For this past week, I've only had one child to feed and put to bed and look after and play with and pick up and do all the things with. Every year my mom takes Freddie and Ainsley for a week. And every year, I'm reminded what an awesome mom I can be with one child.
I finish the week psyched to be the mom I know I can be, because I've just done it. For a week I've been patient, I haven't yelled, I haven't doled out punishments, I haven't lost my temper, I've said yes more than no.
Then this week fades into next, and reality sets in. Three kids mean chaos that overwhelms me beyond my breaking point.
I love my kids. Of course I do. I don't think I even need to say that. But three kids is no joke. I have three little people with different wants and needs, clamoring for my attention from the moment we walk in the door at night until the moment the last one shuts his sleepy eyes.
So all week, I've been trying to figure out how I carry this calm, patient Jaime with perfect parenting skills into next week. Because so often I feel like my kids get the worst of me and I hate the thought of them growing up just wanting to get out of a house where mom is always stressed and annoyed and tired. So. Very. Tired. These three people are the most important people in my life, but because of all the other noise and demands and responsibilities, I can't give them the me I want to give them.
I get up and go to work every day and deal with a bunch of whiny, ridiculous, adult-babies. Then I fight through an hour of traffic and race through pick-ups to finally walk through the door and have dogs knocking me over to get out and dinner waiting to be cooked so homework can get done and reading can get done and bedtime can happen so I can have 30 minutes of quiet before I go to bed and do it all over again.
That's not life, that's survival. I don't want my kids to learn how to survive life. A lot of days, most days, I feel like that's what I'm teaching them...how to make it to the end of this journey, and that's no way to live.
Right now, we're a bit stuck with the situation. There's no space to quit a job. There's no wiggle room to hire help. There's no cushion to pick up and move to a slower pace. We are trying desperately to change all of that, but until then I have to be a grown up and do what needs to be done and I don't have a lot of choice in the matter. I guess there's always a choice, but not a good one.
So for now, I'm going to do my best at changing the one thing I do have control over...my attitude.
In a week and a half, my kids will be back in school and the autumn cacophony will fill our house and it will feel like the entire universe is crashing around me, but I'm going to breathe. I'm going to take a beat before I yell. I'm going to count to 10 before I scream a punishment. I'm going to be as patient as I can be. I'm going to do everything I can to slow things down and not have life rush past me in the blink of an eye. Just like I've been all week with just me and Cohen. Because my kids deserve a mother who's enjoying life and not just surviving it.