3 Is The New 6

“Now, I see we didn’t do x-rays last time?  Remind me why that is again?” a short, latino hygienist asks thru her round spectacles.

I quickly reply “Because I was pregnant” while bracing myself for a series of questions I know are to come.  Questions that I am annoyingly asked on the regular.  By complete strangers, I may add.  The same questions that invoke feelings of frustration, ironic humor and a tint of “none of your damn business”…I mean… a sense of privy.

“Oh, really?  How many kids do you have? ”

And so it begins.

I politely answer, “Three.”

“Oh, wow.  How old?”

Yup, saw that one coming.

“Four, two, and four months.”  

And what will it be next?  Will it be “So this is your last, right?”  “Are you done?” “Are you going to have another one?” or is the lucky winner going to be plain yet loud “I don’t know how you have more than one;  and all so little.”

“Are you going to have another one?”  Winner…winner…chicken dinner.

And the answer….I don’t know. Having three kids now a days is hard!

I am the last of six.  I’m the oops baby.  The “I’m pregnant?  I thought I was going through menopause baby?”  I’m the envied sibling, because by the time I came mom and dad had money to spend.  My husband has three other siblings.  And to top it off, I’m Mormon.  We’re programmed to have like eight kids, right?!  So why is it that I am so unwilling to think about having more kids right now?

Could it be the fact that I just had a kid?  Possibly.

Could it be that my baby is the easiest of my three kids?  Probably.  No, really.  The other two are kicking my butt.  I mean, how funny is that the one child who depends solely on me to meet his every need is the easiest?  That’s irony for you.

Or is it that in today’s world 3 is the new 6?

Forget, the exorbitant cost of vacationing with a large family or simply going out to eat. Let’s briefly reflect on the required things, like feeding all 6 mouths.  I’ve gone grocery shopping with three kids and by the end look like I just crossed the plains by handcart; that or am secretly plotting my own kidnapping so I can have a five minute break without kids.

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I don’t know how women like my mother had six kids.  Six unique, different personalities interacting on a daily basis without the blessings of iPhones, tablets and Disney Jr.  Did they ever leave the house?  How did they go out to eat?  Or grocery shop for that matter?  Better yet, how did they keep madness from ensuing, stopping sibling tussles from turning into bitter rivalries and blood baths equivalent to the Hatfields and McCoys, the Jets vs Sharks, Bloods vs Crips (What? I’m from California.  Can I not make mention of that?)  Ok..ok.. how about Lindsey Lohan vs sobriety?  You get the point.

To those men and woman who choose to have large families, I salute you.  And to those who in this day and age are going for a handful or more, I don’t know how you do it but BRAVO.  I swear Heavenly Father is sending down some of his most stubborn strongest spirits to endure such a world.

My daughter has a mind of her own.  Good luck telling her to do or think something she doesn’t want.  You almost never win.  She is that set in her ways.  This is why my husband and I are so determined to raise our children not just in the church, but ridiculously active followers of Christ.  I’m convinced that Sarah is just like her father.  The only thing that is going to change her mind is the Holy Ghost.  I know that if she gains a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, she will not falter.  And if you try to get her to think anything contrary….well, good luck to you.  It ain’t happening.

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My daughter isn’t a unicorn.  Rather, I am finding many other parents who share similar battle stories.  We wear our scars (i.e. spit-up riddled clothing, unkept messy hair, and memories of that horrible grocery trip) as badges of honor.  We are all in the same fox hole, afraid to lift our heads up for fear of it being blown off.  And like me, they too, are baffled by these little mustangs coming down to earth.  Were children always like this or is it truly a “gift” they have inherited in the pre-existence to survive the negative ideas and stereotypes of today’s world?

I tend to lean to the former.

“Are you pregnant?”  The technician asks as she places a ridiculously heavy lead vest on me while prepping to take x-rays.

My response: “I better not be.”

After all 3 is the new 6.

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Can I Have a Do-over?

Have you ever had one of those days that by 9:30 a.m. you’re wishing for a redo?

You just feel so incredibly defeated, frustrated and/or guilty?

That was me yesterday.  Need proof?  Look at the pic below.  Nuff said.

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I don’t know what it was but I knew I had so much to do and I couldn’t motivate myself to do it which then in-turn created more guilt that basically crippled me.  I watched a movie the other day in which the main character claimed to be STRESS PARALYZED.  Now, I am fully aware that this is a made up thing.  But it should be real thing because that’s what I felt.

Maybe it’s the adjustment to being a full time SHM (stay at-home mom) but I mean come on…. it’s been 9 months or more.  I should have this down to a freaking art right now.  Theoretically, I do.  I have an awesome schedule.  I love my schedule!

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On paper it makes me look like I am so productive and well-balanced.  There’s activities for the kids and for me, structure, space to write in the week’s meals, to-do list, etc.  The problem is that I never remember to fill out the schedule until midway through the week; and then at that point I feel like I don’t want to have a paper that’s half empty so then I just put it off until the following week.  Thinking to myself, I’m going to do it on Sunday.  Sunday comes and goes, then Monday and Tuesday and then again I catch myself thinking: Crap, I never did my schedule.  Oh well.  It’s too late now.

Have you ever purposely added things you’ve already done to a checklist to check them off and feel good about yourself?  That’s me. Wierd I know.

Anyways, I’m trying but I haven’t quite got this whole schedule thing worked out.  I just need to get up and be like Nephi (go and do) but yesterday all I saw were the many things that needed to be done- play with my kids, clean my house, toys, fit in yard work, figure out a way to make money from home and then some.  Not to mention, I would like to keep up the blog that I started… that I love… that I haven’t been getting around to lately because of my responsibilities and tasks.

Everything all just comes at one time and in those moments all I want to do is sit there in a little ball and watch a chick flick.  Unfortunately, this is a dream because as soon as the desire takes root the four month old cries and then the mom guilt sets in.

I’m not taking care of my child.  Yes, he’s only 4 months but he needs his mom’s love and affection. Oh look he rolled over!!!  You’re such a big boy. Great, now he’s crying because he is now stuck on his belly.  Quickly, I go to roll his royal fatness over.  Wow, he’s getting really good at rolling over.  Ah, crap.  He’s stuck on his belly again.  Seriously, dude.  Please stop rolling over and getting stuck on your belly.

 And there it is …. the two and four year old are fighting again. What are they fighting over now?  Toys?  Food?  What?  A sticker.  Yup, it would be a sticker.  And now what are you doing?  Yes, let’s dump everything out of your dresser.  Clothes all over the ground.  Hey, why not?  Let’s just add it to the list of crap that needs to be cleaned and picked up.

Yes, yesterday was one of those days. By 9:30 a.m. I was hoping for a reset button.

The house was a mess and time was running out before I needed to take the oldest midget to preschool.  That’s when the pressure really hits.

For those who aren’t aware, I live in my childhood home keeping an eye on my parent’s place while they serve a church service mission as LDS Temple Presidents in Redlands, CA. I love my parents!  They are amazing parents. It’s great living close to them after living away from them for the past several years. Seriously, it is.  The downside- mom and dad live so close that they can and do come home whenever they feel like it.  As they should.

Don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t a bad thing in the slightest.  I love seeing my parents.  I have a great relationship with them and my kids love seeing their grandparents.  The fact that my mom completely spoils them; probably plays a key role in that.  It’s just that I never know if the house will be clean when they pop in.  It’s like there is an axe hanging over my head, not knowing when is going to drop.  If you are reading this, sorry dad.  I love you.  Please don’t tell mom.

It’d be different if they popped in unexpectedly at my own home.  If it’s a mess no biggie- it’s my mess.  But this is their home; with that comes a feeling of obligation to treat it well.  And so it goes.

Will the house be clean or dirty when they pop in?

Are they going to be disappointed that I can’t keep their home of 30+ years nice?  Will they have to start cleaning for me?  As the self-inflicted guilt sets in, I quickly make excuses and/or run like a chicken with my head cut off to get things put away or hidden.

Like I said, it is just a hot mess.  I’m a hot mess.

So yesterday, with little time left before taking little miss to school, I went around trying to hurry and clean the areas of the house I think they’re going to walk through if they come.  The goal- make the house somewhat presentable.

As I do so, I start feeling guilty that I’m neglecting my kids…but the house needs to be cleaned…but the kids… oh that floor…and the cycle goes round and round.  It’s exhausting being in my head.

And I fully admit, 100%, that it is all me.  My fault entirely.  I’m creating the drama in my head.  I’m probably making up issues that don’t exist.  However, said acknowledgment does not bring any peace of mind.

This kind of sound like the ramblings of a crazy woman.

Well guess what?  I am.

You would go crazy too trying to wrangle three midgets daily, while making three homemade meals a day, cleaning, taking care of personal and business finances and then some.

CRAZINESS IS MY LIFE.

I’d like to say I got this and some days I do; just not yesterday.  So, what’s the game plan? What do you do when you are feeling done before the breakfast cereal even becomes soggy?

Make a conscious decision to change your mindset.  Then, make a game plan.

I feel more comfortable when my house is clean.  It’s nice; plus, it takes away the stress of what if my parents come home and the house is dirty.  So I did just that.  I quickly picked up the kitchen and vaccumed the carpet.  That way if my parents came home a dirty kitchen wouldn’t be the first thing they see.

Next, DECIDE TO MAKE AMENDS (with self and kids).

I took a deep breath and decided that I would do my best while Sarah was at school and be content with that.  I also apologized to my daughter for my behavior.  She and I spoke and agreed that if she had a good day at school then I would take her and her brothers to the park right after.

After stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few items, I continued on my “You can do This” to-do list which included feed brothers, put midgets down for nap, clean basement, and do some tax stuff.  If I could have those things done before I had to pick up Sarah at 3:30 life would be much better. I would be able to relax and let my kids be kids at the park without me stressing about all the things I should have done, didn’t do, and wasn’t doing at that time.

And I did.

I know you have had days like this.  There’s one lady I follow on Facebook by the handle Scissortail Silk.  She’s developed a whole community.  Reading her posts and other’s comments makes me feel less bad as a mom.  It’s nice to know that there are other moms out there going through the same things as me.  They have just as much love for their kids as I do.  Like me, they too occasionally want to just crawl in a hole and stay there.

We’re all going through the same struggles.  We all have those days where we want to reset an hour after waking up for the day but it is in those days we have to take solace in the fact that 1) we are not alone and 2) we are not the first to experience this.

ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BE AFFECTED.

I didn’t want my day to be ruined.  So I decided to stop wallowing, stop being frustrated and stop yelling at my kids.

I choose a few small things that I knew I could do and feel good about. My advice to you is to do the same.

On those days when you are feeling done, choose three things that you can do easily and well; then do it.  Don’t overload yourself.  Pick a few things.  Once you’ve accomplished one task (even if it’s a tiny thing like empty the bathroom trash) you’ll feel better about yourself.

When you take time to hang out with your kids (even if just for 5 minutes) and you hear them laugh, the mom guilt goes away and you feel rejuvenated.  With that renewed energy you can accomplish more.  Preaching to the choir right?  Hey, I’m learning along with you.

I’ll tell you what I tell myself.  It can be done.  We have all lived through rough days; sometimes by the skin of our teeth.  Nevertheless, we survive.  I believe in you and I believe in me.  Good luck.

**In case you are wondering where I find the time to write this.  I first speak my thoughts into a text or fb message then copy and paste to edit.  This is what I’m looking at as I start editing this post.  Those thighs!!!  I love my fat kid 2.0.