Thursday, May 12, 2016

4 kids - Are you crazy?

      There is a time in the morning, every morning, that my mind is practically spewing thoughts.  My neurons are firing at a rapid rate and my thoughts can’t be controlled.  I think this has something to do with the fully rested mind and the recent flood of caffeine I’ve incurred.  Yes, I have a 3-month-old and I am fully rested – I know I’m lucky.  I have never been one of those mom-zombies, or “mombies”, walking around, barely functioning.  I have super awesome newborns who sleep – it’s the 2-3 year olds you have to watch out for. 
      I have recently become a mother of 4 at the age of 28.  I get a lot of looks.  I first became a mother at the age of 21 and popped one out approximately every 2 years until I got to 4.  Are we going to have more?  I don’t honestly know.  We’re at this place in life where society says you’re crazy if you have more than a certain number.  It is truly funny the different reactions you get from people when you say you’re considering a 5th child.  They range from joy to disbelief to horror to awe to straight up condescending.  I always think, we can all handle different things and what I can handle is not that same as you, so why is it that I get negative reactions at all?  Is it perhaps because they imagine themselves in my shoes and it sounds unpleasant?  I guess I am guilty of this in a way.  I have patience for my children - messes and potty accidents and all - but when I see pets doing the same thing – I’m out.  My mom has two dogs and three cats and I feel the need to tiptoe around when I am at her house because surely there is some sort of animal residue on everything.  I just couldn’t handle that.  But I assume there are people that look at my house and all they see are tiny fingerprints and questionable stains on my carpet.  You see, we can all handle different things with our own amounts of grace and toleration.  I’m so not a person who uses phrases like this, but this is a good example of saying “You do you and I’ll do me.”

      The funny thing about me being a parent of 4 children is that I was that person when I was younger who hated babysitting and thought little kids were gross.  This all stems from one terrible babysitting experience – I was asked by a fellow church member if I could watch their two children every Wednesday night while they attended service.  I had taken a Red Cross babysitting course recently and was excited to bring my binder filled with crafts and activities to their house and be the best babysitter they’d ever seen.  They lived in a questionable neighborhood and I was warned to not take the kids outside.  I was also told that the only TV in their house was in their bedroom and I could use it but the only place to sit in their tiny master was in their bed - awkward.  So every Wednesday I was left with their two children – an older boy and a baby girl who were both still in diapers.  Week after week the same thing would happen - the boy would have a poopy diaper and when I went to change him he would scream, “MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!” repeatedly.  I was pretty young, like maybe 12, and I didn’t know what to do.  If it were now I would just scoop him up and change him and get it over with, but at that age it completely freaked me out.  I would listen to him scream for quite a while before I would finally just change him despite the hollering, and he would stop immediately once I had finished.  To top it off, my mom had recently bought something for me that I wanted, but she told me I had to pay her back.  At the end of my night I would get my money and go home and hand it all to my mom.  So all of the work I was doing seemed like it was for nothing.  After a few weeks of giving her all the money I was exasperated and told her what was going on.  I don’t think she understood that I was giving her everything I was making and she told me that I should only give her a percentage of my earnings so that I could have some spending money too.  By this time, I had had enough and was completely turned off to babysitting at all.  I called up the family and told them I could no longer babysit.  I didn’t have a backbone to just tell them it was too much for me, so I think I told them I had some other activity going on Wednesday nights for the foreseeable future. 

      There was even a time in my bad attitude teenage years that my mom told me she didn’t think I should have kids.  I’m not sure why actually – maybe I was just being a mean big sister and that made her think I would be a horrible parent.  It’s a good thing how you act as a teenager doesn’t determine the outcome of your life, because I was a selfish, entitled brat during high school.  But sometimes when you’re floating through life and you don’t know what you’re supposed to do or really who you are something happens and it all makes sense, and that for me was having my first baby.  I was only 21 when I had Haven.  I remember when she first came out and I thought, “Oh my gosh.  I know I felt something moving in there, but that’s an actual baby.  Like, a real baby.”  It’s almost like shock.  You don’t understand how much there is to parenting, and that it’s 24 hours a day.  At 3 a.m. when they cry they’re still your responsibility and nobody else’s.  But when you look into their eyes and they look back at you and they smile because yours is the only face they know and they love, that’s a life-changing moment.  At least it was for me – as I understand it, not everybody feels that way.  The emotions I feel are so strong for my babies the only way to describe it is like your heart breaking, but in a good way.  Happy tears in the most intense way you’ve ever felt.  That’s how it feels to hold your own baby and love so intensely it hurts. 

      Being a mom is the most rewarding and challenging experience I’ve ever had.  If I thought I was exhausted at another time in my life, I really wasn’t.  There is nothing more all-encompassing than being a parent, because there are no breaks.  So far at least, we are not the parents that leave our children and go on vacations alone to recharge, frankly because I can’t stand the thought of leaving my babies behind.  Maybe someday when my youngest isn’t so young I will feel comfortable with that, but not now.  As for now I am very content to be exactly where I am.  With my babies and my husband, and just doing this crazy life the best I can, and hoping my children know how much I love them. 
Blog Design by Delicious Design Studio