I have a five year old, a four year old, and a three month old.
They are ruining my life and slowly but steadily driving me toward complete insanity.
(It is also impossible to take a decent picture of the three of them together. But that is beside the point right now.)
I am a highly sensitive person. It’s taken me a few years to figure that out. I’ve learned that I’m easily overwhelmed by too much visual clutter and triggered by too much noise.
This is a problem, because I live in an apartment with three loud little people who have made it their personal mission to embody entropy; every day in every way.
However, even for a relatively patient and well-adjusted person, children are still a challenge.
Lately, it has felt like everything is falling apart and life within these four walls is spiraling out of control.
The other day, I woke up and was greeted by the joyous sight of an entire bag of Cheerios that had been dumped out and then spread to completely cover our living room carpet.
This morning, I walked into one of the boys’ rooms to find this:
Why, children? Just…why?
The stains on the carpet. The three different sets of broken blinds. The chipped electrical outlets and wall dents and broken doorknobs and carpet stains and that chunk from our dining table surface that mysteriously came off and went missing. (I have come to terms with the fact that there is no way in hell we are getting our deposit back when we move out.)
And then there are the accidents. The brand new gallon of milk that was dropped and split open, all over the floor. The nearly-full jar of jelly that was also dropped and shattered into a billion pieces. (Cleaning up glass is one thing. Cleaning up shards of glass mixed with sixteen ounces of sticky jelly, however…you can’t just sweep that shit up.)
The five loads of laundry that I had to do this morning in spite of the fact that I do laundry every day–including two sets of sheets and twin-sized comforters because little bladders don’t always make it through the night.
Accidents are accidents. I don’t get angry over them. I’ve learned to accept that they happen, even though sometimes when I see the mess that needs to be cleaned up, I just want to say, SOMEONE ELSE COME DO THIS. ANYONE ELSE. I JUST DON’T EVEN WANT TO LOOK AT IT RIGHT NOW.
I’m not trying to elicit pity. Everyone has daily battles and frustrations.
It’s just a lot sometimes.
But I’ve realized I often make situations much worse because I have an inner narrator who never shuts up and is prone to histrionics.
Why are they always fighting? I am so sick of this. They break everything! EVERYTHING! They never listen. They are so destructive. I am so done. I don’t even want to deal with this. I cannot handle this right now. I am not enough for them–they have SO MANY needs and they are all different and I just can’t do it. He is so demanding! Stop asking me questions! Stop following me around! Why won’t they just leave me alone? I TOLD them to stop splashing everywhere! It’s going to take forever to get this cleaned up. I’m sick of doing this alone–I’ve been doing it on my own for five years! They have so much energy and we are stuck in this damn apartment with no backyard and Noa is not napping well and I just CAN’T take you to the park right now so stop asking and stop breaking things and damn it everything is out of control and everything is falling apart and the apartment is a disaster and STOP HITTING EACH OTHER. Fine. Fight all you want. I don’t even care anymore.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the constant loop of mental negativity is contributing to the problem.
Yes, shit happens. But shit doesn’t always happen. Let’s have a little reality check.
Yes, the boys are fighting and not listening and bouncing off the walls (or couch) right now. But they also love to play together and read with me and often get lost in playing machines or construction site or LEGO. I get a lot of free time some days because they are so busy and engaged in their ‘important work’ . I am so lucky that they have each other.
Yes, Noa is having issues with naps right now and it’s frustrating and tiring. But she is sleeping well at night and she is generally a happy and sweet and very interactive baby. Yes, she has been my most difficult newborn to date, but telling myself that over and over doesn’t help. Reminding myself how sweet and lovely she is helps overshadow the difficulties.
Yes, I have been on my own most of the past several years because Silas has been so insanely busy with school. Yes, we’ve only seen him for a total of two or three weeks since last May as he travels around the country for rotations. But I have grown immensely as a person and have become very independent. I am good at being alone, which is a valuable quality. I have matured so much that I barely recognize that 19 year-old girl who jumped into marriage and motherhood nearly 7 years ago.
Yes, we are having issues with talking back and not listening and lying right now. But I have gotten compliments from strangers on how well-behaved and polite my children are. I’m doing a good job. They may not always be sweet and polite, but they’re not always defiant little monsters either. (Okay, monsters is a little strong.)
And on those days when it’s all just piling up, I repeat my favorite refrain: it won’t be like this forever.
Because really…it won’t.
And there are so many good moments with these little people.
I don’t want to miss them because I’m so focused on the crappy ones.
What are some of the stories you tell yourself?