I was talking with a friend this weekend, and I admitted to her what I have been feeling for the past two weeks- being a parent of three has finally caught up with me.
You see, Molly was a fantastic newborn (at least in the Squillante world- she's been the easiest of the three of them) for us. She was textbook- she ate when she was supposed to (or could go shorter or longer). She napped every hour or so at the beginning, then every one and a half, then every two. She could be put down and just lay in her little seat and play and watch her siblings and be happy. But now she's "awake" in this world. She is tired of laying down, but can't sit up alone- so she needs help. She is already down to two naps a day (mostly- very rarely we will get a third catnap in)- so she needs a lot more entertainment. She's not tough by any means, but she definitely needs more than she did at the beginning. Which is totally fine- except I have two others that need me too!
Jay has pretty much dropped naps altogether (I had four blissful years of it, so I'm definitely not complaining). While there is a lot of good that comes with this, there is also that extra two hours a day where he needs attention. So just when I get the girls down for a nap, my little buddy needs my time (and he certainly deserves it!). He's such an easy, great kid, that I feel like he deserves this time from me.
And Charley Kate. She's hysterical and so sweet. And now that Molly is needing a little more of me, she is definitely feeling that. She's been a little more clingy lately. And while she hasn't been naughty, you can just tell (in her tantrums) that she needs more of my attention. When I am able to have one on one time with her, she just shines. It's so wonderful.
But as you can see, I am in over my head. Not really of course, but that whole "mom guilt" thing is definitely present. I feel guilty that each kid isn't getting enough of my attention. Each one of them deserves to have more than they are getting. So then I ask myself, "Why did I do this to them?" It isn't fair.
And I know that's silly. Logically I know that they are getting more attention at my worst than many kids are getting daily. But I just ache for each of them. Every time I have to tell one, "Not right now, honey. Momma needs to help ____" it just kills me to see their crestfallen face. You know that article floating around FB that talks about a woman's son who just stopped asking for bed time stories because his mom always said no? I DON'T WANT TO BE THAT MOM. I am aware of this. I am desperately trying my best to say yes to each of them all the time. But I physically can't.
I believe I am teaching them good lessons of patience, self awareness, self entertainment, relying on peers/siblings, etc.. But I truly want to give them what they deserve. At least I can say with 100% certainty that I am trying. I really am.
As I was talking with my friend this weekend, she was reassuring me that this was so good for them. That this was a healthy stage- where they learn to rely on others and slowly (and she repeated SLOWLY) break away from relying on mom for every single thing and learn to rely on each other. This is where they form bonds that will last them forever. And I totally want that. More than anything.
But I can honestly say I have never felt more exhausted or busier than I do right now. It's not bad, it's not too hard, it's not more than I can handle. It's wonderful, it makes me happier than I've ever been, and it's everything I imagined my life would be. But I am busy. And I am exhausted. And for the first time in my parenting life, I feel like no matter how hard I try right now, I just can't do more than I am doing right now. And that's not a bad thing. I know I'm working my tail off every single day- all day (and sometimes all night).
But you know what the best part is about having three kids? I know this season will pass. I have learned in my time as a mother (whether I've had one kid, two kids, or now three kids), that no matter what stage you are in- happy or hard- it never stays this way for long.
Sometimes the easy, wonderful days are too fleeting. You want more of them- can't get enough of them. That stinks. BUT, the good news is- the hard stages are fleeting, too! No matter how rough it gets (up all night! teething! tantrums! potty accidents!) it doesn't stay like that forever! Hope.
So right now, this stage is hard. This season is busy and tiring. And while the busy and tired stage of being a mother will never end, the times when it's THIS hard and THIS tiring will pass.
Until it does, we will just go round and round on our little carousel of life- and I can promise you, we are truly enjoying it- no matter how hard it seems.