“I guess the reasons against having more children always seem uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.” -Jim Gaffigan
the girls were in parent’s day out today (there one-day-a-week, since we went Back to one-day-a-week, after much debate and switching back and forth, but that is material for an entirely different post), and as i was sweeping up leftover breakfast (and dinner)(and maybe also lunch from yesterday?) in my unusually quiet house, i started feeling a little overwhelmed by how disgusting my house is.
bryan will tell you, i’m not a details person and i’m usually trying to accomplish chores AsFastAsPossible since i’m squeezing in chores between taking care of the baby or breaking up a fight or reading books to kids, so i pretty much do the minimum, and some days, like today, i look around and think “wow, this house is really gross.” the floor is crunchy, there are stickers stuck on just about every surface, hair-ties strewn about like confetti, dried up formula stuck to the counters, Don’t even look at the high chair, just don’t, it needs to be Hosed down (or burned!).
well it was all getting a little overwhelming when i started to daydream back to when i really had things together. probably anytime before having kids. i accomplished things. my to-do-list was ta-done halfway through the day, at Least. i could write a book, work full time, review books, blog, and take up running, no problem. i would’ve described myself as self-sufficient and capable. then i became a mom. and taking care of little human beings is pretty much the hardest thing i’ve ever done–like i always tell my oldest, “babies don’t know, they just do what they do”. there’s no rules with kids, no rule-book, no matter how hard-and-fast you are about whatever strategy you like, if you have enough kids, you’ll have a kid who doesn’t fit that strategy (it only took me THREE kids to figure that out).
sometimes i’m tempted to say “ok, three is enough” but when i really think about Why i want to be done, it’s because i think that when they get older, i’ll start to get things under control, handle it myself, have it all in-the-bag, no problem. i get this idea in my mind that if we stop here, i’ll get that old self-reliance back, my old capability, drive, ambition. i’ll be back where i was before i needed God so much to make it through my morning (or through the wee hours of the night).
i’ll be honest, part of me so longs to have it all under control again, to be as awesome as i thought i was, to write that book, read that other book, edit that journal, take up a new hobby, have a Really Clean House, lose the babyweight, etc. i want my time back and my control back. but, with each kid we’ve had, i’ve let go of all that more and more (and by “let go” i mean God pried it from my fingers); it’s hard to be all about yourself when three little humans are (very loudly and constantly) dependent on you for survival.
And i’m thankful for that, all of it–the sanctifying process is awesome. and i might one day figure out better methods that enable me to have a crumb-free floor while caring for 3 (or more, one day?) children, but even the best methods won’t take away the fact that being a mom means my life for theirs.