I’ve been thinking a lot about Motherhood the past few weeks. I’ve been really thinking hard about if or when our family should have another baby. I think back on when we had 2 kids. I had my firs two kids (who are now 8 and 6) 20 months apart. They were best buds from the beginning and it was so great having them so close in age. I was so in the mom mode with my first being only 20 months old that the second baby was no problem at all! We played so hard in these early years! We went on daily outings to parks, malls, zoos, and friend’s houses. Anything to get us out of the house for a few hours and to bring a little extra fun into our day. Most days the most important thing on our schedule was blowing bubbles in the backyard or baking cookies together.
I remember them sneaking into each other’s beds almost every night and I’d listen to them play for another hour or 2 after I tucked them in but it was okay because there was no school to wake up for in the morning. Later I’d sneak into to find them sound asleep squished together. I remember how we just did fun stuff ALL THE TIME!
And by the time they hit 5 and 3 it was even more fun! We could travel all over easily, they were such fun ages, they were both potty trained and sleeping well at night, they dressed up like super heroes almost every day and zoomed around the house having fun.
I want to be honest here so I’ll make a little confession. I remember looking around at other Mothers and feeling sorry for them. They seemed stressed all the time, they hated going out to eat (mine were angels at restaurants), complaining about behavioral issues but mine listened most of the time. I had the hardest time relating to other Mothers because my life with these 2 kids was a bit of a dream and theirs seemed so hard! I loved being a Mom! I think I came across as a total know it all as I explained my tips for doing this or that because I thought I had it all figured out. Potty training happened in a few days for both boys and I was just the BEST mom ever because somehow I had perfect little angel children. I almost secretly hated doing fun things with other parents or friends because we had so much fun and they would bring us down with all their stress, yelling, and kids crying!
This is so funny to remember how arrogant my thoughts were at this time in my life. How unrelatable, unsympathetic, and “know it all” I was! I didn’t care though because we were just having the best life ever! Other people needed to change their attitude or read a parenting book or something. No Not me though!
Somehow in the midst of all our fun playing and raising our 2 little boys I started an online pillow store that blew up, remodeled 1 home, and finished a basement on our 2nd home, and still found time to travel as often as possible.
Fast forward 3 years to today and life is not like this lol. It’s almost laughable to compare the two!
Today we love our kids just as much and have added 1 more little bundle of mischief. But things are very different!
We feel like we are running from the moment our feet hit the ground in the morning until we finally get the kids in bed each night.
(okay so some things never change lol)
Between swim lessons, sports, homework, making lunches, doing laundry, blog stuff, the husbands job, cleaning, church activities, friends, and all the endless doctor and dentist appointments that seem to add up with a family of 5 I feel like we barely have time for any fun in between! We squeeze in some fun some how but some days it’s more exhausting than it is fun. And that pretty exotic vacation picture up above is the last time we took a vacation because we’ve moved 3 times to different states and different jobs since this vacation and haven’t even had time to plan one. Not to mention our 3rd baby was born with a bunch of medical issues but we won’t get into that here.
Let’s just say we have hit Phase 2 of parenting. The kids are in school now so we can’t just play all day, they have homework and responsibilities they need help with. They are old enough to be taught to help clean and do chores and they complain. It’s not like when they were 3 and washing the windows was the best job they’ve ever had in their life. They aren’t perfect little angels and that’s good because that’s not what is expected of them. They are 6 and 8 year old boys who test the boundaries, are terrible at restaurants because they can’t stop poking and teasing each other, they have emotions, feelings, and opinions and they want to be heard. They stomp, slam their doors, and get upset and this all feels new and weird and so out of my realm of expertise. And the third little boy that joined our family is the kind of toddler all my stressed out friends had. I now GET IT! Bless all your hearts Moms this is freaking HARD! lol It’s like he’s a little Tazmanian devil who makes messes, colors on everything, spills food and drink all while I’m going to the bathroom. I had no idea parenting could be so hard. I read an article a week or two ago saying how many kids is the easiest. And I always love the debate that takes place between Moms over this topic. “2 is easiest because you aren’t outnumbered, 3 was easy because I was already doing it, 1 rocked my world….once I had 5 there were plenty of hands and that was the easiest” etc.
I have decided for me that the number is irrelevant. For me it’s the phase of life you are in and honestly the personality of you and your children mixed together at that time. I have friends who had 1 or 2 and it was so hard because they clashed or challenged each other in every way. I’ve heard literally every scenario explained and why it’s easy or hard. What I’ve come to realize is there will be HARD phases and easier phases, fun phases, and not so fun phases and there’s nothing you can do to change them. All you can do is put on a smile and make the best of each season of life with the kids.
I worry about adding another child to this craziness. I don’t want to feel stressed out all the time. I want to enjoy my family and have it be slow enough that we can vacation and build memories around all the chaos. I want to give each child the time and attention I think I need to give them. I want to cut out the excess, unnecessary stress that I bring on myself, and make more time to just be with my kids like the old days. And I have such a fear that adding a 4th will just mess up all these big plans I have!
When I think back on the past 3 years they have been some of the hardest for so many reasons (moves, new jobs, medical issues for 3rd baby, kids growing up…etc.) but we have also learned the most, grown the most, become more sympathetic, understanding, and we are way better people than we were 3 years ago. So would I rewind back to those DREAMY days with 2 littles and stay there forever. NO I wouldn’t. The greatest joy only comes after the hardest lows. Those days were so much fun and we loved every minute of it. But today when we have a good day it feels so good! I have a new appreciation and gratitude I didn’t have before.
As I thought about Motherhood this past week and really thought long and hard about my new phase of life with the kids I started to see things differently. I started to see that Motherhood and parenting is so much more than just having fun with the kids all the time. Those tough, challenging, boundary testing days are so critical to growth for both myself and my children. The daily 6:30 am alarms, homework, and chores are part of life and they need to be taught and enforced. And guess what “Lacey from 3 years ago” it’s not always FUN, you don’t have it all figured out, you are so far from being a perfect Mom it’s not even funny, and you too need to make attitude adjustments weekly sometimes even daily when you get overwhelmed. And parenting books send them all ASAP!! But present day Lacey… you are a lot more understanding now about all the challenges and struggles that parents face. And a lot less judge mental of all those other Moms out there.
So my whole point of this long post is to tell you all that I think we should enjoy and embrace each phase of Motherhood. Even when it’s not fun it’s beautiful, it’s mandatory, our kids and us are growing and we need the challenges in our lives to help us and our kids reach their full potential. If….scratch that…WHEN you feel overwhelmed or completely stressed out and you feel like you can’t do one more day of monotonous “mom-ing” say a little prayer, take a break, go for a run or each chocolate, remind yourself that this is part of the journey and if you still feel awful maybe cut some extra’s out. Rushing your family from thing to thing causes a lot of unnecessary stress for everyone. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about too. Saying no when we have too much on your plate is one of the best ways we can alleviate stress. And lastly I think FUN is also very important. Make time for fun and making memories! Don’t let the every day chores, schedule, and practices control your life. Step away for moments to enjoy and have fun!
I’m clearly talking to myself here but maybe some of you can gain a little nugget of perspective or advice that might make life a little easier this week. I love being a Mom and sometime it surprises me how much I love being a Mom despite the fact that it’s not Fun 24/7 like it used to be. I have realized fun isnt the requirement to make motherhood enjoyable. It’s just one element of motherhood that I love. I’ve come to love the homework, watching them grow up and make their own lunches, seeing them step out of their box and try a new sport, and see them work through problems or struggles in their own life. I love watching them make mistakes and learn to apologize and make it right. They are becoming their own people, with their own dreams, desires, and hobbies. I like these new people too. I miss those baby and toddler days sometimes but I love these big kids more and they deserve more than fun.
As for the 4th baby…I have no idea if or when that will happen. Luckily I don’t have to make a decision on that today! 🙂