If you had asked me five years ago — when I was pregnant with my first child — where I saw myself in five years personally, professionally, and in life in general, I likely would have romanticized my answer: Still holding down a thriving career in Boston, while raising perfect children in a spotless house, finding time for happiness and balance in everything.
I laugh at that naïve person now and know I am hardly alone in this and in my experience. I stay home in a suburb 25 miles south of Boston with three little guys under 5, juggling, toggling, struggling, and occasionally triumphing, like so many other moms in this universe.
Just as many of you do, I juggle diaper changes, feedings, and snuggles with puzzles, Legos, and stories. I toggle between tummy time and fetching sippy cups full of water or cider, playing catch with a beach ball in the house, and having dance parties in the middle of winter with shaking rattles. I struggle constantly, asking myself if they are all getting enough love and attention from me every day, and whether they are all growing normally and are happy, all while trying to find a moment to catch my breath and regain my sanity.
And every so often I see small triumphs — my two older boys playing nicely together and maybe even sneaking a hug between them; a breakthrough in art, reading, or writing; my nearly 3-year-old singing all the words to “Tomorrow” from Annie when he thinks no one is listening; the baby smiling broadly and/or giggling when he sees his older brothers. It is these triumphs that take my breath away and make me will this innocent time to stand still — to push the growing up off as long as possible.
I strive to find balance amongst it all, so to overcome the chaos and overwhelming feelings and struggles that shape the experience of motherhood, lately I’ve been trying to find laughter in my day to day. As we gear up for the burst of color that will come with the changing of this New England winter into the beautiful spring around the corner, I thought I’d share some of the color that has been in my life as of late, courtesy of my kids (and maybe you can relate!):
More than once lately, while I’ve been in the middle of pumping for my baby, my middle son has insisted on either climbing onto my lap or holding the pump parts for me, asking me what is going on and why I’m doing it — and if I can get him a cup of water.
After saying prayers one night, concluding with “God bless xx” I asked my oldest what comes next, meaning who should we include in our prayers. He responded, without missing a beat, “We sneeze, right?”
My 4.5- and nearly 3-year-old have developed an insatiable curiosity, and they greet me with a barrage of questions throughout the day. Some really make me think — either because I’m too exhausted to come up with an answer off the top of my head or I just take too much for granted in life. A sampling of some of these questions: Are there pools in heaven, and can we talk in heaven? Why do we have to sleep in beds? How does a letter that I mail make it to someone in another state?
My older son tells me he’s not going to get married when he’s older because he wants to be “which,” as one of his friends at school has told him is the better way to go. My middle guy tells me he’s going to marry me.
They both tell me that since I’m the only girl in our “boy family,” they are my knights and I am their queen, and they will always guard and protect me.
I hope to preserve this innocence of childhood as long as possible — and to keep remembering to share laughs with my kids through it all!