Kids are like little germ factories. I think boys are the worst. They are filthy. There's really no point in trying to clean them. I mean, let's be really honest here. When I asked my two year old why he smeared poop on the walls, his reply was "Cuuuuuzzzz, I wanna pway". Awesome. Was that fun for you? Because I'm more grossed out than I ever thought possible right now. They wipe their boogers on the furniture, because it doesn't occur to them to grab a wipe, or towel, or tissue, or even...their shirt. Nope. Nose to couch...and, again...I puke.
So, this cold season hit in November and my three "boogers" started catching stuff. At first, it was no big deal. The hubby was home to help, it was all good. And then, the hubby caught the cough the middle-son was carrying FOREVER. The hubby refused to go to the doctor, you know, because he's a man and men don't go to the doctor. PS - if you're a dude reading this - that is why you will die on average 7 years earlier than your wife, because you don't go to the doctor. Well, that did it for Rhett. He had Pneumonia. Two rounds of antibiotics and six weeks of fighting that crap brought us close to Christmas. We had ear infections. We had colds. We had allergies. We had hand, foot and mouth. We had RSV. We had asthma with our RSV. We had the flu and then, most recently, we've had the stomach virus uniquely designed to make everything you've eaten in the last decade exit your body violently and quickly.
And...I all the while am wiping noses, cleaning bed sheets, sanitizing the house, and doing my best not to go completely and utterly crazy.
Before I had kids, my friends with kids would say things like "Just wait..." "You don't even know tired" "You don't even know messy" "pah-leeze, you are not that busy..."
They were partially right. I hate saying things like that to other single people, first because many of them want desperately to know the life I know and second I remember that I lived a full life before kids. I did get exhausted. It was a different kind of exhausted, but it felt like exhaustion.
The last four months have been easily the most exasperating, trying, unrelentingly stressful months of my post-college adult life. I've repeatedly said, "If we get sick again, I just won't be able to take it..." and then we get sick again. And I take it...I think.
I''m still not sure I'm taking it. I'm not sure I'm gonna make it. Every day is an endurance test. I've had to say "no" to more things than I liked. I've had to put the gym on the back burner...and turn the burner off. There just isn't a space for that when the kids are puking every hour on the hour, or need breathing treatments regularly, or have ear infections...you get my drift.
You know those books that talk about how to get your kids to sleep through the night. Lies. They are all lies. My kids have slept through the night before. But I wouldn't say that they sleep through the night. Like something that happens on a regular basis or it's something that can be anticipated or counted on. There's babies crying for momma at least three times a night. Sometimes I don't even recall getting up. I never recall them sneaking into my bed.
Last night, in the middle of a 5:30 am nursing session, there was explosive diarrhea. In my crotch, down my leg, across my stomach....all over the child. Basically, everywhere. So, that's a wonderful way to start the day. And, I missed the additional 90 minutes of sleep I usually get after that feeding, because, once you shower - there's no going back to bed.
Here's one thing I will say to anyone who thinks your life can remain the same after kids. "Your life is not your own." You can live like it is when you don't have kids. You can go on trips. Make spontaneous plans for lunch or dinner. You can buy things you want. You can wear the same shirt ALL DAY without getting pooped or puked on. Because, you think your life is your own.
Having kids is the best reminder that I can think of, except for maybe prison, that our days are not our own. They don't belong to us. When you have kids, you can have a plan. You can even plan around nap times, food times, puke times, potty times, snack times and that plan might still blow up in your face. Your days are no longer your own. They belong to "them".
I'll be honest. Sometimes I get angry. Really angry. "This blasted flu!! All I want is to go to the gym for one hour!!! Is that too much to ask!?!?"
Well, I guess it is. Because all my kids got sick. Really sick. And I still can't tell you the last time I went to the gym.
At the end of the day, I have to take a deep breath. I have to remember. These days are not mine. They are not "theirs" either though. They are the Lord's. He made this day. I just have to "steward" it. Stewarding the last four months has cost me every ounce of pride, selfishness and "control-freakishness" that I had in me. I know I'm being pruned/refined or whatever you want to call it. I can feel it and it doesn't always feel good. But, I do know that "He who began the good work in me is faithful to complete it". I'm becoming a much more present mom. I'm becoming a much more patient person. I'll eventually be a better wife and mom because of the days that I just let go and hang on for the ride.
Wednesday, I will load all three of my minions on a plane and fly them to Seattle. I know I've grown as a human, because I haven't really given much thought as to what that will look like. I'll do that tomorrow...if I have time. Either way, I'm sure we'll be fine. :)
My advice to new parents - let go a little. Life is not every gonna be as you planned. If you hang on too tightly, you'll probably miss a lesson.