Multitasking. All day. Sometimes it feels like working at Starbucks, when the line dies down and you’re scurrying about restocking cups and wiping down the espresso machine, except now I’m refilling the diapers, putting the clothes in the dryer, and wiping down the counter tops. Because clean counter tops make my house feel somewhat put together even if every other surface is disheveled and littered with toys. It’s the key to my house-keeping sanity.
I’m constantly distracted, can’t remember where I left off or what I was about to do. Someone tried to tell me riddles the other day and my brain was entirely incapable of even trying to solve them.
Coffee, lots of coffee. I fell off the hot-lemon-water-first-thing-in-the-morning wagon as soon as Max was born.
I’m always needed the most at the same time, like when the baby is nursing and the toddler comes waddling out of the bathroom with her pants at her ankles saying, “Mama, pants on,” over and over again until I help her.
Netflix. For a while Sayla had barely any screen time, but that first month when Max was nursing every two hours for 30-45 minutes at a time, I couldn’t manage without it.
Disjointed. I’m not able to dedicate time to the things I enjoy doing. Instead, I fit them into my day in tiny chunks: I read a short passage of scripture while Sayla is coloring. I do spurts of yoga when the kids aren’t demanding my attention. I write a paragraph in my journal on my phone between tasks.
These first few months of newborn life plus toddler have been about meeting basic needs: food, clothes, sleep, and lest I forget, love. Making sure my kids know they are loved. There isn’t room for much else, there isn’t the time or energy.
So on the days that I feel overwhelmed by the demands, frustrated by the lack of routine, when I feel like my creative side is withering on the wayside, I remind myself of what really matters. Months or years from now, I won’t look back on this time and wish that I drank more hot lemon water, that my pants fit looser and I read more books, that my handstand game was stronger or my backbends deeper. I won’t wish that I had made extra money editing or that Sayla had watched less Curious George. I doubt I’ll even wish that I had been more creative.
I will, however, wish that I had enjoyed my kids to the fullest.
The way Sayla asks me to get the moon for her, tells me she can’t reach it. How when I ask her to do something she sometimes tells me, “no, Sayla happy.” The way her little voice says, “Goodnight, mama, I luvff you,” and the million other cute things she says right now. Her blonde, wispy, sometimes curly hair. Her sweet laugh.
And for Max, all the times he slept curled up on my chest those first several weeks. His fuzzy head and expressive eyebrows. His gurgles and coos. The way we make eyes at each other on end when I’m changing his diaper. Him looking up at me with the cutest smile while he’s nursing.
These are tender, fleeting moments. Yes, they are muddled with potty training and terrible car rides with a crying baby and poor sleep. But the hard things won’t weigh heavy come tomorrow, only the sweet times that are no longer here.
For me, life with a toddler and newborn has felt constant, like treading water. You have to keep going to stay afloat. But someday my toes will skim the bottom, and I’ll realize I can touch, that I’m not in the deep end anymore. I’ll forget how hard it was.
So lately my prayer has been that God help me make the most of this day, to enjoy Him and the life He has given me, the kids He has entrusted to us. To not wish away the hard parts, for things to get easier, for the weekend to hurry up and get here so I can have some extra help. Because this day, the one the Lord has made and given me, is my actual life. Whether I’m in the deep end or the shallow, I want to make the most it. May the Lord grant us the grace to do so.