Sunday, September 27, 2009

Unfun

So, I am apparently the most "unfun" mommy in the whole wide world. I'm so unfun because I don't let the princesses eat fast food for every meal. I'm so unfun because I won't drop everything and take the princesses to the "Bouncy Barn" every time we drive by it (which is several times a day). I'm so unfun because I don't have an endless supply of "special" things planned each day (whatever this elusive "special" thing is, I have no clue). I'm so unfun because I won't let the princesses watch TV every waking minute.

This unfun mommy is ok with that. I remember as a child hearing my mother say to me: "you think you have it so bad? You have no idea!" Of course, as a child, the worst thing in the world was not being allowed to go rollerskating when I had homework to do, or having to actually make my bed every morning (gasp!). Now as an adult I've seen way too many news reports and heard way too many stories I wish I could erase from my mind. I know I had it good. And I know my princesses have it good as well. So I guess I'll just have to put up with being the "unfun" mommy. Someday they'll know how good they have it. Just wish I had thought to record my mom's declarations to me. Would've saved my voice a bit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's a Sonic for dinner day

It's been a day from you-know-where. You ever have those? I am at my end, quite literally. I can only wear so many hats, I can only be in so many places at once, I can only be so much to so many people. I really need a multiplier. Something to create about 3-4 of me. Then I'd be golden.

Today's frustration centers around that I have to work outside my home. The number of mouths we have to feed on a daily basis demands it. It's just our lot in life, it's where we're at right now. And I have a great part-time job. I have the most patient, understanding boss who puts up with sharing me more often than he should probably have to. I work with great ladies who make me smile and are uplifting. It's NICE to get away from home and my daily chaos from time to time and just do mindless shuffling of papers. And yet it's such a burden too.

Hubby and I swap childcare. So when he works I watch the kids and when I work he watches the kids. Since his job is more demanding and mine is more flexible, I basically work around his schedule. That's a blessing and at the same time a curse. I'm tired of trying to squeeze my hours in, tired of trying to be a good employee who's worth her paycheck while still juggling and balancing my responsibilities at home. I'm tired of passing hubby in the night. I really feel like I'm stretched to my capacity, and I'm not doing anything well. That's the worst part. I just don't compartmentalize well. When I'm at work I'm thinking about how I'm missing out on time with the princesses and hubby, I'm thinking about the laundry that needs to be done or what we're having for dinner. When I'm at home I'm thinking about how I'm going to get my work hours in or how I'm going to have enough time to finish what I need to. So neither place gets my full attention and being the perfectionist that I am, that sucks.

So now I find myself approaching the end of a miserable day where I feel like I've given half of myself to work and half of myself to home and neither place has gotten 100%. It's the sort of day where I'll just eek through doing only what's required of me and hope I don't screw things up. These sorts of days inevitably end with dinner out. It's like my one bright spot. I can feed my family without making a mess in the kitchen. A mess that I have to clean up. The princesses are happy because they get a toy with their meal, I'm happy because I don't have to deal with it, I can just eat. Happiness found in a Wacky Pack. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe it will come with a toy in the bag.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air

Today, while strolling through Target (well, I use that word loosely as I was accompanied by Princesses #2, #3 and #4 and honestly, not much "strolling" goes on when I have those 3 to deal with - but anyway, I digress.), Princess #2 leans back in the cart and takes in a deep breath of air and says with a sigh: "ah, it's so good to be let out of the castle walls." After I recovered from busting a gut laughing, I amused myself with various day dreams - oh to have castle walls to be let out of in the first place!

And I wonder if that's what it feels like to a little kid. Here are my 4 princesses, held captive in our "castle" (ha!), only let out when Your Majesty feels so inclined. And lately, it takes alot for Your Majesty to feel inclined. I mean, who can blame me really, right? I wish I was a more "fun" mom, one that had more organization, more energy, more creative-ness, and more time (ah, the holy grail!). So many times the princesses come home from school and our activities include a little reading, a little coloring, a little TV (gasp! yes, it's true!). Nothing very inspiring or exciting. No wonder Princess #2 was thrilled at the thought of going to Target.

I think I've got to let go of the idea that I can be some sort of super mom with really cool snacks and crafts and other entertaining things that don't include the TV or going to the store. Let's face it, right now I'm doing good just to have food in the fridge. And if an outing to Target inspires declarations of satisfaction from my princesses, then so be it. There are worse things, I suppose.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Man Up

We had a momentous weekend this week. Hubby had a procedure done to ensure that our last princess remains our last princess. That's right folks, the old "snip snip". I should probably be ashamed to admit that I'm so very happy that he finally got it done. If you know me or have followed my blog you know that Princess #4 was quite an unplanned surprise. I think at the time hubby and I talked a really big talk about being done, D.O.N.E. After Princess #3 was born, anytime anyone asked us if we were going to "try for that boy" (nudge nudge wink wink), we'd always laugh and say over and over, no way, we are finished!

Quite obviously, we were NOT finished. And I think if I were to over analyze it (which I wouldn't EVER be prone to do - haha!), that's probably why we never did anything permanent to make sure that we were finished. I mean, it's sort of a big deal, to put to an end your childbearing years. How does one ever decide when their family is complete? Not that I'd ever want to compete with the Duggars, but I can sorta understand how it would be difficult to decide to not have any more children, when that's all you've done for half your life.

But after #4.... oh well that is QUITE a different story. While I might have had unexplored corners of my heart and mind that subconsciously led us to have a 4th princess, I can guarantee you that there is no concern for that now. I was literally counting down the days to hubby's appointment. And you'll be glad to know he sailed through with no problem. All I have to say is after carrying 4 princesses for 9 months, and laboring and delivering each of them, well - it's the least he can do. And he'd be the first to agree. (side note, if you're a guy and you're faced with this decision - man up. That is all.)

It's hard to believe, but hubby and I have been married for nearly 10 years. And we've spent those 10 years having babies. It was a wonderful decade of new love and the creation of a family. And now I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. 10 years of raising those babies into beautiful young princesses. I'm ready to focus on that next phase. So while in some (very small) ways it's a bit bittersweet to know that we will have no more children, that thought is definitely overruled by the knowledge that now we will have the opportunity to grow up our family and concentrate on living, loving and enjoying life together.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Someday

Someday, when my princesses can spread the toothpaste without making a mess, will I miss them needing me to brush their teeth every night?

Someday, when my princesses can dress themselves, will I miss them needing me to lay out their clothes everyday?

Someday, when my princesses can open the refrigerator by themselves, will I miss them expecting me to drop everything to get them a drink of milk?

Someday, when my princesses can entertain themselves, will I miss dressing Barbies and putting together puzzles?

Someday, when my princesses can make their own food, will I miss nuking chicken nuggets and washing tons of grapes?

Someday, when my princesses can read chapter books on their own, will I miss spending the evenings laboring over 'Hop On Pop'?

Someday, when my princesses can bathe themselves, will I miss painstakingly washing their hair while not a drop of water gets in their eyes?

Someday, when my princesses can drive, will I miss them needing me to cart them all over town?

Someday, when my princesses can talk on the phone, will I miss them wanting to tell me every small detail of their day?

Someday, when my princesses decide that sleep is a GOOD thing, will I miss singing them to sleep?

Someday, when my princesses like boys, will I miss hearing their declarations that boys are "icky"?

Someday, when my princesses fall in love, will I miss being #1 in their life?

Someday, when my princesses are all grown up, will I be ready?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Keep the candle burnin'

I'm burning a candle tonight. It's sitting on my end table right next to the couch. This may seem inconsequential, but this is HUGE. Before children (shall we call this time BC?) I had candles all over the place. I'm a huge fan of fall scented candles - pumpkin spice, harvest, cinnamon rolls, autumn leaves, etc. I used to have them everywhere. The fireplace mantle, the kitchen counter, the bathroom - everywhere. There's just something homey and welcoming about candles burning.

Well, quite obviously, kids and candles don't mix. I was stubborn for awhile, after princess #1 was born. I kept them out of her way but of course at first it wasn't a huge issue since she didn't start crawling until she was 8 months old. Once that age hit though, my candle burning era started coming to a close. I resisted as long as possible, but slowly over time the candles started disappearing. It just wasn't worth it. It's amazing how having kids infiltrates every corner of your being and consumes even the smallest detail. I'm not sure that getting rid of candles was even a conscious decision. It just happened. It made sense that in a home with 4 little ones running around, candles weren't a good decorating accent.

All that to say, I received some wonderful fall scented candles for my birthday (which was yesterday, by the way) from my work. I debated setting them out on my desk and lighting them for the few brief hours I was there, but decided instead to take them home. Of course I walked in the door and immediately fell into "mommy mode" and the candles sat in their gift bag unopened on my bed all afternoon and evening. But tonight, once the 4 littles were all tucked away and sleeping soundly, I carefully unwrapped each one and decided to light the pumpkin spice candle first. And so it sits, proudly on my little end table next to my couch, well within reach of little fingers (that are fast asleep in their beds), and my house smells like pumpkin pie... at least for a little while.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I don't know how you do it!

There is this sweet lady we run into regularly, and it never fails that when we engage her in conversation she inevitably will make the statement: "I don't know how you do it!". I "think" she means it as a compliment, like I'm accomplishing something spectacular... I'm never really sure how to answer her so I usually laugh it off with a "I don't know either!". I laugh it off, but inside I'm frantically taking stock: Is my shirt on inside out? Did I remember to brush my teeth? Did I forget to put eyeliner on BOTH eyes? Can she see I'm actually just barely holding on by my fingertips? I mean, I get it. One look at me and my 4 princesses out and about and I'd probably have the same thoughts about me!

But the truth is, I think I DO know how I do it. I mean, not specifically, but overall - yeah. I know how. I do it because it's LIFE. It's my life. It's not like I can wake up in the morning and tell princess #2 who is climbing in my side of the bed at 6 am begging for breakfast that I'm sorry, I'm not doing it today. She'll have to ask someone else (and oh how at times I've dreamt that I could!). I don't know anything different. Most days, being mommy to 4 princesses isn't overwhelming to me because it's what I DO, every.single.day. And I really don't feel like I'm doing anything spectacular as I nuke 15 chicken nuggets for dinner or change a dozen diapers in a day. The fact that we run from one activity to the next on a daily basis is tiring, yes, but still... normal somehow. It almost makes me feel uncomfortable to be regarded as doing something remarkable. I mean really, how remarkable can cleaning dried boogers off a dirty face be?

So then I have to stop and force myself to really take a look at what's going on in our home. Past the chicken nuggets, diapers and boogers. Past what I see day in and day out, and to what people from the outside looking in see. I think it's so easy for me to get caught up in the small, mundane details that make up my life, that I often fail to see the big picture. And I end up selling myself short. Because where I see normalcy, others see extraordinary. Not everyone gets the privilege of raising 4 princesses. Sometimes I need to take a step back and recognize the incredible gift we've been given, and see how truly remarkable that is.

PS - if you do happen to notice me wearing my shirt inside out, please let me know. I may be doing something extraordinary, but I AM still the mommy to 4 princesses. Alot can happen to my brain cells between getting out of bed and getting dressed!
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