A friend and I were texting the other day and she said, “I hope everything’s going well with you and the fam.” I responded, “I’m literally drowning in children but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
I immediately noticed two things: I improperly used the word literally and I lied.
Would I have it any other way? Sometimes, sadly, I think I would.
My days are regimented like a militant in training. I’m woken by one of the little kids (my two-year-old and 8-month-old) between 5:30 and 6:30am. Soon after, the other one will follow. Claire isn’t far behind them. I nurse the baby. We change diapers, go downstairs. I make myself a coffee while making breakfast. It’s usually fruit, toast and some kind of fat bomb that I’ve made or lately, have bought. If it’s a day that ends in Y, Claire or Cal will have decided they no longer like toast. They refuse most other breakfast foods. Havoc ensues as we discuss why chocolate is not a breakfast food. They eat the damn toast and I unload the dishwasher. The littles destroy their pyjamas, the floor, the table and their high chairs with their food. Back upstairs I go, getting an arm workout as I hold the baby arms length from me lest I get covered in her smashed-banana-toast mess. I get both littles changed and make our beds. I put laundry in and take laundry out. The basket sits on my bed, glaring at me for leaving them to wrinkle further. I go back downstairs and make Claire’s lunch. We work on her spelling words while the littles laugh, babble or shout: it’s usually a cacophony of all three. Claire gets frustrated by the noise. I move the littles to the living room where they destroy it, scattering the floor with toys and attempting to eat or touch or water the plants. Where the water comes from, I have no idea. We call Callum Hurricane Cal for a reason, I muse. I take the cup away from him. He throws himself on the floor in his misery. He can’t talk so he can’t tell me where he keeps finding these damn cups. I make a note to talk to Clay about this mystery. I promptly forget that I want to discuss this later.
Claire leaves for school after running through her list of needs and chores at least four more times.
Do you have your planner?
Did you make your bed?
Did you comb your hair?
Have you brushed your teeth?
Do you have your lunch?
Did you put on clean pants?
Do you have socks on?
Did you pack a sweater?
Once she’s out the door, I search for my coffee. Ah, there it is in all its cold glory. Into the microwave it goes. I put Paw Patrol on knowing it will keep Cal occupied so I can clean up the destroyed kitchen, put away the laundry and if I’m lucky, get myself dressed.
Back downstairs I go. I sit on the living room floor while Ryder explains how size doesn’t matter for fixing problems. Both littles flock to me like a moth to a flame. I am the fire and they are cold little beings fighting for my warmth. Chloe army crawls onto my legs. Callum pushes Chloe off me. Chloe cries. Callum tries to help her up but she hits her head on the floor. I try to stand up to help her. Callum doesn’t like this. He cries. We attempt to sit nicely with one kid on each leg and it’s then, and only then, I remember the coffee, my salvation. I peel the kids off me and trudge back to the kitchen to revive the coffee for the second time. I feel a tug on my leg. Callum wants a snack. It’s been twenty minutes since his breakfast. I say not yet. He cries. Chloe cries because he cries. She doesn’t know what’s happening. I sigh and grab my cold coffee and proceed to be a gymnasium until we make a plan for our day.
EVERYDAY. This is my morning every single day.
Was it draining reading that? I hope so. Because it is. It’s so draining. I want to wake earlier and be that mom who wakes up, exercises, journals, meditates and has supper in the slow cooker all before 6am like all these MLM mama’s showing up on social media but that feels impossible for me. I’m exhausted; likely from the post part adrenal fatigue and the fact I have three kids who require a lot of energy, time and attention. I can sleep 12 hours and still feel tired. Mom life is tiring, oh so tiring.
Would I have it any other way?
Honestly, you have to have kids first before you can ever answer that question. Today I say, “yes, I could’ve still had a full and purposeful life without kids.” Tomorrow I may say, “No, I love being surrounded by my kids and I’m so blessed.” It’s an Olympic ping pong game of the highest calibre, the ball pinging back and forth so fast some days I can’t even see my truths they switch so much.
Women fighting so hard for their fertility and their babies are probably scoffing at me, vehemently proclaiming they’d give anything to be in my shoes. They want this chaos. But once they have it, would they still say the same? You can’t answer that until you’ve lived in both worlds.
But once you have kids, and it’s only once you have them, can you truly reflect on your life, “could I have done without kids?”
I’m in the trenches; I know this. These are the hard years and the longest days. It’s the same routine, the same kid drama, the same chores and responsibilities day in and day out. Sometimes that’s hard to stomach as a former “free bird” who lived carefree and without any serious responsibilities. I can say this though: I couldn’t live without my kids now, because I have them (there’s no returns people!) and I know my kids and I love these extensions of my love with my husband made human. I love who they are as people. But kids in general, could I have skipped out on being a parent and still had a full life? Yes. I could have had it another way. I could’ve lived out my days with my husband, writing, working, travelling and been just as happy. But I wouldn’t have known that if I wasn’t experiencing motherhood now, in all its chaos and joy right this second.
So I’m exhausted with a constant child somewhere on her person and a cold coffee missing me as much as I’m missing it, but most days I love it. And if given a hypothetical redo, I wouldn’t change a thing. At least, not today.