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Motherhood

    New Morning Mercies

    I’m fine.

    Like perfectly fine.

    I have consulted with medical professionals. I don’t have postpartum depression. The hormones have settled. I smile most of the time. I get a decent amount of sleep at night (if you consider six or more consecutive hours decent, which I do).

    Although my kids still cry and whine hourly, I now only cry once or twice a month.

    We get out of the house daily. I exercise at least three times a week. I am back at work and loving my job, as usual.

    Yet, my day-to-day life feels hard. The cooking, feeding, and cleaning feel endless. Whatever structure I had created for rest and alone time with one or two kids is now demolished. The tasks of everyday life feel all-consuming, and they drain every last drop of my patience, strength, and energy.

    For a while I was asking myself, “Why does this feel so hard?” but I think I’ve figured out the answer.

    I’ve never done this before.

    I’ve never been a working mom with three kids.

    I’ve never cleaned a house with three kids in it.

    I’ve never done laundry for three kids or fed three kids or gotten three kids dressed every day.

    I’ve never disciplined a three year-old while trying to teach a two year-old her ABCs while ensuring the four month-old gets adequate tummy time.

    It’s a new level of complexity I have not yet mastered.

    I have never done anything like this.

    And when I think of it like that, I’m actually kind of proud of myself. Because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway. It’s really hard, but it’s getting easier day by day. I wake up each morning and pursue the day with all the joy and strength I can muster. I know I will be spent by nightfall, but I rely heavily on those new-morning-mercies.

    Three kids under four years of age. It often feels like a burden on my back, but instead I choose to wear it as a badge of honor.

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    It’s Too Soon…

    When Zianne was four months old, I took a trip to Texas to visit my girlfriends. On my first afternoon in town, on the way back from the airport,  my friend Sarah and I needed to nurse our babies who were just a few weeks apart. We stopped by another friend’s house, because she had a new baby as well. We figured if you are going to breastfeed, why not socialize at the same time?

    We sat in a playroom on various chairs and couches talking about the ups and downs of motherhood, especially those first few overwhelming weeks with a newborn. As the conversation went on, I eventually asked this question: “What’s the most irrational thing you did in your first few postpartum days that you can laugh at now?” Sarah shared something, and then I talked about how Micah tried to coach me in breastfeeding (and I got mad and then bawled my eyes out). Then we looked over at our other friend. She was feeding her baby who was just five or six weeks old. It was her second child. And she said softly, “It’s too soon. I know I’ll laugh someday, but I can’t just yet.”

    I immediately regretted my question. Here I was with my chubby, sleeping-through-the-night, four month-old first child asking a fresh mom of two if she’s already laughing about the crazy season she’s still weathering. Yet her humble, honest answer sticks with me all these years later.

    Because now I’m the one living in the too soon.

    It’s too soon to laugh about how we had three babies in three and a half years.

    It’s too soon to reminisce about the time we moved when the youngest was just eight weeks old.

    It’s too soon to think fondly of raising young children or smile at the thought of their dirty faces and the crayon markings on my sofa.

    It’s too soon to remember how those early years shaped me… how God slowly taught me patience and the grace of a gentle tongue.

    It’s too soon to recollect on the hours, days, months spent nursing on my couch, on my bed, in the front seat of the minivan or to chuckle at the times I spent an hour getting the baby down for a nap only to hear her crying five minutes later.

    It’s too soon to talk about how I balanced my marriage, motherhood, and a job.

    It’s too soon.

    Someday I will wax poetic about the little years and the funny things they said. I might dive into the sea of nostalgia from time to time and let those waves of remembrance wash over me… their chubby thighs, round cheeks, pacifier lips. I will think of how God used these baby years to make me a better woman. How the days were hard, but good. How my hair started showing strands of gray, but my heart was being refined like gold.

    Someday I will say those things. Think those thoughts. But not today.

    It’s too soon.

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    Eisley Avalon (two months)

    Growing // At six weeks of age, Eisley was 12 pounds, 3 oz. She is pretty huge, but not quite as big as Z at this age. I can’t keep track of her other measurements (third child problems), but I know she is off-the-charts tall and around 95th percentile for weight and head circumference.
    Eating // Unless my memory is just hazy with the other two, Eisley is my fussiest eater… lots of pulling on and off while nursing, milk spraying everywhere, and some crying in the mix. She also decided a few weeks ago that she hates the bottle. I have not been consistent about giving her a bottle very often, since I’m home for the summer, but when we were moving the past two weeks, both grandmas came into town to help us. Eisley tried to refuse the bottle completely at first, but now we can get her take one “under extreme protest” as my mom described it the other day.

    Wearing // Eisley is comfortably wearing six month clothing. We are in that sweet, short window where they are not too big and not getting too small.
    Doing //Eisley nurses every 2-2 1/2 hours by day and is consistently sleeping about seven hours at night (10ish-5ish). Her naps are super inconsistent, mostly the horrible 20-40 minute kind with the occasional 2-hour “conk out” in the mix. She survived our move and is still sleeping in the Pack ‘N’ Play in our room. I would like to get her out of our room and into the crib, but we are still figuring out sleeping arrangements at our new place. Talitha is still in the crib, but might graduate to a bunk bed or a trundle/daybed with her big sis soon. During the move, we got out the play mat, and Eisley loves looking at the mirror, the hanging animals, and the ceiling fan nearby. She still loves going for walk in the Solly and is now big enough to go in the Ergo too. She smiles and coos now, which is super fun, and I’m hoping she starts giggling in the next month or so.

    Loving // Baths, being swaddled, taking naps in fuzzy blankets on the couch, being held, having her butt patted, hearing the word “hi” in a high pitched voice, her play mat

    Tolerating// The car seat (slightly more than last month)

    Loathing // The bottle

    Mishaps // We walked to a nearby park in our new neighborhood the other day. It’s been in the mid-80s here, which is pretty hot for our coastal area, and Eisley got a sunburn! Her right cheek, a tiny patch on her neck, and the top of her right shoulder got slightly red where they were peeking out of the Solly Wrap. I didn’t realize the new park had very little shade, and I didn’t even think to apply sunscreen to her sensitive baby skin. Lesson learned!

    Milestones // Slept until 6:15 one morning (although 5:15 wake-ups are still the norm), went to a baby shower, tried out the stroller and the Ergo, moved to a new house, met some of mommy’s best friends (Sar-Bear and Stace-Face)

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