. Things keep changing, and so I keep changing. As a parent you are forced to stretch, to grow, and growth is hard.

In any area of life when you master one thing, when something becomes "easy," it's time to move on to the next step. Except I have always had a tendency to want to stay where it's easy. To stick with what I already know and can do. Which eventually leads to stagnation.

Parenthood doesn't let you do that.

And so I trust that even hardship, even my failures as a parent, are a mercy, are a source of grace, because they are leading me to become a better person who has more to give, to my family and to others.

9 comments:

  1. yes, that is so true. ... I had no idea you were working AND had kids. wow. Lord have mercy, that is a LOT. ((hug)) to you...

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    1. It's something I've only been doing the past month ... it is easy work but time consuming. Luckily the twins started napping just in time for me to work on this! :)

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  2. This was great, Rosemary. I've always found it interesting how our capabilities seem to stretch to our circumstances. When I was working full-time before having children, I was legitimately very busy and sometimes very stressed out. But I couldn't have handled the kind of busyness and stress I now have as a stay-at-home mother to three littles.

    But you know what? These days, I don't think I could handle the kind of busyness and stress I had back then! Then I was suited for what was then on my plate; now I am suited for what is now on my plate.

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  3. We are changed by all these children and life with them, although I guess usually we're too busy to notice it. I guess easy is all relative... And maybe not all that relevant. Maybe all there is is today and the grace sufficient to handle it!

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  4. So so true! I was just thinking the same thing today. When I just had Pippa, going to the neighbourhood park (five minute's walk) often felt like an ENORMOUS task. Today I took three kids to a park that's a bus ride away, and stopped at the library on the way home. And it was just normal! I was laughing because the walk home from the library takes me right by the little park and I was remembering how the walk to the park with 18 month old Pippa solo seemed like the hardest thing in the world.

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  5. Thank goodness these kids only come one or two at a time! I think one reason people freak out so much at the prospect of 10 kids or something is because they forget that the load increases only a little at a time, and you learn to deal (and get a lot of grace in the process)!

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  6. Totally true about things getting easier then harder and back-and-forth! Things are still crazy about here (and I still have moments every day where I feel like a terrible mother), but so much easier than a couple months ago.

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  7. This is a great post... I've been thinking about it a lot, and how it relates to conversations I've had recently about how "happiness" is also a "moving target", as you put it.

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  8. I feel very similarly about easy being sort of elusive. Things are definitely easier than when my third child was born nearly 6 months ago, but as children grow the challenges are not eliminated they just change. I still think the learning curve with my 1st actually made having just one child the hardest time for me as a mother.

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