Last night I had a board meeting for our summer swim league. I hold a board position and am required to attend countless meetings. Chris is out of town so I had to find a babysitter, and rides home from swim practice for the two big kids.
My friend's daughter has been babysitting a lot for us lately. I haven't really talked to my friend in a while so yesterday when I ran up to the door to grab the babysitter, I was happy that she answered it because I could get a chance to check in and just say hi. Also, it's nice to get to talk to adults when you are consumed by children 24/7. When she opened the door she said, "five kids huh?". I realized that this is the first moment I've even had to talk to her since Asher was born two months ago. I'm such a great friend I know.
But that comment got to me. Five kids. That's me now.
I get the babysitter all squared away then I run over to my meeting with Asher in hand. I walk in and another of the meeting goers said hello and then, "you're always with your baby. I don't think I've ever seen you without him."
The badge of motherhood...I always have kids in tow.
Then after my very long meeting, I realize that I have a babysitter and a need to buy a few groceries. I decided that I should sneak away and do that nearly childless. What a wonderful concept, and a rare treat. While I'm checking out, the checkout lady says, "only one baby tonight?"
Yikes, there it is again. For some reason the world feels very inspired to remind me over and over again that my identity is my children. One of my biggest fears as a mother, bear with me, is that I would be known as that crazy lady with too many kids. Kids that are not neat looking, or that are always fighting/crying. The lady who wears pajama bottoms out in public with messy hair and snot on her shoulder. That people would look at my crazy life and say, "that's why I only had one!". I never wanted to be that lady.
Up until recently I wore motherhood very well. I had it all in check. I got a text from an old friend yesterday (that I still have not replied to...whoops). She had her fifth baby at the same time we had Ash. Our kids ages mirror each other as well. Her text simply said, "5 kids is kicking my butt! What about you, hanging in there?". Five kids are totally kicking my butt, and until you've experienced it you just don't know! I've worked full time at a very busy job. I've juggled responsibilities. Nothing in my life comes close to the crazy that is five kids, and I'm pretty sure I've lost all grip.
My kids never match, their hair is always crazy. Someone is always crying...always. I have snot on me constantly. And yes I've left the house in my jammie pants because they are comfortable and I just don't have the time to care about that nonsense. It is utter insanity at times. The scariest part of the equation is the looming thought that we are not done having children. There will be another...hopefully not for a few years, but there's more. I try to deny that fact daily but I can't.
I've stumbled onto a blog recently about a LDS mom of five kids. Her kids are in the next stage after mine. She has all school aged kids and teenagers. I have gained a lot of strength from her blog. It's the first time actually that I've gained worth from another persons blog. The quote I put up was something she quoted. I loved it.
We are trying so hard to whittle our life down to very simple things. The amount of extras I've had to say no to is crazy. I've never turned down people and opportunities so much as I have this last few months. I've never had to put less than 100 percent into my obligations as much as I do now. That's very hard for me. I am learning in a very painful way that this family must be the only priority. They deserve the 100 percent. I am always falling short there too, but we are making progress.
I've had to stop going to book club. I'm giving up my board position on swim team. My house is more cluttered than I'd like. Zander isn't going to scout camp because I simply cannot find time to volunteer there or go to the training meetings I'd have to attend. My photography has been pushed aside (that makes me very sad). I don't see my friends as often as I would like. We did finally get a date night last week (with Asher, but still). I don't ever have time to experience the joy from cooking dinner as I used to. It's hard. It's very very hard.
And with all of this cutting out I still feel so overwhelmed with things to do. My full time job is my family. I don't get a paycheck, or paid vacation. I don't get to leave at five. I feel like a referee all day and often times I look at myself and just wonder what on earth I'm doing! I feel like a rat running on a wheel. But then I get the glimpse. I remember why I do it.
It's for these!
And this one!
It's for her!
Plus a few more.
We do what we do for the sweetness that is our children. I run around like a crazy lady day in and day out. I check off lists and get things done. We do it for them! They are the worth in all of it. So yes, five kids. Yes, always one in tow. Yes, they are kicking my butt. Yes they are the most awesome things we do. Yes they are better than any other thing on that to do list. And yes when I take a step back I'm thankful for everyone of them and would not change a thing. I'll give up the world for them and oftentimes feel like I have. That's a good thing...