Americans like to talk about being busy. I used to say “I like being busy.” After some life experiences, mainly getting my butt kicked by raising two young children, I’ve realized I like being productive.
I knew being a parent would be hard but I didn’t understand why or when. I imagined it would be hard during those hormone filled adolescent years, consoling them when they are disappointed or heartbroken or when you miss them when they venture off to college.
What I didn’t realize is how hard parenting young kids would be.
My days have changed from having an ability to produce measurable things to just happily treading water.
Circa 2014, Working outside of the home, one child: get up, husband leaves for work, make myself look presentable, do a morning chore, my mom arrives to watch baby, leave the house, listen to a book on CD en route to the office, go to work and strike items off the to-do list, sneak in some personal to-dos like a jaunt to the dentist or scheduling an oil change, go to the gym or take a lunch break, commute home while catching up with a friend on the phone, eat family dinner, play time, both parents read to child and put him to bed, leisure time with spouse, adult bedtime.
Nowadays, SAHM, two children: get up, husband leaves for work, feed children, change diapers, make coffee, feed myself, get spit up on, change my outfit, change baby’s outfit, 30 minutes spent coercing toddler out of pajamas into daytime clothes, pack snacks, diaper bag, water bottles, get stroller and carrier ready, spend 10 minutes getting toddler into socks and shoes, put baby in carrier, get toddler into stroller, walk to playground, play, change a diaper or two, dole out a snack, walk to library, encourage inside voice, check out book and kid’s DVD, speed walk home to get baby spoon-able food or bottle, eat lunch, help toddler pee on potty, clean pee spray and potty seat, chase toddler to get him back into diaper, explain why we can’t watch more tv, wipe fresh baby spit up off the floor, explain why we can’t have a lollipop right now, talk about virtues of sharing, clean up legos, hear yourself saying “do not put duct tape on your brother,” wipe crusted old spit up off the floor, pack up kids and diaper bag for walk or car ride to ensure that toddler takes his nap, set baby down to carry sleeping toddler inside, pick up crying baby, feed baby, clean breakfast dishes while both children sleep for 15 minutes, hold baby while sending a quick email to husband and ordering a friend’s wedding gift, start to call for an oil change appointment but hear shrieking toddler who likes to be held after he wakes from nap, hold toddler and baby, realize you haven’t showered or put makeup on in a few days, read clock to calculate hours/minutes until husband comes home, put laundry away, start making dinner, husband home, divide and conquer, toddler plays outside with husband, hold baby and eat family dinner, toddler bath, baby bath, toddler teeth brushing, more peeing on potty and clean-up, nurse baby to sleep while husband handles toddler bedtime routine, talk to husband without kids interrupting for ten minutes before reading for five minutes and falling asleep dirty and exhausted.
The business of diaper changes, cleaning, and caring for kids takes a lot of energy. I love raising these sweet boys and constantly thank God he made them so cute and healthy but my goodness – it’s a grind! If you see a parent doing a good job, give them a high five, hug, buy them a drink, don’t mention the dark circles under their eyes and pretend they don’t smell weird or have a crayon stain on their shorts.