I never planned for a large family. I mean, sure, I hoped for a large family, but I didn’t expect to actually have one. Especially not as quickly as I did. Seven years and four children later, though, and here I am.
It’s not like you hear about. It’s not either all homemade clothes and perfectly polite children or utter chaos. We fall somewhere in the middle. We buy our clothing, our kids occasionally remember to say thank you without us reminding them, and we only do our chaos in short, spontaneous bursts.
Being the mom is more of what you’d expect, though.
You are tired. So, so tired. There are some weeks I hit the couch at 7:00 and fall asleep, then get up to go to bed and fall back asleep around 11:00.
You don’t get time to yourself. Oh, no. Don’t even dream of it. I can’t even remember the last time I as much as brushed my teeth alone.
You are busy. The laundry never ends and the dishes never stop. And the kids? You are at their beck and call. And don’t even think of not answering. They can and will find you.
Your preferences on things like books and television aren’t as important as they used to be. Books will be more pictures than words, and television is only animated in bright colors.
You will take thirty minutes to convince them to get dressed, then after you get yourself dressed you have to convince them to put back on their shoes.
You will be exhausted. You will be desperate for a moment of peace. And you will be ready to pull your hair out on days when everything you say goes in one ear and out the other.
Then you think…
You’re tired because they want you for everything. Remember how you’re at their beck and call? It’s because you are their safe place. When they are scared, or sick, or hurt, they come to you because they know you’ll make everything better. They know you love them and will do anything you can to help.
You don’t get time to yourself because you are their favorite person in the world, hands down. And as crazy as it can make you to have a lot of little ones chasing after you, you love it that they want that time with you.
You don’t get to read Brideshead Revisited like you’ve wanted to forever. But you do get to teach them to read the copy of Green Eggs and Ham they picked at the library last week. You don’t get to sit down and watch another episode of Sherlock, but you do get to be amazed as they come up with startlingly good ideas about what’s going to happen next on Paw Patrol.
You don’t get out the door quickly, but you do get to hear from each and every one of them about the bug they found on the window that morning and why they found it interesting. And then you feel equally guilty for snapping over them taking their shoes off and loved that they wanted boots like you instead of their sneakers.
You do have bad days. Everyone does. There are some days you are too tired and overwhelmed to enjoy the positives. There’s only one of you and many more of them. But then they hug your neck and kiss your cheek and tell you they love you in that sleepy voice.
And you remember that it’s worth it.