Just ask Lizzy…

Elizabeth is what I would call a precocious talker.  At 21 months she can say almost anything and talks in four and five word sentences.  This can be adorable like when she says, “Come sit wiff me, Mommy” or I hear her singing Amazing Grace over the monitor at nap time.  But she also has the influence of four older brothers so she has learned to say things like, “Don’t tot to me, Mommy” or the perfect “Okaaaaay” when I tell her to do something.

The boys love hearing her talk.  And they also love that she parrots ANYTHING they say.  She’s learning her colors too so they laugh when she says things like “blue shirt” which doesn’t really come out all that clear if you know what I mean!  I came down the other day to hear them teaching her to say “forking blue shirt” so now I have a sweet adorable dimpled little girl in piggy-tails and ruffled dresses who sounds like she cusses like a sailor!

My favorite (not favorite) though was this week on our evening sports route back and forth from practice to practice.  I had all the kids in the car and it was our busy night of the week so we had been driving already for a while.  The boys tried to keep her occupied by pointing out all the interesting things to see out the window.  And this went great, until she missed seeing her very favorite thing.  Floppy guy!  You know, those big tall flopping red or blue or yellow guys they have waving outside of car dealerships or grand openings of a grocery store??  She LOVES those floppy guys!!  And the boys love it too because she calls them “focky guys” which provides some fun car entertainment.  Anyway, on this night she missed seeing the floppy guy and spent AT LEAST 30 minutes crying and screaming and shrieking at the top of her lungs “Focky guy!  Wanna see focky guy.  Focky guy!”

It was so miserable and loud and all around awful that I briefly considered unbuckling and throwing myself out of the moving vehicle!!

Now really, I would never in a million years do something to hurt myself or anything that would possibly hurt my children, but doesn’t parenting do that to us sometimes???  Some days are so hard that completely irrational, ridiculous thoughts creep in and we feel like crazy people!!

Of course I’ve heard that before…parenting is so hard.  But I just thought that was something parents said like “Eat your vegetables” or “Close the door” or “Take your shoes off in the house.”  “Parenting is so hard”…yeah, yeah sure.  But, you guys, it is!!

I thought I’d be really good at it.  For some reason I didn’t really think it would be that hard for me.  Why??  I have no idea.  I just thought since I wanted to be a mom so badly I’d probably do everything right once I had children.  I figured I would set rules and boundaries and impose consequences and practice unconditional love and so I would surely have responsible, respectful (read perfect) children!!

Instead I have mommy-meltdowns far too often and sometimes forget to love unconditionally leaving me with sassy mouths and eye rolls and a little girl who screams near-obscenities while the remainder of the kids in the car shush and yell back at her to be quiet which makes the whole fiasco at least 100 times worse!

It is just so hard!!

I didn’t realize there would be so much laundry.  I didn’t realize I would wash three loads of dishes a day.  I had no idea that once I began having children I would never again sleep for 7 or more hours straight for the rest of my life!  Nobody really mentioned the constant worry and second-guessing myself.  Or the noise and the bickering.  My goodness, the bickering!!

Nobody told me I’d wake up in the morning with loving and precious thoughts, teary over how wonderful my family and my life is and within 30 minutes of coming downstairs want to walk out the door and never come back!!

Even in the middle of those warm precious moments like singing the birthday song or opening gifts on Christmas morning or Luke whispering in my ear, “This was the best day ever!” or Eli laughing and chasing me with his stinky soccer sock or smiling to myself while listening to the awesomely awkward group of middle schoolers laughing and talking in my backseat on the way home from their Junior High dance sometimes I catch myself paralyzed with fear that I’m not enjoying it enough.  Am I being present?  Am I noticing it all?  Am I grateful?  Even when all is good I find myself wondering, is it good enough??

No one told me I’d want to fast-forward, pause, and rewind all within the span of about three hours.

It is all so hard.  The good, the bad, the ordinary.

But the thing is, it is hard for everyone.

We’re all in this together.

Sure, you may think that mom on Instagram has it all figured out because of those filtered pictures of her adorable family sitting down to gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes on Saturday morning before their weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market but I’m here to tell you that is only part of the truth.  I’m just certain that two minutes after that picture was taken her kids broke out into a fight over who got the pink plate and spilled a glass of milk all over those chocolate chip pancakes and the mom lost her mind and yelled something like, “You better figure it out and sit down and eat those pancakes right now or you are all going to your room for the rest of the day!!!” with a crazed look in her eyes.

It is hard.  We are all just trying to get through.

You know what??  I bet we are all doing better that we think!!  Our kids??  They are amazing!!

And if anyone tells you otherwise??  Well, that’s a bunch of “forking blue shirt!!!”

Just ask Lizzy!

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