Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Different Kind Of Chaos

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a sweet friend who will be welcoming her third child a few months from now. While she is very excited about the family's new addition, she is also understandably nervous about how she will handle the chaos of having three kids under the age of five. As we talked, my mind immediately conjured up memories form that time in my own life. 

My third daughter was born exactly two weeks before my oldest started kindergarten and there was a 2 year old in between them. I was juggling sleepless night and breastfeeding a newborn while also parenting an active toddler and helping a five year old adjust to a difficult kindergarten year. It was madness and, honestly, there were days when I thought I would surely drown in the turbulent sea of motherhood. My life was an endless storm of diapers, car seats, toys, poop, and exhaustion. People told me it would get easier and I believed them because, it couldn't have gotten any worse, right?

Eight years later, I'm now at that stage of life - the one that is supposed to be "easier."  However, I'm not sure it really is easier. It's still chaos, it's just a different kind of chaos.

My girls are currently 8, 10 (almost 11), and 13. Sure, they are all potty trained and they rarely wake me in the middle of the night, but life is still tumultuous a lot of the time.

Instead of changing diapers and stressing about nap time schedules, I am juggling soccer practices, piano lessons, riding lessons, school events and ALL. THE. THINGS. I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours and miles I spend in my minivan each day.

The girls can shower themselves and get on their pajamas without help, but there is still the chaos of bedtime. Now, though, it happens at 9:00pm instead of 7:00 which means that, once it's over, it's pretty much time for me to go to bed, too, so I don't even get to enjoy any quiet time. I have never been a night owl and the only TV show I've watched alone in the past several years is House Hunters.

There are no longer toddler toys all over my house. Instead, there are shoes, backpacks, and empty food wrappers everywhere I turn. My kids have clothes on their bedroom floors and I have no idea which ones are clean and dirty. My kitchen sink is constantly full of dirty dishes.

We don't have toddler tantrums, but we do have tween girl hormone-fueled mood swings and meltdowns. We have arguments over homework and sibling disagreements. There are tears on a weekly basis and so much eye rolling that I honestly fear someone's face is going to end up stuck like that.  

I've spent hours upon hours packing lunches and we still have battles over what's for dinner. Plus? Event though mine are girls, they eat all. the. time. They are constantly starving  and, therefore, my grocery bill is ridiculous.

Don't even get me started on shopping for appropriate clothes to fit their continually growing and changing bodies.

Like I said - it's still chaos, just a different kind of chaos. And, sometimes, I still feel like I'm drowning in the busyness and exhaustion of parenting. 
As I was thinking about all of this and slowly starting to crumble under the weight of it all last week, I came across this quote: 

It made me stop and reevaluate things a little bit.

The truth is, even though the stage we're in now is still pandemonium sometimes (most of the time), I wouldn't want to go back to the baby/toddler days. I think there is chaos, frustration, and disorder in every stage of life and the chaos we have now is a good fit for us. As my oldest is in her last year of middle school, I know that high school and college are looming. Just like I blinked and my babies became big kids, I am certain that I will blink again and they will be off on their own living their adult lives. So, I am trying to embrace the current chaos. On the days when I feel overwhelmed, I have to remember to breathe and forgive myself for the mistakes I make as a mom and a wife.

Maybe some stages are easier than others OR maybe every stage is just different.  No matter what "Book of Life" chapter we find ourselves inside, we have to remember to hang on tight and enjoy the ride before it's time to turn the page again.

This post was part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted by, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyaholic and me! This week, the word prompt choices were Happy & Pity. 

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