Thursday

everyone knows i'm in over my head

i see it in the eyes of shoppers at the grocery, who watch me juggling my toddler, cumbersome infant carrier, cart, diaper bag, and stash of grocery totes with a mixture of concern, pity, and relief that they're not walking in my snowy boots.

i see it in the eyes of congregants at my church as i carry both children back from the communion rail, having just wrestled dylan away from the choir chancel with james strapped to my chest.

i am in over my head. there's no disguising it.

it's been almost three months of parenting two kids, but i don't feel any better established. if anything, i feel more scattered and disorganized.

it takes a full hour to get all three of us dressed and out the door in the morning, and that's only if i skip my shower and james' spit up doesn't require multiple costume changes and no one needs a last minute new diaper and it hasn't snowed, requiring shoveling and scraping just to leave the driveway. and that doesn't include time factored in for feeding dylan or nursing james.

in fact, by the time i'm actually ready to get out the door, it's usually time to feed/diaper/change him all over again.

i don't mean to complain. i'd just hoped to be falling into a better system or something by now. plenty of people have more than two kids and manage their families with the kind of grace and calm i can only dream of.

what is their secret? am i missing a page in the manual that explains how to manage the chaos of life with little ones?

on one hand, i suppose, there's a certain liberation in acknowledging yes, i am in over my head. it's almost the american way to walk around pretending we have it all together, but if you took one look at me, you'd know that isn't an option. it's kind of impossible to carry two babes through a snowy parking lot with poise and grace.

today, i am ok. but please keep asking, because sometimes i'm barely hanging by a thread and need to know i'm not alone.

thank you for holding the door for us.

thank you for helping us with our coats.

thank you for picking up whatever it is i dropped this time.

thank you for being patient. God knows i'm trying to be patient, too.

24 comments:

Trisha said...

You are kinda scaring me about what's to come! :) I am sure it will get easier...maybe the learning curve is just a bit longer when you are learning to manage two!

Becky said...

I tell people with my 2 (20 months apart):

the first month is soul killing

you wake up crying for the first 3 months and certain you have made a huge mistake

the first 6 months you're still pretty sure you made a big mistake but you don't cry quite so much

at 9 months you consider brushing your hair

by the 12 month mark you suddenly breathe out and realize it actually getting easier

It was also a huge help to me to put Charlie in a Mother's Day Out program, twice a week, when Megan was around 4 months old. I could do the grocery shopping and catch my breath. The kitchen didn't start getting mopped until this year when Megan started MDO and Charlie started pre school but it was still a big help. I know MDO might not be available to you but could you maybe get a babysitter once or twice a week? I know it's an expense but it can make all the difference.

Hang in there. It really does get great after a while.

O'Brien said...

Just remember back to the chaos of Dylan as an infant....now remember that you made it!!! This too will pass and will strengthen your TRUST in Yahweh, and take away your SELF. If embraced (which you are doing gracefully I might add) parenting leads you closer to the Lord.

Penny said...

It really does pass and get better. I think 6 months was a milestone for me but I was fortunate in that Tim was older than Dylan when I had Lydia.

I wish I was closer to give you a break. If there is someone you can trust to leave Dylan with while you take James shopping that can be a big help. Honestly, shopping trips with young kids require as much planning and logistical analysis as some military exercises I think!

Some things I did:
*I used to shower with Lydia, wrap her in a towel and place her on the shower mat while I quickly finished myself up.
*I relied on groceries being delivered for a while - if that is an option for you then I'd recommend it.

I also think you just have to lower your expectations about what you are going to get done and by when. If I didn't let myself get rattled by the fact we weren't progressing as fast as I wanted to, it was much better. Don't think I'm some sort of saint though - I had plenty meltdowns.

Laura said...

You got with me the de-lurking day. ;) I really appreciate your honesty about the day to day struggles. I'm not a mom yet, but I'm sure it can be really tough, especially with two little guys. Hang in there! Love, your freshman ra.

Misty said...

{{{{{{{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

oh sweetie. it does get better. i promise. i'm struggling w/ how i thought by 6 mo i'd have 3 down pat but your friend above has it right (humorously) about the hair brushing, etc. one day at a time, and next thing you know, you're starting solids and they're walking, you know? i'd love to come over for a playdate. oh wait. there's snow. never mind y'all come here LOL :)

Sonya said...

Not sure my comment means all that much since I'm not the mama of any babes....just want to let you know that even though I'm not there with you, my heart is. (The addition is meant to lighten your load, not add to it. :)

Ithaca is about a 5 hour drive away. I really mean it- if you need a weekend of an extra hand- someone to do laundry, run errands for you, hang onto a kid- please let me know (as long as you promise that you and Jim would consider me a guest that has to earn her stay :).

Thank you for your honesty and giving us a glimpse of your life, even when we can't be a part of it every day. This I know- one day, you'll look at this entry and regard it as a time that you remember and survived with earthly and celestial help. And perhaps I'll be reassured by this entry in my lifetime, should I be blessed with children.

Miss you!

Lisa Lockwood said...

I wish I could add productive comments regarding parenting but my current childless state leaves me less than qualified. Mostly what I can add is that I really appreciate watching you continue to transform you into a brilliant woman of God. You encourage me daily. PS, I lurk here frequently and have been challenged to be much better about my own blog posts. I'm back up to date, hopefully I can stay that way!

ash said...

Ahhh, Suzannah! Bless your heart!!! It is not an easy task, this mothering!

I remember crying when I found out I was pregnant with Bo and Peter was only 7 months old and Jedi only just turned 2!!! Even when she was born and I had 3 children under 3, I thought, "Lord, what were You thinking giving me all this???"

But, the Lord continues to give me a measure of grace every time I scream out in frustration, or yell at Jedi to "stop talking to me!!!".... It is not easy, but no good thing is, is it? I have had to make a real effort to choose joy and a deep breath multiple times in the day. And God is not deaf to my cries... he shines in the sweetest moments that my kiddos to the most amazing things and make my heart smile. Like even tonight as we are trying to get through the dinner time prayers with everyone taking their turn and dinner getting cold. Jedi got to his prayer and prayed, "God, thank you for all the people of Haiti. Please help their boo boo's feel better. Thank you for all the people who are helping them. Thank you for everybody on the planet."... it is the moments like these that I look at spit up and vomit and poopy diapers as a privilege to be the Mommy of such children.

I hope this helps, sweetie.... Love you!

(hmmm, I think I have my blog post for tonight!!! thanks!)

Kelly said...

Oh I know! Just remember, the ladies you see breezing around with their children with grace and ease have moments just like you are having...you probably just caught them on a good moment! And it will get easier. Promise! Thank God His mercies are new EACH morning! xoxo

Amy from Occupation: Mommy said...

Hold on, Suzannah, it does get better. Going from one to two children was SOOOOOOO hard. My first two are 25 months and three weeks apart and I won't tell you how long it took me to feel normal again. Don't be too hard on yourself. And to encourage you--going from two to three kiddos was MUCH easier. And having two so close in age is TOTALLY worth it after a while.

Once James is a little bigger and can occupy himself for a minute or two at a time, that will help. And then later, when they start to play together a little, that will help. And before you know it (though the days will be long), you will figure out how to fit in things like your own bathroom breaks ;)

My one sanity during that time was to make sure to get up and take a shower BEFORE Rich left for the day. Even if it was really early and I went back to sleep with wet hair, at least I felt clean. That may be helpful for you, or you might find some other non-negotiable. It really helps to have one small bit of normal in your day, whatever that normal is for you.

Another thing that helped me was to be sure that at least some of naptime was coordinated for both of them. Nothing was more depressing than finally getting the 2-year-old down, just to have the baby pop up, ready to play.

I'll be praying for you. Hang in there.

maryann said...

God bless you, Sweetie. How about going to the Y and meeting another young mother there? They have child care and grown up time helps. When you and Josh were Dylan and James age I went to a women's Bible study at PCB and they had someone to watch you guys. I'd pack us a snack for afterward and we'd stretch it out till nap time. It made a difference. Stroller outings helped too--you can hang a lot on the back of a stroller :) A friend without a child to go shopping with you could be a great help, too. Maybe an older woman at your church would enjoy that. Susan Disney took us with her for some trips to the store and her kids who were older than you guys loved being "big sister and brother" to you. To be honest, you have looked like you were doing it with grace and style. Maybe you just need to ask for help. I will pray. I wish we weren't so far away. How I would love to take the children out with you.

Jill said...

Hey Zan, I soooooo appreciate your juggling act and know that you truly are amazing even if you feel like a new mom of two. I always felt that being an octopus would really help. Much love and keep singing!!! Jill aka MOM P

Jenney said...

Hang in there! It will get better (says the woman whose life with 2 has just started to get easier 3 months before she has #3). I swear it gets better after their first birthday...but then you look back and miss them being tiny.
Isn't God wonderful to bless us with those people who hold doors or help our children get their coats on?
I read this today:
Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the Lord's great love we are NOT CONSUMED, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Having little ones can feel consuming and like you are going to drown at times. The Lord is there!
Yesterday I would have almost laughed at that, today I am clinging to it with a vengence.

Christie said...

Thank you for blogging from your heart, I have so many times wanted to blog my frustrations or my difficult experiences but don't due to that "feeling the need to appear to have it all together".
You are such an encouragement to me and I am so thankful for you in my life.
Two is definitely different than one and I am learning and loving right alongside you. love you girl!

Kelly said...

I suppose the best part of being in over your head is that you know it can only get better. It sounds like you're doing better than I would be!

Blessed said...

Becky's comment is an encouragement to me.

I hear you on the totally overwhelmed and in-over-my-head part. I'm in over my head too - my oldest is 28 months old and my youngest is 7 months old - I'm feeling it too - you aren't the only one!

Becky said...

I wrote a post for you that I'm hoping will encourage you a bit if you ever have time to read it. ;-) http://widdershinstowednesdays.blogspot.com/2010/01/good-parts.html

Debbie said...

What you don't see are those families that can't even get it together enough to leave the house! So, you are far ahead of them.

Becky said...

Megan slept with me whenever practical (sometimes she was in the co-sleeper by herself for naps, sometimes she was worn, sometimes I got to take a blessed nap with her) for the first 6 months or so. Transitioning away from that was surprisingly easy. The first month or so was a bit of a trial but it wasn't any worse than typical sleep trials. Do what you need to do to get your sleep now and don't borrow trouble. :-)

Laur D. said...

you are such a beautiful person and a wonderful mama. being a parent is one of the most stressful things ever and so much work. i can only imagine have two little ones so close in age at the same time, full time. you are AMAZING! i know how hard it must be, but don't doubt yourself. and thanks for sharing and being honest, because i think all moms have to feel this way at some point or another, and we all need to know we aren't alone!

love you! <3

bethany said...

you impress and inspire me dear sister! i love you and im praying for you today! just know that when i think about dylan and james, i get so excited thinking about who they are going to become simply BECAUSE you are their mother. i love you sweet suzannah!

Genie Marie said...

You will get through this...trust me, I have four and it gets better..I won't say easier because kids are ever changing...you will move away from diapers and nursing to balancing homework and basketball and drama:) You will learn to adjust and just make it work...even if you never get a shower or out of your pj's! I get the "you have your hands full look" all the time (My four are ages 8 down to 22 months) and I am thankful for the looks...because I do have my hands full and it's a blessing. Enjoyed finding your blog and look forward to reading more!

Heather EO said...

YES. And then we try to deal with the BIGNESS of the hard things in life or try to revel in the BIGNESS of the joy and beauty in life but it's hard because we're so busy re-changing a diaper or dropping stuff on the ground.

I love this post. Thank you.

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