Being A Parent
by Rachael Boley
I always said I wanted at least 3 kids. I got exactly what I wished for. My twins are now 3 and my youngest is 19 months and I have realized that life with 3 kids changes as they get older…. A LOT! When they were younger, of course I was exhausted. “Sleep deprived” didn’t even touch the truth of how utterly tired I was all the time. But I adjusted, and their sweet faces, chubby hands and peanut sized bodies totally made up for it all. I started to really think I was just nailing the motherhood thing and wasn’t quite sure what all the complaints were about from other parents. When people looked at me in the grocery store with what apparently looked like my own personal softball team of children and said, “Oh you poor thing. Better you than me!” I was always appalled. I wanted to say, “You’re damn right better me than you asshole! These angels are a gift straight from heaven and I love every single explosive poop and spit up filled moment.” And then they started to grow. I still love almost all of the moments, but I now am the frazzled owner of 3 wild toddler sized animals…I mean boys.
You know what being a parent of 3 kids looks like now? Mayhem. It looks like mayhem. It’s sleep deprivation on speed. It’s breaking up fights over the way someone looked at the other or the fact that someone “is never gonna share” or “got me wet” while we are playing outside in a sprinkler. It’s being outnumbered at all times. It’s navigating the murky waters of clothing and NEVER EVER getting it right. It’s showings of Shamu and Friends in my bathroom every night. Its poop, all. The. Time. Its constant wrestling matches, and tickle fights, and dance parties. It’s wondering how on earth anyone is still alive because they refuse to eat anything but milk and air. It’s being pushed to the absolute limit every hour of every day as you look upon these cherubs you created and wonder what the hell happened to your precious little boys. It’s messes and spills and constantly cleaning up something. It’s meltdowns over things like the fact that I put my hair into a ponytail or I gave my son the wrong cup that is the exact same as his brother’s with the exact same type and amount of juice in it. It’s corralling and cajoling. Time out-ing and boundary setting. Holding and comforting. It’s never having enough arms to hold everyone. It’s endless tears because someone is always crying. Including me some days. It’s making sure there is always 3 of everything and praying that if you don’t have 3, you can somehow convince the others that something else is equally awesome. It’s free-flowing statements of “You have to share!” “Don’t take that from him.” “Tell your brother you’re sorry.” And, “Keep your hands to yourself.” And it’s going to bed each night so beyond the borders of where you ever thought you could manage, praying desperately no one wakes up in the middle of the night so you can re-energize for the next day and start all over.
You know what else it is though? Its everything I ever dreamed it could be and more. Its finding myself and my purpose in the eyes of my children. Its giant hugs and wet kisses. Its being tackled by 3 boys every afternoon after work like I’m a celebrity. It’s sparkly eyes looking up at you as they smile and say, “I love you mommy!” or flash the “I love you” symbol out the day care window each day as I leave my heart in someone else’s hands for 8 hours. Its giving all you have to give and somehow always finding more. Its laughter and innocence. It’s remembering what it’s like to live in the moment and soak everything in while it’s happening. It’s not worrying what everyone else thinks and doing the very best you can each day, even if it didn’t feel like enough. It’s learning to laugh so that you don’t cry. Its patience and grace, as you stumble through parenting and realize you truly have NO clue what you’re doing; but somehow, they seem to be alright. It’s trusting yourself. It’s allowing your children to be themselves while you learn to do the same. It’s bedtime stories and night-time snuggles.
Being a parent of 3 kids, or any number of children, is messy and chaotic. It’s loud and there are likely little to no moments of alone time. Someone is always watching you pee. You’re always explaining something to someone – usually things like how mommies don’t have penises and we don’t pee from our butt. Nothing is ever as clean as you’d like, and me-time is something you can’t even wrap your brain around. Work, if you work outside the home, might feel like a vacation and you may walk the tight-rope between guilt and relief every time you drop your kids off at daycare. You likely drink unhealthy amounts of coffee and you’ve got a thicker skin than you ever thought possible. You don’t have time for bullshit and you become a better parent each day, or at least you try. Even on the days you feel like you failed at everything.
Life with kids is bliss. Especially if your version of bliss is living in a self-created animal cage filled with wild monkeys. And since apparently that is exactly what my version of bliss is, I am living in my very own version of heaven.
What does being a parent look like to you?