It all came to head yesterday, when I broke down and cried on the floor at the end of an intense Stroller Strides workout. My friends, my “people” flocked around me reassuring me that this too shall pass and it will get better. And I know it will, I just needed to let it out.
These last couple of weeks have been rough, to say the least. I’m going on 3 months of continuously interrupted sleep which has made it challenging to recover from this never-ending cold, all whilst tending to my three girls who are suffering the same symptoms.
There’s never a day-off when it comes to parenting and lately, I’ve found myself daydreaming about weekends away with my husband; wishing these early years away so that my girls are old enough to be dropped off at a relative’s house. Those who have traveled this path before me, remind me to cherish these days because one day, I will miss them. I take that advice to heart, but it doesn’t necessarily help me to enjoy the daily temper tantrums.
I’ve been thinking; I think I have fallen victim to allowing my children’s lives to dictate my own. Anyone with a young child knows you don’t mess with nap time. It is “the precious”, as Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings would say. But when you have three children you are attempting to put down for a nap, your life suddenly becomes dictated by this “precious” nap time. I have found myself canceling playdates with friends because we need to get back for nap, only to battle it out with my older girls, frequently ending in frustration on both of our parts- they don’t end up sleeping; instead, I end up expending precious energy trying to get them to sleep and in the end, we all lose. These playdates involve my friends and it’s just as important for me to get some time to commiserate with a fellow parent as it is for my girls to interact with their friends.
So, after yesterday’s breakdown, I started today the way I try to begin every day- by turning over a new leaf and starting fresh. Today, I embraced the present. I had the kids in the car by 8 a.m. and set off to visit some old friends in the neighborhood I grew up in and instead of trying to race home at 11:15, I stayed put. I brought the kids to the park where I used to play and took them to lunch where I wanted to eat, as opposed to wherever offered chicken nuggets on the kids menu.
Afterwards, we peeked into a local gift shop where, at their delight, they picked out a new toy, followed by cupcakes for them, ice cream for me, and momma’s milk for Emma at the nearby Frozen Yogurt joint. By the time I had them in the car a little after noon, they were all asleep within minutes. In the past, I would have tried to either keep them awake or race home with a glimmer of hope that they would transfer (which has about a 2% success rate). This time, I put the car in park in our garage, and took the opportunity to take a quick snooze myself.
Today, I embraced it. I dictated our day. I did what I wanted to do- what brought me (and them!) joy and no one had a tantrum. I let go of what I may have been able to accomplish in the past when there were just 1 or 2 kids and embraced my life now with three. I lived for today, rather than in fear of what tomorrow will bring for my girls with only a car nap under their belt.
Because, in the end, that’s all we really know we have for sure. Today. So while I will still allow myself to daydream of weekends away with my husband, I won’t wish these days away to get there. I’ll embrace them, make the most of them, and yes, old souls, I will cherish them.