Yep, this is what my "happy hours" are made of these days.
We were sipping wine and talking (ok, b*tching...) about our first-world, stay-at-home-mom problems, as our 4 children played, whined, yelled, complained, and interrupted our conversation every 2 to 3 minutes. We both have children around the same age, with close to 4 years between our oldest and youngest, so we always find ourselves having a conversation about the "challenging" ages and phases that our kids go through.
As I vented to her about my "week from hell" (our 15-month-old spiking fevers following his vaccines, teething, not sleeping, Papa Saigh's DIY bathroom renovation - the list goes on and on), my friend reminded me of the "living hell" that was her life when her youngest was 1, and her oldest was 5.
Her kids were 1 and 5 when I gave birth to our second child (Jimmy). After Jimmy arrived, I was having an extremely difficult time figuring out my new life with our then 4-year-old and a newborn, and was later diagnosed with having postpartum depression/anxiety. I remember asking her if this whole "mom of two" gig ever gets any better/easier. I was desperate to see a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. At the time, she didn't know that I was dealing with PPD, so she gave me a very honest answer to my question...
"Oh Melissa, it only gets harder".
I wanted to die.
How could it get any more difficult that THIS?!
|Just an average car ride with my 5-year-old and 15-month-old.|
She told me stories about how her then 1 and 5-year-old were constantly fighting, not sleeping, whining about the other sibling, etc., and how she struggled to get through a normal day.
Cut to a year later: I've overcome PPD, and figured out my new "normal" as a mom of two. But now, my kids are at those difficult ages that my friend was telling me about.
And... it's f*cking hard.
Our 5-year-old wants the same attention, personal space, and privacy that she had prior to becoming a big sister. If she's not fighting with her brother over a toy, complaining about him being "annoying", agitating him, or shutting a door in his face in order to get some privacy, she's doing things she knows aren't right, just to get a reaction/attention from us. The 1-year-old is starting to learn about sharing, having patience, and using his words when he wants something... All while teething, and not feeling well following his 15-month vaccines.
Our home has become "Meltdown Central"... And I feel like I'm constantly yelling (pretty sure I said I'd "NEVER yell at my kids"... BEFORE I had kids).
Yeah, I've totally become a "yelling mom".
I struggle to get the 5-year-old to her after-school activities, as the 1-year-old can't seem to go anywhere without having a public meltdown. And while I'd love to sit and enjoy our daughter's dance class, piano lessons, etc., I'm constantly chasing after the "beast" that is our toddler.
Then... there are the car rides.
Oh, the f*cking car rides.
Jimmy can't get through even the shortest car ride without whining, crying, and/or screaming. During the rare moments he is actually quiet, he's either smushing food into his car seat, or dumping his juice all over himself. Next to him is the 5-year-old, demanding radio-station changes, needing a snack, trying to tell me a story, asking a million questions, complaining about and teasing her brother, etc.
A dash-cam video of my facial expressions during these epic car rides, could be its own reality show.
|There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.|
As I sit here and complain about what seems to be the never-ending, hellish phase that we're currently in, I know that I will seriously miss this sh*t someday. This phase isn't forever. It isn't permanent. And, let's be honest... Things could be SO much worse. My kids are just being kids, testing boundaries, and adjusting to THEIR new "normal". It's my job to help them navigate through these new emotions and transitions.
Papa Saigh and I chose to wait 3 years before we tried for a second child. Some parents have their kids back-to-back, and some decide to go the "one and done" route. No matter how you slice it... Parenthood is tough. Every age and phase our kids go through has its magical moments, as well as the overwhelmingly sh*tty moments... Moments that are enough to leave the strongest parents in tears.
Tough times are temporary.
But so is the magic.
One day, all of these moments will become "the past". Our babies will grow up, and we'll be left with only memories of these moments... The moments that are their childhood.
I'm so not ready for the reality of that day.
When I started writing this blog post a week ago, I was in the thick of what seemed to be a string of sh*tty moments. I was focusing on the "struggles", and failing to see the magic that are my two, growing kiddos. My babies are turning into independent little humans faster than this mama is ready for. If I continue to "just make it until bedtime", I'm missing out on all the magic.
So now, I'm choosing to live in the moment... Embracing the highs, as well as the lows. Sure, this is easier said than done, and it's only a matter of time before I'm going off on my next "mommy rant". But, bottom line...
I will never get these moments back.
So, mamas... Let's embrace ALL OF IT.
The good. The bad. The ugly.
But, when you find a fellow mama struggling to embrace "the ugly", come to her rescue with a bottle of wine, and an open ear. Thank you to all the incredible moms who have come to my rescue over the last 5 years.