THIS IS WHAT’S HARD
I turn to my husband at the beginning of this football season and seriously ask him if we can hire a babysitter for the next 10+ games so that we can watch our Cowboys in peace.
I hate that family outings over the past five years have been complete chaos, no matter how much we prep, pack, and pray. Fun seasonal activities are just not gonna happen.
I hate that I sometimes resent families with fewer number of kids, or kids more spaced out than ours, since they seem to be able to function a heck of a lot better than we do in public, on trips, family meals, craft time, playing at the park, etc.
The PAPERWORK. The forms. The conflicting school/soccer/dance schedules. The days off from school that never coordinate with any days off we get as working parents. The illnesses that pass from one family member to the next, taking up to a month to totally go away.
Logically, I know that having three kids in five years is not the hardest thing in the world, and that this was, in fact, my CHOICE and my PRIVILEGE, considering we wanted three children as soon as we could after getting married in our early thirties. However, as a slightly self-absorbed person who spent her twenties doing exactly what she wanted to do, having a bunch of children in a row was a shock to my system. But honestly, I’m better for it.
THIS IS WHAT I’LL MISS
One day we will look around our empty house and realize that it’s quiet, creepy quiet; we’ll miss the always-brewing chaos that has filled our lives since 2011.
One day my weekends will be mine, and I’ll look for ways to fill the time. I know I’ll miss taking care of three kiddos who constantly ask me for things.
One day I’ll have time for my hobbies and interests during the day, instead of late at night or very, very early in the mornings.
I’ll work out with no stress: not on my lunch hour at work, constantly checking my phone for work emails; not quietly in the morning so I don’t wake a baby; not late at night when I can barely keep my eyes open.
One day we’ll prepare meals together leisurely, making exactly what we want to, in the amount of time we deem appropriate.
One day we’ll be able to start and finish a full conversation without breaking up a fight, stopping to go wipe someone in the bathroom, or forcing a forkful of dinner into another’s mouth.
One day we’ll go on vacations that we actually enjoy, and won’t need “a vacation from our vacation.”
Maybe one day I’ll stop choking back tears when I pass by the newborn section at Target, remembering how exhausted I used to be as I wandered those aisles, grabbing more diapers, more wipes, more Puffs. Despite the high-stress, fully overwhelmed new mom I was from 2011-2015, I will miss walking those aisles with purpose, knowing that my choices were going home to three small kiddos who needed me.
THIS IS WHAT’S DIFFERENT NOW
I’m four years past my last baby, and we are seeing subtle shifts, slight differences, in our routines. No more babies, no more opposing feeding or nap schedules, no more complicated gear when we leave the house. Our three kids are close in age and a lot of the time, they can all be entertained by the same thing. Bless it.
Bedtime can be dramatic, but not as soul-sucking anymore. Everyone can get dressed and undressed, can brush teeth, can go to the bathroom. We have to issue a lot of reminders but we are past the point of teaching all-new behaviors; we typically just reinforce these days. It’s a nice place to be in, finally, after having three kids in five years. I can see the freedom and flexibility a lot more clearly now.
They know to hold hands in the parking lot. They know to tell me when they have to go to the bathroom. They can identify their emotions (sometimes); they try to make us laugh.
They make each other laugh, all the time. They’re good friends, thick as thieves.
I will miss the impromptu football games that have taken place in our living room every single fall during the Cowboys season since 2015. I’ll miss the random bursts of song and interpretative dance during homework time. I’ll miss the constant interruptions and demands for my attention. I’ll miss the song requests in the car, no matter how short the drive.
I’ll miss the sound of them cracking each other up over some nonsense.
Once I realized I did want kids, I knew that a house filled with noise, drawings, personal pictures, and random décor was the kind that I wanted to live in. One day, my home won’t be as full, or as loud, or as messy. While my Type A brain will be grateful for less clutter, my heart will yearn for the swirl of activity that surrounds our days as we parent a third grader, first grader, and preschooler.
Every day I am thankful for our three gifts we are honored to parent. As much as I complain and feel overwhelmed and wish I had just FIVE minutes to myself, I am so grateful for the honor of parenthood and all the ways it has changed my life, molding and shaping me into the person I am meant to be.