Well friends, I do enjoy the hell out of motherhood. It has brought me more joy and immeasurable peace, understanding and patience in my own heart that I never imagined was possible, or even missing, until it was there.
I focus on those things, those happy and joyous moments, because writing about them and focusing on them helps to keep things in perspective. Processing through the joy that I find in the personalities of my children and having to put that into words, trying to accurately articulate these feelings inside of me - that helps me to stay positive.
Because the truth is, mothering is hard work.
There have been a few days, especially in the last few weeks, where I have honestly felt like I was drowning. I am not sure if it it the weather - the continuing and seemingly endless cold and rain and gloom - or if it is post-partum hormones, or lack of sleep, or learning all over again to balance all of my family members' needs (did anyone feed our poor dog today? Anyone?), or if it is a combination of all of those things.
More than likely, all of them.
More than likely, all of them.
It culminated this morning.
Yesterday, I was recovering from a sudden flare of sickness (what I suspect was my body fighting through a clogged milk duct and staving off mastitis, so I am thankful for that - but still - fever, chills, ick.) and things were falling apart around me.
All of the advice I was reading online suggested crawling into bed with my baby and nursing until we were both content.
Oh, how I wish that was possible. You see, with a toddler who is constantly exploring, climbing, playing, asking, and discovering - cuddling peacefully in bed and resting with a newborn is just not part of the picture.
So instead, I sat on the couch with a fussy, constantly hungry, growth spurting baby and nursed and nursed and nursed him, while I exhaustedly watched Evelyn pull out toys, rip books, unpack diaper bags, pull the dog's tail, and refuse to nap.
I know the poor thing is stir crazy. I am, and I am a grown up who understands why we can't go play out in the sleet.
She was put in timeout (multiple times), spit again when I was processing a particular timeout for willfully spitting with her, etc.
When she finally did go down, I looked around at my house, and the walls began closing in on me. The piles of laundry waiting to be put away. The dirty laundry waiting to be done. Dishes in the sink. Rooms that needed to be vacuumed. Toys, blocks, baby holding accessories - everywhere it seemed.
It was a no good very bad day.
And I was drowning.
When the cycle looked like it was ready to repeat itself again today, and my coffee went cold before I could finish it again, and the piles of mail and the fact that I have yet to send a single thank you note or order birth announcements because I can no longer sit at my computer for 5 minutes uninterrupted until my husband gets home and then dinner and baths and bedtime and life happens...
When that began to creep towards me, I decided that the cold couldn't hold us back any longer.
I loaded up those kiddos and we went for a walk.
Just a short walk, I told myself, we just need to get OUT of this house.
As I was locking the door, both kids were crying. Evelyn, the constant "big girl" now, didn't want to be in the stroller and Liam was fussy as he was still trying to snuggle in and find a good position against my chest in the Moby.
I realized that it was 44 degrees and though I had bundled the kids, I left my own jacket inside. I was so desperate to get going I went without. I was walking with a heater strapped to my chest after all, I would be fine.
And magically, within a block, they were both silent.
Within two, they were both asleep.
I decided not to care that it wasn't technically nap time yet, and let her sleep.
I ended up walking my entire two mile route that used to be my daily routine. It just felt so good to be out there again.
Sure, some of the trees are still bare. And the cold wind was blowing. And the grass was mostly yellow. And the water was still more of winter gray than the brilliant blue of summer.
But, the sun was (mostly) shining.
And, as it turns out, when you are drowning - all you need is a little bit of air.
Evelyn Rae is 20 months old, Liam is 6 weeks old
...and we are all feeling much better this afternoon. From now on, so long as the sun is shining, our morning walk is back - no matter how many layers we have to wear.