At my most recent eye appointment, I was chatting with the nurse while we waited for the doctor.
"You're the lady who has 4 girls, right?" She asked. I said yes, surprised that she remembered me after having only met me once before.
"I thought about you last week" she continued, "we were on vacation with our little girl and I thought to myself, 'this is so overwhelming, how does that girl do it with four children?'"
Now, I'm no stranger to comments like that...as I'm sure many of my friends with more than one child can relate! Usually I just smile and say, "one day at a time!" Which is totally true, but there is more to it than that...more that I could say if we had more time and the other mom actually wanted to hear it!
The nurse and I just happened to have a bit more time, so I told her some version of this:
When I first had Addison, I was happy, yet overwhelmed, over tired, frustrated, and scared. It was so new...and I think that your first child is always the biggest adjustment. She was the most wonderful little girl, but there was no part of me that thought...."this is simple, I can do this, I think I'll have a few more kids!"
Nope. My thoughts ran more along the lines of:
"I can't even keep a baby bird alive, how will I keep a baby alive?!" That one was said at 9 months pregnant with the hormones raging at an all time high and Daniel trying to comfort me without laughing at my "logic".
"Why won't she latch? All I want to do is feed my baby!" Accompanied by many tears of frustration, and Daniel trying his best to gently remind me to try and relax, as it would make nursing much more attainable.
"Why won't she sleep for more than 2 hours at a time?" I would wake up on the love seat with her in my arms in the middle of the night. Usually it would take a minute to shake the fog enough to remember how I had ended up there.
"How does one little tiny baby create so much laundry?"
"Will I ever have a shower again?" Daniel helped with this one too :) Daddy daughter bonding time!
"I would love to be able to make just one nice meal for my husband...how does she take up every minute of my day?" This one I didn't mind as much :) I cherished every moment of nursing her (once we finally figured it out), every move her lips made while she slept, and every quiet cuddle we enjoyed as a new mom and new baby.
It took time, but there were days when I thought that we might actually have a schedule, and that I could manage all of my new responsibilities.
There were hiccups in that schedule. One example is that every time we spent the night somewhere other than our house (in-laws, my mom's, etc.), we had to re-train her to sleep through the night when we got home. This happened every time until she was over a year. And when I say "re-train", it probably sounds like I felt I was some sort of expert on the subject...I was NOT.
We took it one day at a time. When Addison was 14 months old, Tegan joined our family as well. I was no less tired than I was with just one, but together as a family, we learned to balance everything. I have no huge secrets (although I may be able to come up with a random tip here and there), and there were afternoons when I laid on my living room floor in exhaustion to watch them play.
We still take it one day at a time, and we are starting to deal with different issues. When I had the first two girls, they were pretty much at the same stage in life. 3 and 4 years later when we had Myka and Danica, we had two "babies", and two school age children who were learning all sorts of fun new habits! LOL
As more children have been born into our family, I feel like each girl just fits. I have never thought...."oops, we went one too far, this is too much to handle!" We make the small or large adjustments needed, and to be honest, I still think of us as a "little" family...because that is just where we are in our life. We face challenges every day, but we serve a great God that
provides what we need to make it through...whether it be strength, comfort, compassion, or wisdom. We are happy.
And for those who think, "how does she do it all?" I don't. Believe me, there is always at least one thing in my life that gets neglected more than it should (right now it's my hair and at least a couple rooms in my house), and I am in no way Supermom.
One lesson I have had to learn the hard way is how to say no. I get stressed out quite easily, and I have to just not have "it all" in my life to do...does that make sense? I need to focus on the things that are the most important at that particular time. I have to keep it simple :)
So to the moms of one, I was there once, and it is not easy...but it is rewarding :)
P.S. Sorry for the less than stellar photos...that's another thing that has been neglected!!