a. did Julia get hit with an invisible ball?
b. Sebastian has the sweetest smile
1. Accept Mediocrity. The other night I made fried rice with shredded chicken and used quinoa in place of rice (Simon was ecstatic about that substitution). I put ice cubes in two cups of water and Simon and I sat down for 34 seconds before one of the kids needed something. Simon said, "congrats on your first postpartum dinner!" and Theo is 3.5 months old. He was mostly joking but it's mostly true. I've made dinner a handful of times but Simon has stressed 99 times that he'd rather come out to a dinnerless table and a wife that isn't suicidal in the kitchen than dinner and an angry Grace. The house generally looks SORT OF presentable but if you look closely it could use a REALLY good scrubbing. The list goes on and on and on and on and on and on. I read a blog post (how I got there I do not remember) recently stating that the old "chicken nuggets for dinner and I never shower" attitude is getting old and that moms should strive for better. Right now, this is my better and sometimes it involves chicken nuggets for dinner.
2. Thank Your Spouse. I know it annoys a lot of moms when other moms say, "my husband is babysitting the kids" because he's the dad and they are his kids and he should watch them to give Mom a break and it shouldn't be called babysitting!!! Well, true. But! I can count on zero fingers how many times I've finished up my work at home to drive to the hospital to clock in and start getting paged by antsy nurses, placate angry patients, deliver miscarried babies to distraught parents, and intercept frustrated texts from Simon who's at home with the kids. Oh, I know it's not exactly the same but I can't take Simon's help for granted. I know how tough and demanding the kids can be and when he insists I leave the house with no agenda I am eternally grateful.
3. Don't Get Dressed. I know for a lot of moms getting dressed is an essential part of their day and they can't get the day started without suiting up in their non-loungy armor. NOT the case at the Camp. I like to shower every other day, change my comfortable getup and put on tennis shoes. The first weeks and months after having a baby for me getting dressed is hell because it's just an annoying reminder that my clothes still don't fit and I'm stuck in a now familiar limbo between maternity and regular clothing. The limbo will pass but until then I'll stick to stretch pants and t-shirts with a dash of mascara if I'm feeling fancy.
4. Be Short-Sighted. If I wake up thinking about the fact that Simon won't be home till late late or the next morning if he's on call then my mood will start and stay dark all day and all night. If I focus on getting through wake ups and breakfast first then dishwasher unloading then I'm almost setting myself up for success! Then we move onto a little laundry and perhaps some "gather round Theo having some reverse tummy time and watch him smile and don't scratch/hit/bite him". By the time naps roll around I'm generally more than ready for a nice blast of quiet and can regroup before the second half of the game begins before bedtime.
5. Be Grateful. This is a repeat from my super insightful Surviving Two Under Two post because it's important. The kids are difficult but I know how blessed we are to have three healthy kids. We've never had to deal with infertility, miscarriage, or any sort of health scare and we are a lucky bunch. We absolutely cannot count on a single healthy future pregnancy but we can hope and be grateful if and when it/they occur!
6. Have Outlets. My good friend, Ruth, has two kids 11 months apart and she is the lucky recipient of some of my most frustrated emails. She also works from home (!) and hopefully enjoys a nice eye roll at my melodramatic plight but I appreciate her sympathetic eyes and the solidarity she offers. Also, I blog almost every day which is probably a really selfish way to spend nap time after making lunch for myself and quickly picking up the main floor but I can't stay away. Also, this might not fit in here but I always have music playing and I think that makes things less chaotic sounding. Oxymoronic? Maybe.
7. Naps. Both of the big kids go down for naps around 1pm without exception every single day. I commend you moms that are flexible and casual about naps but my sanity and the safety of the children depends on those naps. It took a lot of tweaking to get them to nap at the same time (let Bash sleep for 20 minutes in the morning so he'll still be tired at 1, etc) but it's very necessary.
8. Exercise. Maybe not for everyone but my day is exponentially better if I power through a workout DVD (this is still my current favorite) or take the kids on a walk/run (this has happened twice and I blame the weather 100%). Sometimes I have to pause the DVD 54 times to get through 23 minutes to break up fights or comfort Theo or peel Sebastian off of my thigh but it's worth it. I'm working towards waking up before the kids to do this. It might happen eventually.
9. Leave. With or without the kids. Even though I hate the idea of leaving the house and sometimes I regret going anywhere with the kids it generally does everyone a world of good. Before Theo was born I had a sitter come once a week for a few hours and hopefully we can get that going again because Simon is about to start several months of grueling rotations.
10. Enjoy it. I'm so guilty of just wanting to finally get the Mt. Vesuvius of laundry piles folded after it enjoyed a nice camp on the guest bed for a week or an email responded to instead of enjoying the times when the kids are in pleasant moods. Today I snapped out of a silent tirade to get all the toys picked up off the kitchen floor to hear Julia making Sebastian a pretend cup of blueberries and he didn't respond by biting her but actually entertained her imagination and pretended to eat them for 2 seconds before he laughed and ran away. Yesterday Sebastian didn't wake up hating life and wanted to be held while the other two kids slept. Rarities! But they do happen and Simon says, "sometimes they warm you to your cockles." And I agree - SOMETIMES they do.
If you think I'm being too easy on myself I don't blame you. I'm aware of the vast warehouse for improvement. I'll get there one of these years but in the mean time I'll fake it till I make it like my mother (of seven) always told me to do.