The other day I was at my daughter’s swim school, watching her dive underwater to retrieve a ring from the bottom of the pool. She’s in the “big kids class” which means no parent is in the pool with her. I gaze down at my now 10 month old son, while I feed him a bottle as he watches her sister’s every move. My mind tries to be present for both. Cheering for my daughter as she looks right at me after back floats and keeping the bottle still while my son’s head follows her at the same time.
An older woman passes me on the way to the lobby, eyes my current situation and says:
“You’re in the thick of it aren’t you?”
I nod casually and go about my day. The following week after my daughter’s dance class, she wanted us to go to lunch. I feed my son puree sweet potato and apples, while helping my daughter cover her Minnie Mouse plush toy with napkins as her blanket and shoveling strawberries in her mouth. Somewhere in there I ate. Don’t ask me what it was, I don’t even remember.
As I stand up to pick up my son from his high chair, an older lady sitting next to me with her brother (as I later found out) looked at me and says “you’re right in the thick of it”. I’ve heard it now more times than I can remember.
Being outnumbered on the daily with two kids that are incredibly active, motivated and vocal is real life. There is only one of me and some days counting down the minutes until help arrives is all I can do to stay sane. Aside from her nap, which I thank my lucky stars she still takes them, the three-year old is on all day like the Energizer Bunny. The 10 month old is mastering crawling and is now standing up on any inclined surface no matter how unstable with a mantra of “I think I can make it”. It just makes me want to strap him to pillows to break any falls.
Right now, life is exhausting. Planning, willpower and patience is involved in order to go out and do things. “Me Time” is so far down the list, probably buried under a pile of laundry and dishes. Daily life is only truly understood by other SAHM moms. It’s lonely at times, and so easy to buy a ticket to ride the mom guilt train.
I am on that train more times than I’d like to admit, but the other day I ran across this article that really gave me perspective. Even though I’m in the thick of it, these moments that make the daily life so challenging are some of the best moments I’ll ever have with my kids. There will be a time where my daughter won’t look at me after her big dive to see if I saw her accomplishment. When my son won’t rely on me to make his food. There will be a last time that my son falls asleep on my chest and my daughter wants me to dance “Shake It Off” for the millionth time in the living room with her. This era in motherhood has all sorts of challenges, and it’s so easy to throw your hands up in defeat. But we can’t. Because we’re moms.
The truth is, these moments are constantly up for grabs. I stay at home to be with my kids every day, choosing to be their influence, engaging their curiosity and devoting my time to them. Those moments that memes and funny videos are made out of are moments that are shared between a parent and their kids.
So while truly in the thick of it, a constant reminder to be present and enjoy these moments carries a lot of weight. Because let’s face it, these moments are what makes motherhood such an unimaginable, unforgettable and truly heart-filling experience.
Most of the time.