This weekend I had the pleasure of watching my dear friend’s 3 small children. Lillie 6, Andrew 4, and Paul 9 months. I will be honest, this was not a planned event, but an event that I welcomed. All 3 children are extremely well behaved and get along swimmingly with my 3 children. Paul being the 9 month old, is laid back and an “easy” baby. With bright blue eyes and big chubby cheeks, we had a real live adorable Gerber baby in our house this weekend! As easy as Paul may be, I must use that term loosely because when you are caring for 6 children, no baby is “easy”. (At least not for me!) It was in those moments when I was caring for the youngest “Walter” that I realized…every mom who has more than one child must undergo some sort of mommy amnesia. She must FORGET what it is like to be on “call” 24/7. She must forget what it is like to constantly be on alert to make sure that the baby is not eating a stray object or climbing the stairs, or plummeting down the stairs. It is an incredible thing to be constantly “on” and responsible for not only preparing the little meal (that is different from everyone elses) but also then to feed the child the meal, and a bottle! She has diaper duty so it is not just an occasional wipe but process of diapering and applications of desitin and the like. I was in the “throws” of that life just 2.5 short years ago and yet with an almost 3 year old who feeds himself and even takes care of most bathroom issues I had simply forgotten! A bit of amnesia perhaps? It all came screaming back to me yesterday at 6pm when I was feeding Paul some sweet potatoes. He was not super happy about it. I didn’t have a high chair or seat so I was feeding him on my lap. In the meantime the other 5 children were finishing up their dinner and had decided to play on the swing set. Paul’s dinner was interrupted several times as there were cries from a fall on the monkey bars, and a need for a push on the swing. Finally my husband went outside to “man” the swing set when my youngest came in to take care of some business. With sweet potatoes all over Paul and myself I hear from the bathroom…”mom I need a wipe!” He meant, “mom please wipe me!” Of all the times to take care of this—really right now? I started to put Paul down but he began to cry. So with one baby on my hip and another in down dog position politely waiting to be wiped…I wiped his bottom. It is a good thing I do yoga! A mommy FIRST for me! I thought I had pretty much done it all! (To ease Sara’s mind, I did immediately wash my hands—and then went back to feeding Paul his dinner!) Saturday night really reminded me of reality TV: Jen and Chris Plus 6! Today Chris worked so my show title could have been: Jen Minus Chris Plus 6. I don’t know how mothers of more than 3 (because that is my experience) do it?!
Today as I reflected, most moms if they did not “forget” would probably not have the courage to do the pregnancy and baby thing again, and again, and again. Mommy amnesia is really a small gift and it helps to grow our families. I will say the mommy amnesia I experienced this weekend was fun! It is nice to every once in a while go back and reflect and appreciate how far you have come…that you have made it through certain obstacles or hurdles in life and survived! You can look back and appreciate where you are now! To be able to at the time live those moments as “normal”…only later to realize that they are far from normal…and then be grateful for where life is now and how far you have come–ah, what a gift!
Sometimes in this life God gracefully gives us amnesia. Amnesia from all that we have experienced so that we might not fully remember the “in and outs” and hardships of life. (Again hardships could seem “normal” but in reality is far from it.) Reflection is a wonderful thing. It often is cause for celebration and appreciation. If possible, today take a moment to reflect. Instead of being submerged in the current moments of stress…reflect on a tough week, tough month, or tough year of your life. Reflect on how far you have come. Celebrate…be thankful that you survived and are stronger for it! If you are in the “throws” of the proverbial mommy madness then you may not be able to reflect quite yet. If you have one baby on a hip and are balancing while wiping another bottom, it may be very difficult to see anything but sweet potato spit up and poop. Eventually you do move past this place. You will come out on the other side. You will be able to laugh (or smile) at the insanities and the stumbles. But you will be able to reflect and be thankful for where you are now. So keep your eyes fixed not on what is seen but is unseen…hopeful of great things that are to come.
Hope you have a wonderful Mommy Madness Monday!