Paisley and I stayed home sick from church - Blake showed up an hour after leaving and dropped Fielding off as well since he was having some tell-tale signs of the same sickness. I will spare you the details and just say it resulted in a unwanted bath for Fielding and a suit in need of dry cleaning for Blake.

So I get to be the sick mom taking care of the sick kids. I don't know what is worse - my rolling stomach or the continuous stream of the Go Go Power Rangers! Samurai forever! screaming in the background.

It's one of those days. When it seems everyone else is going places and doing things. Like big things - like saving orphans in Africa or publishing books or restoring a vintage farmhouse into an animal adoption center. And I am here stuck trying to do the little thing of holding down my morning toast while smearing PB & J for those lucky few who are still in the currently-not-puking status. 

And I couldn't even do that. 

Halfway through assembling Cosie's lunch, the peanut-butter-smeared knife got left on the counter as the smell got the best of me,"Sorry Blake - I just can't."

I do not do well with not feeling capable.

This past year with four children has been really hard as I have often felt not capable.

I read something the other day that really resonated with me:

"...I developed a theory that if you are thin and smile a lot, people tend to believe that you have the universe's secrets in your pocket and that a raindrop has never fallen on your head. If you also happen to be wearing trendy jeans, well then, fuggedaboutit."
-Glennon Doyle Melton
I am thin. I smile a lot. Sometimes (not today) I wear cute jeans. And I am here to yell it from the roof-tops, "This four-kid gig is no easy task."

The other night I got the privilege of a kid-free meal at an upscale restaurant with all of Blake's coworkers. (I had to throw in that "upscale" in order to remind myself that occasionally I do land in the world outside of my small sippy-cup sphere.) We were seated at a table with 3 other couples who each had one child ranging from 1 month to 1 year. Naturally, the entire night was spent discussing our children, or in their case, their child.

Phones were pulled out and pictures pulled up. Bedtime rituals were hashed out. Food-introduction practices were shared. I learned all about "anchoring".*

With four kids, you would think I would have the most to say on a few of these subjects. But I became a fairly silent-observer on this world of first-child parents. At one point, I sarcastically whispered to Blake, "Should I pull up a picture of our kids?" Which we both chuckled at because we have learned once you pass two kids no one cares about names or ages or birth weights of your kids - it is just too much information for any one person to take in so they don't ask and we don't tell.

First-child parents are very endearing to me because I was once one. I remember the worry and the strain and the "Am I doing it, right?" that followed me everywhere I went.

There is peace that comes after a few kiddos and you realize of course you aren't doing it all right. You become more secure in your insecurities. 

But the problem is that your insecurities have just doubled or tripled or quadrupled. Each child comes with a complex design of needs and wants that change with each age and stage and added skill. Trying to navigate all of these as their mother is defeating. At any given point during any given day, I am failing to meet one or more of my children's needs/wants. This leaves me feeling incapable - that there is not enough of me to fully parent all of them. So I fail and raise my voice and my husband walks in looking so put together after his 8-5er and gets fall-apart me saying awful things like, "I can't do THIS!"

And the entire time I add another layer of guilt knowing that I am not the capable person I always believed myself to be.

So that is me today - feeling nauseous and tired and incapable as I take care of these nauseous and tired little people. While simultaneously trying to teach them from the depths of my soul that they are so capable. Capable of saving orphans and landing book deals and adopting out animals from a beautifully-designed barn. 

*"Anchoring" is the new term for securing down all your furniture when your child is learning to crawl. I was placed in the parenting hall of shame when I was casually asked, "Did you anchor yet for Perry?"
To which I replied, "I don't anchor."
Met by a collective gasp, "You DON'T anchor?!?"


Jana Weaver said...

Amen...and your comment about not being able to parent them all, it reminded me of a post you had a few years ago how Cosette didn't get as much time with you, but she had paisley. Siblings can be so much help at times. I love reading your thoughts and sure hope you get feeling better quick.

HowellAZ said...

Hope you're all feeling better. It's good to know you are human like the rest of us because sometimes I wonder if you really are, what with your skinny self running around in stylish jeans smiling all the time. :) Cut it out, would ya?!?