This picture tells the story of a baby who pooped on himself when his dad was taking a walk with him. Poppa looked into the diaper bag only to find a muslin blanket and an empty box of wipes. No change of clothes, no diapers, no baby wipes. Poppa wiped the baby with the clean part of the diaper, discarded the very soiled clothing, and wrapped him in the muslin blanket. Baby remained this way for about a half hour while poppa continued to walk him.
This picture also tells the story of a momma who now has 3 babies and can barely remember to brush her teeth. This morning she was going to, but then remembered she had already. Later in the afternoon, she recalled that it wasn't that morning that she had brushed but yesterday morning, so she then ran to the bathroom and finally brushed her teeth. She's a mom who's new to this breed of chaos. She is used to not doing everything her heart desires for herself by now- 3 children later- so when her husband offered to give her an hour to go to an outdoor community yoga class near their home, she jumped at the chance. Excited, sleep deprived, and rushing out the door as usual, she forgot to pack the diaper bag with fresh clothing and diapers and also forgot to replenish the baby wipes. Luckily her husband is very resourceful and patient! So, she tried to enjoy the yoga despite her tight body, the frustrated feelings welling up inside, the inability to quiet her mind and the judgments about her age and body in the midst of that young and uber-flexible crowd.
This baby is mine. And that mother is me. As I take 10 minutes to write this, I'm keeping the beat on a rocker with my foot so my little one will stay asleep so I can write this. For the next nap, I will put him in a sling and read my week's chapter in my textbook while I walk and sway. I spend the day fending off two bigger siblings because they like to play harmonica directly in baby's ear while he sleeps or kiss him profusely or come tell me who's fault what is- very loudly. There's always so. much. to. do. There is always something to clean. There is ALWAYS laundered clothes to put away as well as clothes to launder. And there is always love. Even though my scary mommy has emerged quite a bit in the middle of moments of stress when I bargain with God, "Please, just send me a clone. Or make me grow more arms (gives new meaning to the term onto-mom). Or send me Mary Poppins... I'll do anything!" But no clones, or arms, or nannies arrive. It's just us 5 here at home, trying to stay sane, and trying to figure out where the balance is for the day.
I no longer judge any mom for anything. Many dear friends have been bullied into C-sections. Lots of moms I know use formulas for feeding or supplementing. Pacifiers. Sleep training. Swings. Carter's clothing. Strollers. All things i said I'd never do and I've had to eat my words. If more pain had presented itself with the last baby's contractions, I may have caved at some point and asked for painkillers or a hospital. I've tried a pacifier this time around. I gently sleep trained one of my kids. I have had a swing with each child. I buy Carter's clothing KNOWING there are some poor women making a penny an hour but it's so affordable. And while I love my carriers and use them daily, I also use a stroller. With how hard parenting is, I often wonder how there are so many people in this world. That thought makes me smile though. Knowing almost all moms have struggled and eventually figured out their balance and have made it happen for their family... that's uplifting. :) Most every mom shares a secret with each other. It makes me feel like part of a secret club of badassery and loneliness and everything in between.
My life is so different. The other day a couple of friends were over and I noticed my conversational skills were at their all-time low. I couldn't remember simple words and it made for very choppy and unintelligible sentences. They say you will probably never remember your third child's name and birth date and I'm starting to think that's true. I usually call my baby by my second's name. I don't really care what I look like when I leave the house right now. I just grab whatever is most at hand and throw it on. I pick up my hair in a pony tail and head on out. If it's not easy it's just not doable. Makes me feel frumpy often but I'd rather keep things easy than stress out. It's my choice. One that I'm finally completely comfortable with.
Manis, pedis, vacations, shaving, yoga, bellydance, romantic dinners, long peaceful strolls, sleep, dates... they're all on hold now. Sometimes I want to scream and punch something or someone and sometimes I drop an F-bomb or five, but one of the things that keeps me going (besides my husband and my little ones) is that it's my life. My life as I have created it. Chaotic as it is. This is me now.