I feel all over the place these days. Some days, I sit back and look at my life, feel very contented, and just breathe it in. Other days, like yesterday, I feel like the chaos will never end, the littles will be little and needy forever, and my head may burst. But I spend most of the time in the middle... days that are equal parts frustration at toddler shenanigans and baby diaper explosions, and joy at 2 year old hilarious phrases and infant smiles and giggles. I am enjoying life with two children more than I did just with Felicity simply because I know now that the hard times will pass and the tough stages won't last. It doesn't mean that I don't get stressed ever (I'm stressed a lot!), but I feel like I lived in a constant state of stress with Felicity; I stressed about her sleep, about behavioral things, developmental things. And stress didn't get us anywhere or solve anything, of course. This time, with Clare, I'm able to brush off more and, therefore, enjoy more.
After Felicity was born, I think I sort of counted down until we'd try again for another because I really wanted a sibling for her. Right now, though I don't feel our family is complete by any means, I'm just enjoying the 4 of us. I'm happier in this stage of infancy, knowing how fleeting it will be- how fleeting it IS!- and I'm also enjoying watching my big girl grow up before my eyes. I'm not thinking about future things, or more babies, or anything much besides tomorrow, and it's nice. I've thought toward the future for as long as I can remember. Is it graduation yet? Is it time to move yet? Is it time to start my job yet? Get married yet? Have a baby yet? Have another baby yet? I kept wondering to myself, when will I just stop and enjoy? And I didn't know the answer until now. I hate that it took me that long to get to this place (and it's a flaw within myself, I know), but I'm so glad to be here for a while. I want to soak in the baby snuggles, the nursing sessions, the finger painting, the never ending book reading sessions, the play dates with my friends, the family "date days" we have.
Each day, I have a loose plan. My days are similar to each other, but different enough that it doesn't get too boring. I'm sure to some my life is incredibly dull. But that dullness to me looks like watching children grow up, learn, and explore. It looks like creating new friendships and furthering old ones. It looks like constantly working on and improving my marriage. And it looks like experiencing things through the eyes of a child. There are things in life I'd love to do... travel the world, eat at nice restaurants, spend money without thinking... but right now my focus is on my family; I'm working on myself, my marriage, my home, my kids. And I find a sense of happiness and security in that. I often hear people talking about "losing" themselves in their kids, especially in regards to being a stay at home mom. Right now I'm happy to "lose" myself to motherhood. If all I do is produce people to better the world, then I think I've done plenty. If I lose myself for the betterment of another human being, then it was a worthy cause. I don't mean to say that one shouldn't have things outside of their children. Everyone's calling and desires are different. But I do think it's perfectly fine, and a beautiful sacrifice even, to pour yourself into your children for a time. I honestly think I've found myself more in the past few years than I had in the 28 before that.
I've found that a few friendships help sustain my sense of "me". I don't need much outside of my family right now, but friends are certainly helping me in this journey. I love having people to talk about faith, family, parenting, and deeper issues with. I walk with a neighbor of mine most days of the week, have 2-3 play dates with another friend each week, attend a Catholic mothers' group once a month, and will begin MOPS again soon. The common theme there is motherhood and I love it. My days aren't really pretty. I don't live in a pinterest worthy house or have neat and tidy kids. I can't tell you how many times I text Steven to vent or complain about my day- a toddler who hurt the baby or a baby who won't nap. Life is messy and exhausting. But when I take a step back, I realize how absolutely blessed I am to be able to raise and guide these humans. It is such an honor to know them, to help form them, to be the person to comfort them. Motherhood is such a beautiful experience, even on the hard days. I'm ok with, and happy with, "just being a mom" right now.