I used to think that having 3 kids feels easier than 1 because they entertain each other most of the time. Aside from breaking up fights, I have much longer windows to get things done because they rely on each other as playmates. I also figured that I’m already making the meals, wiping the butts, running the baths and folding all the little socks so how much more work is it to add a few more wipes or socks to the mix?
However, lately I’ve been running on a different theory.
I’m not so sure if the change has as much to do with them as it has to do with my perspective of things. Over the last few years, I’ve very gradually learned to embrace the crazy. I’ve learned that it’s ok to have no plan or to have your plan completely bulldozed by an unscheduled nap or public meltdown. I’ve also learned that children CAN’T hurry no matter how much you think you’ll be able to train them, bribe them or explain to them what it means to be late. I’ve learned that you simply can’t control things as much as you want if you want to have miniature versions of yourself running around.
Just the other day my husband gave our daughter a banana and let her eat it on the couch. This is something that I don’t allow the kids to do. I started getting really upset and then just kind of stopped myself and thought, “What’s the big deal? I’ll grab some Thieves Household Cleaner (shameless plug) and a paper towel. It’s not the end of the world.” I saw my husband’s face go from defensive to SO relieved. He doesn’t need that from me and it just wasn’t worth it. Choose your battles, amiright?
However, the biggest change I have seen in myself and the real point of even writing this is that I’ve accepted that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Once that settled in, I realized that nobody else has any idea what they’re doing either. Raise your hand if you’re a parent and you feel like you know exactly what you’re doing on any given day. If your hand is up, put it down. You’re a stinkin’ liar.
I used to seek out other adults for parenting help or advice. I’d look around for people adulting better than me. Older adults? Adultier adults? But here’s the thing. We’re all winging it. I just think the seasoned adults have confidence in their “winging” which confuses the rest of us into thinking that they know what they’re doing. This causes us to be lulled into a false sense of security that one day we’ll hit some magic age and then we’ll know what we’re doing, too.
There is no magic age… as much as I wish there was.
My friends with more than 3 kids tell me that I’ve surpassed the biggest hurdles and learned the tricks of survival so I might as well just keep having more. It’s all downhill from here, baby. Cruise control. But you know what all of these friends have in common? They’re mellow, flexible and laugh everything off. This is because they’ve known for awhile what I’ve just only discovered. They don’t have any idea what they’re doing and it’s perfectly ok. They’re fantastic moms with fantastic kids.
So if you see me out and about and my kids look clean and well behaved don’t think for a second that I’ve got it together. I’m just winging it on a hope and a whole lotta prayer.