Monday, April 19, 2010

Musings of a mom

I don't know about you, but I had what is apparently an idealized vision of what being a mom would be like. I only know what I grew up with, and I am just 3 years older than my younger sister, so I had zero experience with babies going into this whole thing. My sisters both had kids before we did, but they lived 4 hours away - I didn't get any hands-on experience or even observance of what this thing is all about.
Evie was born in October. I envisioned being snowed in at home with the baby, waiting at the window for Daddy to come home, my days fulfilled by being a homemaker & caring for the life we'd created. I'd sew cute clothes from all those adorable patterns & fabrics for kids, and relish doing all the 'mom' things like baking cookies, helping with homework, teaching them things. We'd have 3 and it would be a Norman Rockwell life.
And then I woke up!

We didn't have to wait for Daddy to come home that first winter, because he was home with us, thanks to the company we both worked for going bankrupt. Sewing? In addition to the skirts I made for Easter, I've made 3 Halloween costumes and a Baptism gown. Maybe I'll be a grandmother who sews beautiful clothes someday.
The cookies, homework and teaching? I really struggle with trying to manage the 4 when we're making anything. It would probably be a lot healthier for my mental state if I could let go of my need to control things. Homework can be a challenge because by the time Evie and William get home from school, Sarah and Jason are getting up from their naps. As Jason has gotten bigger and more vocal, life has gotten more chaotic in the afternoons. I find myself saying the same things over and over and over again before tasks finally get completed. My plate is full.
I'm convinced that my children are different from yours. We joke that Evie is a labrador & when she doesn't get enough running around outside, she runs around inside. On all fours. She's 8-1/2, and we're wondering if this will ever stop. William, darling boy that he is, lives in his own world, somewhat unaware of what's going on around him. He can spend hours focused on whatever task he's involved in, but it can be difficult to bring him back to earth when you need him to do something else. Sarah? Well - we're discovering exactly how much like me she is, and our days together are getting very interesting. Jason - he's just my little love, and all boy. At 2-1/2 he's already stuffing his pockets with marbles & rocks, but always has a smile and hug for his mommy.
All this to say, is it all I thought it was cracked up to be? Absolutely not. Are there moments of sheer bliss? Definitely! But I never pictured all the strife and struggle that would go along with it, as I only have my own memories and what you see in public of other families to compare it to. From the moment we brought Evie home from the hospital and looked at each other wondering 'now what', Matt and I have been trying to find the balance between family/self/chores/projects, and it's a constant juggling act as priorities change.
We're getting there, day by day, trying to balance each other out and remember that it's a journey, not a destination - there's lots to see on the way to wherever it is we're headed (feels like the funny farm some days) and we're all sharing this ride together - might as well enjoy it!

I say all this not to complain, just to get my thoughts out there - this is my only journal of our days and I try to keep it honest. But then, I assume this is what you expect to find when you read a blog by the Harried Mom of Four :)
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Pictures are courtesy of Sarah. I was clearing off the memory card and discovered our world through Sarah's eyes - they made me laugh (and there's a LOT more where these came from!)

14 comments:

  1. Ah, this all sounds very familiar... And that making-dinner-while-doing-homework-while-babies-are-getting-up-from-naps time of the day is the worst! I wouldn't change it for the world, of corse, but an extra pair of hands (or three!) between 4 and 6 pm would be awesome!

    And I found a set of photos just like yours on my camera recently, too! I just might steal your idea and share them in my blog, too!

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  2. ahhh...being a mommy is exhausting. What keeps me going is knowing that this is a short time in our lives (when they are this small) and it will be over soon..... I tend to live a little in the past....:))))

    ~Becca

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  3. Once again, I have no clue what you are talking about. My four children are so wonderful and well-behaved...especially in the afternoon. Maybe I could send them to your house to show your kids how to act. Please? Pretty please? ;)

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  4. I think it's so good to have it written down - I wish I could read my mom's thoughts as i go through this "journey."

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  5. My neighbor came over the other afternoon. Her nanny was outside with two of her kids, and she informed me that she just told her oldest girl that she could come over and do homework at MY house.

    CLEARLY, this is a woman who has yet to experience the really super fun hours of after school until bedtime! Homework, dinner, NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This, Jenn, is why we drink our coffee and wine.
    And myabe soon, we can do it together?? NYC at Christmas time??? Think about it....

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  6. Oh, Jennifer, what a beautiful post!
    It's so true.
    And I love the shots you come across on the camera with little ones around. It's amazing what life looks like from such a short vantage point, right? :)
    Your house looks beautiful and those stairs look scary!

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  7. Love Sarah's pictures! It's cute to see her perspective on things. :)

    I can't even imagine just how harried your life gets...being the mom of an only, I know my days are different than yours...plus, I work outside the home and that's different too. I think you're a superhero! You seem to be doing a great job raising 4 totally different kiddos. Nobody said life is supposed to be perfect. I seem to find more beauty in imperfection these days.

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  8. I love your honesty! I've been around babies all my life... babysistting from 11, older sisters having kids, friends,etc... but nothing, NOTHING is like having your own. Motherhood is definitely not sweet perfume & flowers... it is much more like spit up & the smell of McDonalds. Many many days are so joyus that they help to overrule the days that are just, well, HARD. None of us have the white picket fence, 2 kids in a yard kind of life & none of us are by any means perfect ourselves but when your kiddo can tell you they "love you to the moon & back" or that "you are the best mommy ever", well then we are doing our jobs the best way we can & that is the perfect way to do it! I love blogging for this very reason... seeing that other moms have our same challenges & that maybe the perfect family perfect mom what you see in public isn't always what it "really" is.
    Great pictures... I love little ones take on everyday stuff. So fun!

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  9. Ohhhhh, that's one of the reasons I love ya, your sweet honesty. Looking back on life with just one little baby, things seemed so easy. So . . . quiet. Now days just seem to slip by with me doing exactly as you said, repeating, repeating, repeating. My girls crack up when I say "Do I sound like a broken record??"

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  10. I agree, being a mom is so much harder than what I ever imagined. And I thought it would get easier as my kids get older, oh no - just a different set of challenges and worries. But it also more fulfilling and wonderful than anything else I've ever done too.

    Great thoughts. I wish I was better about writing my thoughts and feelings out.

    XOOX
    Jen

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  11. I think one of the difficult things about motherhood is that we are constantly comparing ourselves to a set of expectations that we conjured up before we were mothers.
    For me, I keep on thinking I need to have a clean house and be happy and positive all the time! And if I am not living up to that expectation I feel guilty!
    I think we need to give ourselves a break sometimes, and accept that there are hard parts to our job, and that we are probably doing an awesome job! (We're just too busy giving ourselves a hard time to see it!)

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  12. I' m too tired to do all the things I wanted to do. I'm about to start drinking red bull during the day.

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  13. Love your honest post, Jen. And covet your Halloween costume sewing skills. Will you take orders this year? =)

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  14. We all need web cams in our houses so that we can take a peak and see how everyone's lives are not what they expected. Great post. BTW have you watched "Parenthood" yet? It hits close to home on so many levels.

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