It’s been a little over five weeks since our journey into parenting three tiny humans has began. To say our world has needed adjusting is an understatement. Though I found myself very fortunate to have my husband home for the first two weeks after having our third baby, what followed was chaos, uncontrollable emotions, stress beyond management and doubt.
You see, raising two munchkins with our crazy, eventful lives, was already a challenge. We knew bringing a third into the mix would be tough, and we expected changes and challenges. What I didn’t want to dwell on was the fact that I’d be doing a lot of the hardest, most time-consuming, and exhausting parenting on my own.
My husband is an extremely hard worker. There are times I’d actually say he’s a work-a-holic. It actually takes convincing to get him to just relax and snuggle, and be low-key and just present a lot of the time. In his defense, we have a never-ending list of projects to tackle and money is always an issue, so the overtime work is a blessing even when it doesn’t feel like it. And every single day it feels like the exact opposite for me.
I am a stay-at-home mom, and I am very hands on. I have always wanted to be the one who raises my kids, as well as be the one who helps build them up in education and schooling. I have controlling qualities, which enables me to provide healthy meals every day, produce creative school worksheets, and be the monitor to manners and attitudes. Those qualities also make it nearly impossible for me to ask for help until I’m already in full-blown fall-apart mode. And when that time finally comes, the guilt and doubt sets in, which makes it even more impossible for me.
In any normal week, my husband works 5 days, but in addition to that, there are three nights a week I have the kids to myself while their daddy works call and stays out of town, or works late; until bedtime. That’s three full days of cooking and preparing breakfasts, snacks, lunches, dinners and food thrown, spilled, and played in over hours of repeating “just eat”! That’s three full days of potty struggles, accidents, wiping butts, and wet pants. That’s three full days of fighting nap times, and bedtime routines that exhaust mommy more than anything. That’s two full nights of breastfeeding alone in a king sized bed, and unlatching when necessary in order to get out of bed and comfort the big kids in their room when they wake and cry, only to then have a screaming newborn as well. That’s two full nights of no sleep at all.
So today, I decided the exhaustion had built up long enough. It was time to begin a pumping routine in order to hopefully build a small stock-pile enough so that mommy can find a time in the near future to get away.
Take a break.
The plan was supposed to be that I pumped first thing, and allow Eason to be fed by daddy via a bottle using breastmilk I had pumped (as strictly a release for comfort) a couple weeks ago. It was supposed to be done simultaneously so that my re-fill schedule was consistent with Eason’s belly getting hungry again. I got out the pump, heated the frozen breastmilk, and got all hooked up.
And then we got a call from an electrician saying he was on his way over.
Frustrated, and almost in tears because of the fact that literally NOTHING seems to go as planned or in my favor when it comes to the house progress, and there is constantly someone in our personal space, I told Javin to hand me to the baby while he went and dealt with yet another project.
So I bottle fed while I pumped.
I kept telling myself that I should just remove the pump and allow Eason to attach to me, and make things a little easier, but I was also desperate to be able to sneak away at some point in time. Which meant I had to follow through with the plan.
Motherhood is hard.
It is messy.
It is chaotic.
It is unpredictable, and at times overly predictable.
It is exhausting.
It is precious.
And it is busy.
Pumping only adds ONE MORE THING to our already busy days. I’m not exactly sure when or if it’ll get done most days, to be honest. It’s going to really just be one more inconvenience. All I know is there’s not another way for this mama to be able to get out of the house 100% kid free, until we have a milk supply on hand. Until then, all the grocery trips, library adventures, and all other errands will always include at least one baby. It’s now been a little over five weeks since I’ve had any time to myself. It’s been a little over five weeks now that we’ve been raising our growing Fleshman clan. Three of those five weeks, the challenge has felt almost that of my own. The exhaustion I’ve been feeling will back that up.
But when it comes to self-care, the biggest challenge of all is convincing myself I need it more than my kids need me. Every once in a while, it would be nice to feel like instead of needing more hands, that maybe my hands weren’t so needed. But they are needed. And they are full.