When we got married and started talking about the possibility of a family down the road, my mind jumped to pictures of elementary aged kids opening Christmas presents or playing in the backyard while we sit comfortably on the couch or patio chair sipping a drink while watching the kids. As we got closer to beginning our family, and debated how many kids would best complete our family, again my mind pictured these kids as just that… kids. What I didn’t picture was the logistics of more than one kid at home. Or what it would look like to have a 2 year old with a dirty diaper throwing a tantrum while a newborn screams for no apparent reason.
Now that we’re a month into life as a family of four, I get asked on a regular basis how I’m handling things. And my answer is usually the same: it’s hard… but it’s also easier.
Having a sensitive, thoughtful, emotional and sweet little two year old girl along with a newborn is tough. There are so many moments in a day when I find myself wishing I had a clone because one lap is just not enough for two girls. For some reason, Hadley only needs her momma when momma’s hands are occupied by Harper. And the second I sit down to nurse Harper? That tends to be the same moment Hadley wants to go upstairs to her playroom (which requires my help up the stairs and obviously my supervision). By the time I’ve survived bath & bedtime (for Hadley – because “bedtime” does not exist yet for Harper) I am so exhausted that I can hardly keep my eyes open, and yet I have a husband and a newborn who still need my attention. Not to mention a house, and dishes, and laundry, and – oh yeah – a growling stomach that hasn’t eaten anything other than a granola bar since noon.
I can remember sitting in my room when Hadley was just a couple months old and having an overwhelming feeling of “what did I get myself into? What am I doing?” because I just could not get her to stop crying. I hadn’t showered in days and there was laundry all over our room. I felt so out of my league as I was struggling to figure out how to balance (just one) child on top of the rest of my responsibilities. This time around, I’m used to wearing the same yoga pants 5 days in a row and have perfected the dry shampoo pony-tail look for my unwashed hair. I know the laundry will get done eventually and even though my house won’t clean itself, it won’t kill us if there are a couple dust bunnies under the bed. We’ll have good days and we’ll have bad days; moments in our day will be harder, but overall the days pass easier.
Because this time, I know that “this too shall pass” and it will pass far too quickly. The sweet baby snores and snuggles will turn into tantrums and “I do it myself”s in the blink of an eye, so I can handle the middle of the night feedings and a baby who just needs to be held to stay asleep. Hadley and I are figuring out our new normal, but that’s what we always do. She’s the one who made me a momma, so every stage of life is a new experience with her – and we just do our best. And when we haven’t had our best day, I’m thankful that tomorrow is always a new day and God’s mercies are new each morning.