The first two weeks of Bea’s life, I had
several many moments where I felt paralyzed by fear. How was I going to do this? My boys are such a handful, and now I have a baby to add to the mix? A cold sweat would come over me as I silently willed myself not to run screaming from our house.
Ok, that sounds dramatic. But still.
We’ve been a family of five for a little over five months, now, and those feelings of complete panic are fewer and farther between. Bea is growing into the loveliest human being I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter, but babies still require so much. My boys continue to be an absolute hot mess – I literally just had to walk away from my lap top as I’m writing this to go put Oliver back in his crib. He was supposed to be napping. Instead, I found him in my room with all my lipsticks uncapped and some delightful graffiti on my dressing table mirror. What a punk.
Boys will be boys and I’m absolutely smitten with mine. Every single person in my family takes turns driving me crazy, and I know I return the favor from time to time. That’s what happens when you live in close quarters with other humans. It’s the good sort of crazy, though. The kind of crazy that takes you just to the edge before you realize that what you should be doing is laughing, so you do. We spend a lot of time laughing. That, and cleaning lipstick off mirrors, markers off couches, and colored pencil off walls. Maybe Oliver will be the next Banksy?
The kids and I have found a good groove lately. I live for Mondays. Can you believe that? Mondays are the golden day where – coming off the high of the weekend where daddy was home with us – we have nowhere to go and do whatever we want to do. I usually get a few things done. I make the kids play together. I’ll read them a few books then I sit them on the sofa with a pile to thumb through while I read something on my own. Theo takes a nap on Mondays because, it’s Monday, and Monday is a good day, full of good things. During nap time I’ll blog and do yoga. I’ll fold laundry and listen to a podcast.
Mike and a friend work out every Monday afternoon; I’ll send the boys down to the weight room which frees me up to make dinner uninterrupted (usually). I’ll bring Bea’s bassinet into the kitchen with me, where she will cat nap while I’ll cook. I’ll listen to music if I’m cooking from a recipe, or a podcast if I’m whipping something up from memory. On Mondays, dinners are simple and early.
In the evenings, after Mike has come in from working in his wood shop, we will unwind together. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we watch a show. We always, always have something to eat. Because, snacks are a crucial part of any relationship! And then he is off to bed. I stay up far later than anyone else in the house; far later than I probably should. I made a mental resolution recently, though, to be ok waking up tired. I told myself not to take it out on the kids, because I made the choice to stay up late. I also told myself to keep doing what I’m doing, because it’s worth being a little tired in the morning if it means I get to have a few hours to myself. Sometimes I’ll read. Sometimes I’ll bake something I know Mike and the kids would like for a snack the next few days. Sometimes I just watch Netflix.
I read an article recently that talked about the power of the five whys. Have you heard this? Say you have a problem. Ask yourself a series of five “whys” and work back to the root of the problem so that you can actually fix the problem and not the symptom of the problem. It’s genius. I did this recently when I was feeling really dissatisfied with my day to day.
I’m dissatisfied with how my day looks.
It doesn’t feel very exciting or meaningful.
All I do is take care of the house, kids, and our life stuff.
This is what I chose to do. I chose to stay home.
Because I wanted the freedom to be at home to take care of the kids, our life, and to blog.
Because I believe they have value.
Suddenly, I was reminded that – though it seems like my days are simple and not all that special – they hold a great deal of value: for me, for my kids, and for my husband. Sometimes you have to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. It’s so easy to take our choices for granted. It’s so easy to be ready for the next thing. It requires discipline to remind yourself why you chose what you chose, and to return to your original values.
We might newly be a family of five, but in many ways, we are much the same. We continue to do what we do with great intention. Sure, there may be plenty of times that I get discouraged by the monotony of my day or by the seemingly smallness of my world. But it’s during those times that I come back to my why. Why am I doing this? Am I doing this for them?
Yes. But I’m also doing this, for me.