Most days I feel frantic. Frantically trying to get housework done, or cook dinner, or write a blog post, while simultaneously taking care of 2 children under 2 years old, plus a 9 year old.
As a stay at home mom, taking care of children is my work. I often find myself referring to a quote by C.S. Lewis on days when I feel like I am unable to accomplish much.
Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.
My daughter is breastfed, so several times a day, I must stop everything and feed her. It goes without saying that my toddler tornado is into anything and everything. I know if he is being too quiet, he is up to no good. His latest feats include climbing up our barstool-like kitchen chairs onto the kitchen table, and trying to plug anything electrical into outlets. (He’s either going to fall and bust his head open on the kitchen tile, or electrocute himself).
Then of course there are all the diaper changes that cannot wait. Typically, as soon as I sit down on the couch to breastfeed my daughter, my toddler will stroll up to my lap, the unmistakable waft of a poopy diaper filling the air.
With 2 under 2, it oftentimes feels like triage. I’m constantly determining who needs my help most. Two crying babies at once is inevitable. But as any mother will tell you, you quickly learn how to tell the difference between genuine “I’m hurt” or “I’m starving” cries versus “I’m fussy” or “I’m annoyed” cries.
Right now, the toddler is climbing up onto my desk for the 10th time today. So, I must stop writing and tell him once again, “no,” in a firm voice, while putting him down. This time I also move the cat tree that acts as his ladder, away from the desk. Thankfully, my 6-month-old is napping for the 1st time today, so I have a break of sorts, with only one child to look after.
Life with young kids is more than just distracted actions throughout the day. It is also characterized by distracted thinking. I am always trying to anticipate their needs before my own. When we leave the house, what must I remember to bring for them? Full diaper bag or just some extra diapers and wipes? Strollers? What about the weather? Do they need a jacket?
Then there is my stepdaughter and all her school-related needs. Has she completed her homework? Has she turned in her permission slip and/or order form for so and so? Is her soccer stuff clean and ready for her next soccer practice and/or game? And so forth…
A mother never stops thinking, and doing, and trying. Trying to remember it all. Trying to keep the household running smoothly. Trying to be a better mother. Attempting to live in the moment, and spend quality time with the kids instead of rushing to finish this and that.
Next time you find yourself getting frustrated with all of the “distractions,” just remember what C.S. Lewis said. Those distractions are the “most important work.”
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