Maybe it's because we've been sick. Maybe it's because it's winter and we can't play outside all day. Maybe it's because my children have entered the most challenging stage we've been through yet (don't worry...I'm not so naive to think it will get better from here.) Or maybe it's because I have been stressed about things that I can't control anyway. But whatever the reason, it seems as though I've spent more time feeling frustrated than I have spent feeling all other emotions combined lately.
If there is one thing I've learned over the past year or so it is this: being a stay at home mom is not as easy as it seems. Maybe this transition would have been slightly easier had I started with just one baby, but as things turned out...I jumped in with both feet to an, at times, overwhelming situation. It's not the work load that gets to me. Sure...there are mounds of laundry, constant dirty diapers, planning the next meal before the current one is even cleaned up, sticky floors, dust so thick you can draw pictures in it, and rings in my toilet. But that's not really what makes it hard.
These are the things that make it hard:
For a person who is rarely physically by myself...I sure do feel alone sometimes. Something about spending 75% of my day with two toddlers makes me feel isolated I guess. By the time Dustin gets home, it's either almost or already dark and we just have a few hours to spend together, most of which is taken up by dinner, baths, playing with the boys, and the 2 hour bedtime war (more on this later). Don't get me wrong - I love this time, but it doesn't lend itself to a lot of adult conversation. I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone and even if I were, Eli and Landon take full advantage of the time I spend on the phone to whine and cry in my ear making it impossible to carry on a conversation. Anyone who has tried to talk to me on the phone knows I'm not lying.
We do the same thing every. single. day. It's just a fact - small children do better with schedules and events they can predict. Honestly...I do better with these things, too. But I also get stir crazy as well. Sometimes I feel like I'm not really accomplishing anything...I get up and go through the same routine every day and at the end of the day...what do I have to show for all that time and work? Sure, my children are still alive (barely most days). And my husband isn't starving (because he ate some form of hamburger meat mixed with a can of condensed soup). And my house hasn't completely imploded into itself (regardless if it seems that way). Some days I feel like I barely scrape through the day only to get up and do it all over again.
Or should I say, lack thereof. Guess what...kids don't say things like, "wow, my clothes smell great" or "this hot dog you heated up for me is delicious" or "did you clean the floors? because when I was eating off of them just now, they seemed cleaner"...they generally don't notice the little things. There's always the feedback you get in public, "you have your hands full" or "oh look! double trouble" or my personal favorite, "I'm glad it's you and not me." Wow, thank you so much for the encouragement. Just what every young mother needs! My two bosses don't operate like most bosses...mom's don't get a lunch break, a paycheck, an annual review, or an honorable mention.
The Mental Stress
Fact: even the happiest of babies are not happy all day every day. I consider Eli and Landon very happy boys, but they still spend a significant part of our day whining and crying. That constant whining...it feels like it just slowly eats away at me until I almost snap. At the end of the day, when I've said "No" 3,758 times, when I've listened to two babies whine and cry, when they have demolished yet another sentimental object, when they each have at least three new bruises, and when I've witnessed 49 fits...I'm just mentally spent.
Nothing can really prepare a person for motherhood. It's a joy that cannot be quantified. It's a love as intense as pain. It's an indescribable sacrifice. It's a tremendous responsibility.
And the stakes are high.
I have their minds, and their hearts, and their souls in my hands. And when I think about this stage....this season of time that will pass by all too quickly....I count my blessings because I am never alone (and I do mean never), I get to spend each day with the two most handsome and loving boys I have ever known (make that three), and the rewards are great and numerous. Their smiles, laughs, hugs, kisses, growth, development, and happiness are more valuable than any paycheck could ever be. I love my job...I really really do.
Maybe my frustration makes me a bad mom, but I'm guessing it just makes me...normal.