I have 4 kids. Their ages are 7, 5, 3, and 1. I usually do not sleep more than 4 hours straight. I am chronically sleep deprived and I know it. I wake up to nurse, to soothe, to bring drinks, to tuck in... I love my children and this part of being their mom. Sometimes being their mom is like a beautiful fairytale... imagine rainbows above, bunnies and puppies frolicking in the distance and my 4 little darlings and me having a joyful time playing....
Now imagine this... it's 3:30 pm. I've just picked up my 7 year old and 5 year old daughters from school with three year old son and 1 year old daughter. My oldest daughter, A., announces that she has a birthday party this afternoon... in 30 minutes. We NEED to buy a present. Okay! I can do this! Drive to nearest bookstore! Find the perfect book for a 7 year old! In the store my daughter, A., aged 7 begs for some stickers, and a DVD, and a new umbrella... M., my 5 year old is running up and down the aisles singing - loudly. Z., my3 year old son is opening and closing the expensive looking umbrella that A. is begging to buy. H., the baby... where is she? Oh no, she just ran out of the store... A stranger is stopping her. H. screams. I thank the stranger as I soothe H. and run back into the store.
I'm losing it. Four against one and I am definitely not keeping up! I want to shout, "Stop it right now!", but I don't. I smile at the passers-by who seem to think my bouncing munchkins are "so cute"... and look at my watch. 15 minute until the party. I grab a nice looking book, Little Women, I dash for the checkout - gift wrap it - A. signs the card and we're heading for the car... Getting into the car, buckling 4 car seats is another story!
As a very busy and overworked mom... I often receive advice from all types of well meaning folk. A common comment I get is, "Oh wait until they're older! Then you'll really have your hands full!" or, "You think this is tough? Just wait until you have teenagers!"... Well, I'd like to thank all of my loving fans for your blessings for future hardship but quite frankly, I disagree. Do teenagers wake you up several times in the night? Do your older children contribute to sleep deprivation? Are you constantly cleaning just to maintain a sanitary home? Do you wipe tushies? Change diapers? Do you chase 4 little ones in 4 different directions??? I love my 4 little children and I also know that they are hard work! This is as hard as it gets! I know there will be more complicated issues to challenge and push us to our limits as they grow BUT... I will have more sanity, more sleep, and more time to breathe. When I have more sleep I believe I will be much more fit to handle the challenges that come!
Fast-forward... it's 7 pm and all of the kids are tucked into their beds. I've had kisses and hugs. The house is quiet. I have time to reflect on moments of my day... when A. read quietly for an hour on her own and M. poured her own cereal and milk and Z. said, "Give me love" and planted a huge kiss on my face, and H. laughed... I remember how lucky I am.