During a rather crazed moment at Arctic Circle this summer, as I was trying to order our lunch, I was holding two screaming babies demanding attention when my six year old came running over with a nose gushing blood. At the time, a friend commented to me that I always seem so calm when dealing with my children. I burst out laughing! I love being a mom; it's what I've always wanted, but I feel anything but calm in my role of motherhood the majority of the time.
Granted, I do have four small children, born within a four year span, which makes for a lot of adventure and craziness. So I wouldn't expect much else. For example, this summer, I left Costco crying on three separate occasions.
One visit to the local fitness center ended in me dragging three tantruming children out to the parking lot. During that short journey, I had to drop off one of those children (my four year old) off on a grassy patch in order carry the other two smaller children to the car. He refused to walk, and I couldn't physically carry three kids, so I told him I would be back for him. As I fought to restrain the twins into their carseats, and informed my six year old that we would not be able to go to lunch at the park as planned, I gained yet another tantruming child. Four for four! I left Palmer to watch the twins as I ran back for Brody to find a fitness center employee amongst a group of people circled around my crying-kicking-and-screaming-sprawled-across-the-ground-child. The worker informed me during the couple minutes I had been situating my other children in the van, that Brody had been reported as a missing child. *Deep breath!* I thanked everyone for their concern, gathered my four year old, and proceeded to drive home with four screaming kids.
Just a few weeks later I took the kids to Build a Bear, planning to hit the nearby splash pad afterward. Archer had been having diarrhea earlier that week but had been fine for 48 hours, so I figured he was good to go out and play. I dressed all the kids in their swimsuits with just a shirt on top for the trip so we could easily transition from shopping to water play. The twins had swim diapers on under their swimsuits. Build a Bear was a pretty chaotic trip as the kids were overly excited and all over the store getting into everything. Just as I was entering four teddy bears' information into the computer I smelled a very foul smell next to me. I looked over to see Archer sitting on the nearby stool with diarrhea all down his legs, all over the stool and floor. In case you didn't know, as I didn't before our venture that day, swim diapers don't hold crap (pun intended)! I let out a quick little squeal, scooped him up and tossed him in the stroller. I grabbed Avonlea as well, to put in the stroller knowing neither would leave the store willingly, and found her in the same stinky, covered in poop state! I took all the kids to the bathroom to try and clean up. I stripped both twins down, cleaned all their clothes in the sink, and then, not having any spare clothes, had to dress them in their smelly swimsuits again. I quickly returned to the store, wiped down the stools and floor best I could, and paid for our purchases. The boys were begging to go to the splash pad still, and being the sucker I am, I agreed. It wasn't their fault the twins were covered in poop, right? The boys played happily while I held two wet, malodorous, miserable babies on my now wet, malodorous lap and watched. Once we got to the car, I striped the babies down to their diapers and they drove home a little less smelly. I wish I could say the same for myself. I had to wash everyone, and all the clothes and towels and stroller immediately; we were all so foul smelling. And the car smelled for days!
So there you go. That is my crazy life in a nutshell. I may look cool on the outside, but on the inside I am FREAKING OUT! However, I wouldn't trade my frantic, stressed out, and often desperate days for anything. Motherhood proves to be overwhelming and exhausting. It takes just everything I have to give and somehow finds more. My capacity to love and care for my children is beyond anything I could have fathomed. With each tantrum I am learning to find patience. With each mess I am learning to let go a little bit more. With each cry I am learning empathy and compassion. And with each calamitous outing I am learning that amidst the storm I can somehow remain calm. And if nothing else, during those all too often dire moments in time, when it seems my world can't get much more hectic, later on, it makes for a great story!