How fortunate I am to be surrounded by so much love, I know. There are four other people who, if they had it their way, would have constant love, attention, and physical connection from me. How great right? Yes, on some days, and in some moments, this is truly great. On other days, and in other moments, I am set up to always disappoint someone. I spend all night tending to Livie’s every need. She is now seven months old and I still co-sleep, breastfeed, and pretty much keep her with me at all times. I wouldn’t change any of the above methods of parenting, because honestly I think those are the easiest (and best) ways to raise a baby. I keep her by my side because every day I watch her do something new that I know will lead to her becoming of a toddler, and less of a baby; just like her damn sisters. How come no one gives you any instruction on how to keep them from growing? Water them less? Less sunlight?
After the eighth time snoozing his alarm, Sean will finally climb out of bed. We’ve started a new morning routine where he goes to the gym every other day to make sure I have my morning time too. However, the mornings he doesn’t go to the gym, he looks at as opportunities to grope me and try to get me to have sex. Sure, he is cute dancing around in his boxers in the kitchen trying to get me to look up from my book or computer, but sorry dude; I don’t wake up at 4:30 for sex. At least not every morning…
When the sun rises, HA, much earlier than the sunrise, when Evie and Millie wake up I know I must now divide my love and body to these four people. Everyone wants to cuddle as they rub the grogginess from their little eyes. Everyone wants kisses and morning tickles. Everyone wants me to ask how they slept, if they are hungry, if they are excited for the day. Yes, by saying everyone I do mean Sean too! The morning rush sets up how the rest of the day will go. If I’m not able to juggle the many demands of them all equally, I can tell right away that one of them will be more difficult the rest of the day. Lately, Millie has had an insatiable need for all things Momma. I can’t give her enough love, attention, and affection. There is no limit on how much love I have in my heart, this I’ve learned each time I give birth. However, there is a limit on how much one person can do. I know that what Millie needs is one-on-one attention, but how can I possibly do any more than I already am?
I feel torn in so many directions that most days I just want to go be alone. I know that I can’t fulfill everyone else’s needs, let alone my own, so I’d rather go lay in bed. Obviously I can’t, so I push on.
The day is spent tending each child the best I can. We have some really great moments where we can all enjoy the same activity on the floor together. We can all laugh together; we can all sing and dance together. Hmm, you all want me to hold you while we dance? I only have two hands though… and honestly you’re all getting so heavy that I can really only carry one of you while I bust out these awesome dance moves… but here let me try rotating and … Before I know it most of us are in tears because let’s face it, I am one person, and three people want me at the exact same time.
Lunch time: I make something to eat, no one likes it, and everyone throws it on the floor.
Nap time: Evie: “rests” in my bed, or like yesterday, she gets up from rest time and has an accident on the rug… in the bathroom… in front of the toilet…how does that even happen?
Millie: either sleeps four hours, or four minutes.
Livie: sleeps soundly if she is latched, the second I unlatch, shes staring at me like um what the hell yo? I was using that boob. Where do you think you’re going?
“The witching hour” or in my opinion “the witching hours”: someone, or everyone, wakes up from nap time in so much worse of a mood and cries until dad gets home. I try to cook, try to make the rest of the day better, but really we all just stare at the clock until dad gets home. Unfortunately this can range from 6:00-8:00, and for some reason Sean doesn’t know how to use his phone to let us know when that will be… cough (intentional sarcastic jab).
Daddy walks through the door and all of the little life sucking demons I’ve had for the last several hours flip their switch and seemingly float over to him like precious little angles. Hugs and kisses, and cuteness pour from their radiant faces and Sean soaks it all up, every last drop of sweet loveable toddler goodness. Gone are the evil children who have just spent the last several hours crying and whining over every little thing. Sean deserves the love, no doubt. He has just worked at least a 12 hour day, but so have I. There is something so sweet about how much he loves me too. Just like the kids, he wants my love and attention right when he gets home. He wants to hug, and kiss me, and tell me about his day. What he doesn’t always realize is that he just added yet another person to my mental checklist of division of love, time, and affection. I do my best to pay attention to how his day went, while finishing up dinner, or cleaning it up, depending on what time he got home. We start bed time routines. I think of ways to physically harm him when he starts to rough house and rile them all up.
The moment their heads hit the pillow, Sean starts his nightly efforts to get in my pants. Sorry if that’s too much information for you all, but honestly we have three kids in four years, are any of you surprised? Some nights, sure I’d love to have sex. Other nights, I hide in the closet. I’m not sure anyone other than moms understand what it’s like to be touched-out. In my current situation, I am touched 24-7. I know he is the opposite, he works all day, and he spends time away from us all day. I know he just wants to show me he loves me, and is attracted to me, and quite frankly just wants to get off, but why can’t he love me from over there? Can’t we lie on the couch (separate couches…) and mindlessly watch tv? Lucky for Sean, it really doesn’t take all that much for him to get me to cave. He’s just too cute and goofy to say no to.
This all probably makes me sound awful, I know, but I’m starting to lose sight of the fact that I am even an individual person anymore. Do I really end at my skin, or am I a continuation of all these people around me? I don’t feel like I’m meeting anyone’s needs fully, I go to bed every night recounting the ways I’ve disappointed all the people I love most. I give it my all every day, and yet I still come up short. Everyone seems happy, but what kind of effect is this going to have on them? Will they always resent me for having their sisters? Will my husband one day leave me for someone he doesn’t have to coerce into bed each night? Will I wake up one day and not even know who I am after years of being everything for four other people and nothing for myself? I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I have felt this way in some form since Evie was born. The second you become a wife, and mother, you become more than just yourself. Add in a few more kids and all of sudden you lose sight of how important you are in all of this. Do you all remember that book by Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree? I am the tree, and like the tree, I am happy to give and give, but eventually there will be nothing left to give.
It feels selfish to say you need something for yourself. People shy away from demanding alone time because they don’t want to be judged. Only in the last few months have I carved out my me time. It SUCKS that the only time I could find was at 4:30 in the god damn morning, but nonetheless, I wake up. Each day when I want to hit snooze, I remember that with every snooze, I’m closer to those needy people all waking up. So I wake up, and I do whatever I want for those couple hours alone. Since doing this, I can feel my tree start to replenish. I can feel myself smiling a little more, snapping a little less. I can remind myself that I love my children, I love being a mom and wife, and I love this crazy life. I’m finding clarity each morning, and forgiving myself for the day before. I’m realizing that in order to be a better, fuller momma (not chubby, but full of love) I have to take care of myself too. I’m forgiving myself for not coming up with the scientific answer to cloning. I’m telling myself that I am enough, and I am GOOD enough. I’m telling myself that I am a great mother, and wife, and woman.
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